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Rafal T. Prinke - Michael Sendivogius and Christian Rosenkreutz.Article originally published in The Hermetic Journal, 1990, 72-98.
For later research and comprehensive presentation of Sendivogius in English see: Zbigniew Szydlo, Water which does not wet hands. The alchemy of Michael Sendivogius, London-Warsaw 1994.
MICHAEL SENDIVOGIUS and CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ
The Unexpected Possibilities
Dame Frances A. Yates in her absorbing book The Rosicrucian Enlightenment advanced the theory that Rosicrucianism should be seen "as a movement ultimately stemming from John Dee" . The evidence she quotes is really massive and quite convincing, and yet on reading the book one still has a feeling that "something is lacking". Dee's journey to Central Europe and back through Germany, which, according to Yates, so stirred the minds of continental intellectuals, took place between 1583 and 1589. This means a whole generation before the movement made itself known to the world at large through circulating, and eventually publishing, its Manifestos. Such a long time of germinating clearly indicates that there should have been some other figure of similar charisma that would have "passed the torch" to the young enthusiasts of Tubingen who were responsible for creating the Rosicrucian mythos. Another point is the stress that the Manifestos place on the healing activities of the R.C. Brethren (in the Paracelsian tradition) and their anonymity - neither of which can be attributed to Dee .
We should therefore look for an alchemist possessing the secret of transmutation and Paracelsian physician active in the first two decades of the 17th century, who was anonymous and yet well known and admired by his contemporaries, had contacts - also diplomatic - with the courts in Prague, Stuttgart and Cassel but, at the same time, was not dependent on the kings and princes. A person that travelled extensively in Europe and the Orient, meeting all the important hermetic scholars of his time and expounding to them his visions of the New Age of general reformation in religion, philosophy and science.
Among the many hermetic philosophers of that crucial period there is only one person that meets all the above mentioned criteria - the unfortunately neglected and misrepresented in modern writings on the subject Polish alchemist Michael Sendivogius. In my earlier article  I attempted to show how this unfair treatment began and what the truth about Sendivogius really was. Now I would like to draw some attention to the evidence that shows him as a possible key figure in the early development of the Rosicrucian movement and the type of thinking associated with it.
He may be seen not only as the missing link between Dee and the Manifestos but indeed as a model for the mythical Frater C.R.C. His activities and travels all over Europe made him a well known figure even before 1600, while after the publication of his Twelve Treatises on the Philosophers' Stone (later known as Novum Lumen Chymicum or A New Light of Alchymie) in 1604 and several publicly performed transmutations he was regarded as the greatest alchemist and hermetic philosopher of his time (he was also admired among the Tubingen university intellectuals, as I will show below). And still he wanted to remain anonymous and independent - it is very meaningful that all of his works were published anonymously and without dedications to any kings or princes - a truly Rosicrucian behaviour without precedence at that time!
In view of Frances Yates's statements about John Dee's influence on early Rosicrucianism, it is interesting to note the possible contacts of Sendivogius with his teachings. The Polish alchemist started his higher education at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow in about 1582. At that time there was a group of scholars interested in hermetic philosophy and teachings of Paracelsus there, whose protector was palatine Albrecht Laski (1536-1603) - the well known pretender to the Polish throne, responsible for bringing Dee and Kelley to Poland and Bohemia. His interest in the two magi was not only, as is sometimes suggested, connected with his political plans and hope to find funds for their realisation through alchemy, but he had a deep interest in hermeticism. In 1569 he financed the translation of two treatises by Paracelsus into Latin and their publication in Cracow and while in England he attended a public discussion of scholars from Oxford with Giordano Bruno organised to honour him. It is also possible that in fact Dee believed that Laski could make gold and that was one of the reasons he decided to go with him to Poland . When Dee stayed in Trebona in Bohemia, Laski visited him there several times, so he certainly discussed his philosophical theories with him and could have passed them on to others in Cracow. Moreover, it is now known that Laski was actually an English spy, informing Dee on the current events at and political plans of the Polish court .
It is not exactly known who was the first protector of the young Sendivogius. It may have been Laski or his close friend and political ally Nicholas Wolski (1553-1630), with whom Sendivogius was later closely connected. Wolski was brought up at the imperial court in Vienna together with the later emperor Rudolph II and received good education at several European universities. From 1576 he stayed for ten years in Prague at the court of Rudolph as his cupbearer, at the same time visiting Cracow from time to time, as he also had the office of the great sword-bearer of Poland. Being an intellectual type, with deep interest in alchemy (he carried out some alchemical experiments together with king Sigismund III Vasa of Poland) and knowledge of several languages, he certainly must have met John Dee both in Cracow and in Bohemia.
As is well known, John Dee and Edward Kelley stayed in Cracow from March 13th (Old Style) to August 3rd (New Style) 1584, went for several months to Prague and came to Cracow again for the period between April 12th and August 6th 1585, when they returned to Prague again. This is also the time when Sendivogius went to the court of Rudolph II, probably recommended to him by Wolski, and therefore was in the midst of events. It might be an interesting hypothesis that he, being a protegee of Laski and Wolski, may have actually accompanied Dee on his way to Prague! This may find some confirmation in the fact that in Bohemia Sendivogius worked with the greatest Czech alchemist Bavor Rodovsky of Hustirany (1526-c.1600) , whose protector was Villem of Rozemberk, the host of Dee and Kelley when they settled down in Trebona, and who also resided there, working on Czech translations of the works of Paracelsus. But even if it was not so, Sendivogius most certainly knew the new ideas in hermetic philosophy that Dee was spreading, especially if his visit was indeed so stirring as Frances Yates suggests. It is also certain that he was in contact with Edward Kelley after Dee's return to England, and after his death bought the estate Fumberk (which had been given to Kelley by Rudolph) from his widow.
All this clearly shows that Michael Sendivogius knew very well the intellectual current started by Dee in central Europe. During his years in the service of emperor Rudolph II, who made him his courtier in 1594, his councillor in 1598, and finally his "Truchsses", i.e. a courtier with rights to sit at the dining table with the emperor and live in his castle , Sendivogius first travelled around Europe, combining diplomatic missions with further studies. Still before 1588 he was sent to the Near East through Greece, where he is said to have met a Greek patriarch who taught him the secrets of alchemy. In his Philosophical Letters he says that he copied two very rare treatises by Hermes in Constantinople, while elsewhere his "praeceptor" from Egypt is mentioned, all of which is strongly reminiscent of the journey of Father C.R.C. to Damascus and Fez! Then he visited Rome, Padua, Naples and Venice, and possibly also studied at Cambridge, Frankfurt, Rostock and Wittenberg. In 1590 he was at the university in Leipzig where he made friends with Joachim Tancke (1557-1609), physician and alchemist, who later included Sendivogius's treatise in his Promptuarium Alchemiae (1614), and, what is especially significant, with Johann Tholde, the editor and probably author of the works ascribed to Basilius Valentinus, so important in the later Rosicrucian development . A year later he was at the university in Vienna, and in 1594-95 studied in Altdorf, where he first met the Scottish alchemist Alexander Seton, the friendship with whom is the only explanation of his later (1603) involvement in freeing Seton from the prison of Christian II of Saxony. Far more interesting is, however, the relation quoted by Andreas Goldmayer in his Harmonia chymica (Onoltzbach 1655) that Sendivogius met in Altdorf a certain Armenian, whom he helped financially and who gave him the "Medicine" for transmuting base metals. Later the Armenian is said to have gone to Augsburg and Sendivogius to Stuttgart. This information is crucial as, on one hand, it may suggest that both Sendivogius and Seton had their tincture from the same source, and on the other - that Sendivogius visited Frederick of Wurttemberg (ruling from 1593) for the first time as early as 1595 and perhaps performed a transmutation with the Armenian's tincture, as he did the same the following year in Prague. The importance of the Duke of Wurttemberg for the beginnings of Rosicrucianism need not be emphasised here, as it was described at length by Frances Yates and earlier by Arthur Edward Waite. His court was a centre of alchemical and occult activities, with Simon Studion and Johann Valentin Andreae as its most notable Rosicrucian figures. After returning to Prague for a brief period, in 1597 he went to Dresden to the court of elector Christian II of Saxony, for whom he obtained some favours from the emperor (the fact that proved fruitful in the later Seton affair).
The nature of the diplomatic activities undertaken for Rudolph II by Sendivogius during his travels is not known but most probably they were connected with "occult spying" on other rulers interested in alchemy and hermeticism. Similar missions were undertaken for Rudolph by the alchemist Hieronimus Scotus who was sent to German Protestant princes, especially landgrave William IV of Hesse-Cassel. But Sendivogius must have been doing especially well to have gained such great favours of the emperor. His travels in Germany and contacts established with both rulers and scholars must also have been more extensive than those mentioned above. He got married there and his wife was from Frankonia which might imply that he also stayed in Frankfurt for some time, where he may have met the "Rosicrucian publisher" Johann Theodore de Bry (in fact his first book was published simultaneously in Prague and Frankfurt).
When Michael Sendivogius with his family settled down in Prague in 1595 or 1596 he was already a well known and highly respected man, famous for his learning and enjoying the emperor's favours. The confirmation of this is found in a striking series of publications devoted to him: a collection of panegyric poems by the emperor's court poet Carolides of Karlsperk published in 1598 and dedicated to Sendivogius's son Michael Christopher (40 pages of various poems on the Sendivogius' family), some poems by Bartholomew Paprocki, a Polish and Bohemian herald and poet, on Sendivogius and his sons included in Jina castka (Prague 1598), dedication of the third part of the same author's massive work on history, heraldry and genealogy Ogrod krolewski (Royal garden) published in Prague in 1599, and the elegy on the death of the alchemist's wife - Veronica Stiberin - written by Joannes Chorinsky, a Moravian nobleman and poet, in 1599. All these authors knew Sendivogius personally and must have had some reason in seeking his favours.
In Prague Sendivogius also appears as an extraordinary physician - at first he lived at the house of Nicholas Lev of Lovenstejn, also a physician, and cured his son. Then he worked in the alchemical laboratory of a wealthy burgher Ludwig Koralek and became his family doctor, curing his daughter. It may be noted here that later, about 1606, when king Sigismund III Vasa was severely ill, he sent for Sendivogius even though there were several renowned physicians at his court. As may have been expected, Sendivogius's therapy proved effective and the king was cured. According to Lev of Lovenstejn he used white and red powders but his sound foundations in the art of medicine are obvious from his personal copy of Pharmacopoeia Augustana (Augsburg 1613) with copious marginal notes that is now in the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow. This is important for the Rosicrucian connection because of the stress placed upon healing people in the Manifestos.
As is confirmed by archival materials in Prague, at that time Sendivogius possessed the White Tincture. He gave some of it to both of his hosts and they performed transmutations themselves: Lev of Lovenstejn changed some mercury into silver and Koralek did the same with a big nail and a screw from the wall in his house. The metal was carefully examined by an independent chemist and was found to be pure silver. Sendivogius, however, stressed the fact that he had got the tincture from his "praeceptor" from Egypt and had not made it himself. It is not known when the transmutation performed by Rudolph II with Sendivogius's tincture took place but it seems that it must have been some years later when he found the way of preparing the Philosophers' Stone himself. It was then that Rudolph ordered to place the marble slab with the inscription "Faciat hoc quispiam alius quod fecit Sendivogius Polonus" on the wall of the room where it was performed. Later the alchemist is known to have performed several other transmutations, including one of a part of a silver slab into gold in the presence of king Sigismund III Vasa of Poland (the slab was then taken to France, investigated and found to be of highest purity - Pierre Borel in his Tresor de recherches et antiquites gauloises et francoises published in Paris in 1655 calls it "the most beautiful example of transmutation in our times" as the gold part could not have been soldered and was porous due to the difference in specific gravity). Of special interest is, however, the information that Sendivogius sent through Jean de la Blanque, the French consul in Gdansk (Danzig), a bar of iron changed into gold to Bartholomew Schachmann, the mayor of that city. This must have taken place circa 1611 and was described by Adrian Pauli, a doctor of medicine and professor in the gymnasium in Gdansk (Danzig), in Disputatio physica de metallis published by Andreas Hunefeldt, the Rosicrucian publisher of Manifestos and the important work by Julius Sperber, in 1617 - at the height of the Rosicrucian furore! It may be important to note that Schachmann studied at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow at the same time as Sendivogius and so may be considered as his old friend.
Sendivogius continued his diplomatic activities in the service of both Rudolph II and Sigismund III. From at least 1599 he was a secretary of the latter - he also had two houses in Cracow, one of which was inherited from his father, so certainly must have visited that city quite frequently. A letter by king Sigismund III dated in Warsaw on June 13, 1600 which has survived starts "I am sending Your Imperial Majesty Michael Sendivogius in order to solve the problems of Moldavia. That province has always been under our protection...". (It is interesting that Albrecht Laski, some 35 years earlier, tried to win the Moldavian throne for himself and even later John Dee asked his spirits about this possibility .) Due to the nature of diplomacy little is known about the results of this and other missions undertaken by the alchemist but his abilities must have been very highly valued as in 1608 Sendivogius was asked by George Mniszech (d.1613), palatine of Sandomierz, to go to Moscow in connection with the False Dimitri affair and convince the Russian nobility to accept him as the tsar (he was Mniszech's son-in-law). The mission was obviously very dangerous but no details of it are known.
Sendivogius was not only an alchemist of the traditional kind but had deep interest in new technology, the fact that is well worth noting as Frances Yates stresses this in Dee as a sign of new "enlightened" thinking. He worked with Nicholas Wolski, by then the court marshal and from 1613 the great marshal of Poland, in his steelworks and factory producing needles, knives, swords, sheets of brass and copper, etc. Later, about 1621, Sendivogius started to organise a lead ore mine in Silesia for the emperor Ferdinand II, for which he received a salary and several land estates in Bohemia.
All the features of Sendivogius described so far show him as a figure of European renown - a diplomat, physician, technician and successful alchemist. He was also an adventurer - the fact that must have made him even more attractive in the eyes of his contemporaries. The Seton affair is well known and Sendivogius himself is known to have been imprisoned on at least two other occasions, and each time he managed to escape. In 1607 in Cracow he fought a duel with swords with Picus Zawadzki, a doctor of medicine from the Jagiellonian University known for his anti-Praracelsist views.
The question must be asked, however, if Sendivogius had actual contacts with the key figures who played an important role in the early Rosicrucian development. As we have already seen, it is quite certain that Sendivogius knew Dee and Kelley, through their protectors Albrecht Laski and Villem of Rozemberk, who were also his. Being a privileged courtier of Rudolph II, he must also have met some of the other important people, most significantly Heinrich Khunrath, whose Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae was first published in Prague in 1598 under the "privilege and protection" of Rudolph II and who stayed at the emperor's court as his physician for some time . The work is described by Frances Yates as forming "a link between a philosophy influenced by Dee and the philosophy of the Rosicrucian manifestos". Khunrath met Dee in Bremen in the same year and was influenced by him, including mentions of his Monas Hieroglyphica and Aphorisms in the later full edition of Amphitheatrum (Hanover 1609). It is also significant that, like Sendivogius, he did not dedicate his works to any powerful protectors. This may be in fact one of the distinctive features of the early "true Rosicrucians" - if we accept it then Dee was not a fully grown Rosicrucian figure yet, while Khunrath was. He also presents a vision of a religious philosophy evolving from Magia, Cabala and Alchymia which promises a new dawn for mankind, the theme later developed by the Manifestos . But his works "do not appear to have received a great amount of known appreciation on their first publication" and he died in 1605 so the ideas must have been spread my someone else.
Another figure of crucial importance is Oswald Croll (1580-1609), another physician of Rudolph II and later of Christian of Anhalt who, according to Francs Yates, was the main architect of the political aspect of early Rosicrucianism. She even suggests that it was through Croll that the esoteric influences of the Prague court may have been brought to that of Anhalt. This is confirmed by Andrea Libavius's attack on the Manifestos in which Croll is often quoted as belonging to the same school of thought and clearly associated with the Rosicrucians. We are lucky to know that Sendivogius was a close friend of Oswald Croll - they were both physicians of the already mentioned patrician of Prague Ludwig Koralek. In 1598 he became an alcoholic (it seems it is not a modern invention) which resulted in an incurable disease and eventually Karolek's death in June of 1599. As Sendivogius was the only physician that stayed with him to the end, his family later sued him for causing the death. One of the witnesses at the court was Croll who obviously defended Sendivogius. Later in his book Basilica Chymica (Frankfurt 1609, p.94) he called the Polish alchemist "Heliocantharus Borealis" - a descriptive name which seems to be of great importance in connection with the Rosicrucian Manifestos. It can be translated as "Glorifier of the Northern Sun" but the meaning of the phrase can only be discovered by turning to Sendivogius's own preface to his Treatise on Sulphur (first published in Cologne 1613) where he says:
"The times are at hand when many secrets of Nature will be revealed to men. The Fourth or Northern Monarchy is about to be established; a happy age is coming; enlightenment, the Mother of Sciences, will soon appear; a brighter Sun than in any of the preceding three Monarchies will rise and reveal more hidden secrets. This Monarchy (as the ancients foretold) God's Omnipotence will found by the hand of a prince enriched with all virtues who, it is said, has already appeared in this present age. In this our northern region we see a prince of uncommon wisdom and valour, whom no king can surpass in victories or in love of men and God."This prophecy of "general reformation" might well have been taken from the Manifestos and precisely expresses their spirit. Of special importance is the use of the very term "Fourth Monarchy", so important in the Rosicrucian context. The well known fragment from the Fama says "In Politia we acknowledge the Roman Empire and Quartam Monarchiam for our Christian head; albeit we known what alterations be at hand, and would fain impart the same with all our hearts to other godly learned men". The mention of a prince who will establish the new Monarchy confirms the hypothesis of Frances Yates in a quite surprising way, while the words about "a brighter sun" that will rise are clearly the same theme as the statement in the Fama saying that "before the rising of the sun there should appear and break forth Aurora, or some clearness, or divine light in the sky". This Aurora is clearly Aurora Borealis, announcing the advent of the Northern Monarchy as foretold by Heliocantharus Borealis.
The whole subject of the coming reformation is only mentioned by Sendivogius here and the reader is referred to another work called Harmonia for further discussion. It is mentioned again in Philosophical Letters as having just been given to a certain Briquius for publication. So far it was generally accepted to have been lost but recent research of Prof. Bugaj suggests that it was published by Jacques Nuysement in Paris in 1618 and subsequently attributed to him . The dating of the letters is doubtful but the most probable year is 1616 which conforms with this possibility. There were two English editions of this work in the translation of Robert Turner from the Latin of Ludwig Combach (London 1657 and 1658). I have not been able to see this work but if it is really Sendivogius's Harmonia then it should be of crucial importance for the study of early Rosicrucianism. As Sendivogius was called "Heliocantharus Borealis" by Oswald Croll in the book published in 1609, he must have been teaching the theory of the Fourth Monarchy and the coming changes for at least a few years by then, maybe even as early as 1598-99 when we know they were in close contact. It is interesting that the same name or title was also used by Michael Maier to describe Sendivogius in Symbola Aureae Mensae (Frankfurt 1617) which shows that it was well known in the circles of alchemical philosophers of the period. Maier knew Sendivogius personally but they must have met later as he himself says he left his native Holstein only in 1608 , unless they first met in Altdorf or Rostock where both of them studied.
It is difficult to say who was the "great prince" that Sendivogius had in mind. It may have been Vladislaus IV Vasa, son of king Sigismund, who was seen by his ambitious father as the future king of Poland, Sweden and Moscow. But it is equally possible that Sendivogius visited Heidelberg on one of his journeys to Germany and was so impressed by its occult atmosphere that he began to regard Frederick V of Palatine as the future leader of the Fourth Monarchy. Alternatively his ideas may have inspired Christian of Anhalt (either through Oswald Croll or direct contact with Sendivogius) in his political plans connected with the young Elector. In any case it seems obvious that the initial impulse came from the teachings of Sendivogius.
In 1604 De Lapide Philosophorum Tractatus duodecim or Twelve Treatises on the Philosophers' Stone was published simultaneously in Prague and in Frankfurt. In Prague there were two editions in the same year and Rudolph II also ordered the book to be translated into Czech . It stirred so much interest in Europe that numerous editions appeared in the following years and continued to appear in the 18th century, reaching over 50 different printings. But Sendivogius did not seek fame: the book bore his name hidden in the anagram "Divi Leschi Genus Amo" (Leschus or Lech was the legendary founder of Poland) and was not dedicated to Rudolph or any other patron. In his preface to the Parable or Enigma of the Sages added at the end Sendivogius wrote:
"If you ask who I am: I am Cosmopolita, citizen of the world. If you know me and wish to be good and honourable men, keep my name a secret. If you do not know me, forbear to enquire after my name, for I shall make public nothing more than appears in this writing. Believe me, if my rank and station were not what they are, I should enjoy nothing so much as a solitary life, or to have joined Diogenes in his tub. For I behold this world full of vanity, greed, cruelty, venality, and iniquity; and I rejoice in the prospect of the glorious life to come. I no longer wonder, as once I did, that the true Sage, though he owns the Stone, does not care to prolong his life; for he daily sees heaven before his eyes, as you see your face in a glass. When God gives you what you desire, you will believe me, and not make yourself known to the world." This statement expresses the reasons for remaining unknown in terms very similar to those at the end of the Confessio, while other fragments of the preface and epilogue to De Lapide Philosophorum bear strong resemblance to the closing paragraphs of the Fama.
The book must have been obtained by Frederick of Wurttemberg who, probably also motivated by the information on transmutations performed by Sendivogius, started corresponding with the alchemist, urging him to visit Stuttgart. Sendivogius finally agreed and came in the summer of 1605 together with his secretary and several servants. The duke greeted him with great hospitality, held long discussions with him in the palace gardens, and obviously asked if he could see a genuine transmutation. Sendivogius demanded that Frederick swears to keep all he sees in secret (which the latter did kneeling before the alchemist) and performed two transmutations of mercury into gold. The duke was so impressed that he gave Sendivogius the estate of Neidlingen that belonged to his court alchemist Hans Heinrich Muhlenfels which eventually proved disastrous as Muhlenfels then imprisoned Sendivogius and robbed him of all his belongings. This affair if of no concern to us here  so it is enough to say that Sendivogius managed to escape and both emperor Rudolph and king Sigismund intervened and after a trial Muhlenfels was hanged in 1607.
Another person with whom Sendivogius stayed in Stuttgart was the duke's councillor Konrad Schuler, who urged the alchemist to stay at the court permanently. It is interesting that there apparently was an edition of De Lapide Philosophorum of 1605 with a preface written by the same Konrad Schuler and addressed to the German princes. This would be a most direct link not only between Sendivogius and the political plans of the Protestant League but also between these and later Rosicrucianism. Unfortunately no details of this seemingly very rare edition are known.
The visit of Sendivogius in Stuttgart is even more important for his possible contact with the young members of Johann Valentin Andreae's circle at Tubingen. Andreae was 19 at that time and must have heard about the great alchemist and philosopher visiting the duke and performing transmutations, especially as the Muhlenfels affair became well known throughout Europe. It is quite probable that Sendivogius also visited the university at Tubingen and may have met its students. In fact there is an indirect proof that he was very popular there - some forty years later several books were published by Johann Harprecht (1610-1660) who called himself "Filius Sendivogii" . He was a son of the professor of law at Tubingen university and, as Karl Schmieder in his Geschichte der Alchemie (Halle 1832) says, when he was a boy he always heard conversations about Sendivogius and his transmutations which made him devote himself to alchemy. Other authors even say that he was Sendivogius's son-in-law but there seems to be no proof of this, certainly very attractive, statement.
The activities of Sendivogius between 1608 (when he went to Moscow on diplomatic mission, as mentioned above) and 1616, or in the crucial period for Rosicrucian beginnings, are unfortunately not known. We can only guess that he stayed in Cracow and Prague, where he must have met Michael Maier, and perhaps made some other trips to German princes, as in 1616 we see him in Marburg. But before that the two Manifestos were published in 1614 and 1615 at Cassel.
As already stated, some similarities may be discerned between the general style and some fragments of the first Rosicrucian publications on one hand and the statements contained in prefaces and epilogues to Sendivogius's tracts. It is also significant that the date of opening the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz was given as 1604, the year of publication of De Lapide Philosophorum (the same is often said of Simon Studion's Naometria that was completed in 1604). But that is not all. The whole theory of John Dee's influence on the Manifestos constructed by Frances Yates is ultimately derived from the fact that the Consideratio Brevis of Philip a Gabella, to which the Confessio was merely an addition or continuation, was based on Dee's Monas hieroglyphica (actually quoting verbatim from it). As Frances Yates says: "The Dee-inspired Consideratio Brevis, and its prayer, seems absolutely assimilated to the Rosicrucian manifesto, as an integral part of it, as though explaining that the 'more secret philosophy' behind the Rosicrucian movement was the philosophy of John Dee, as expounded in his Monas hieroglyphica" . But only a part of this work is based on Dee's Monas, while the remainder is purely alchemical and its source has not been explained by either Yates or anyone else. In fact it is clearly based on Sendivogius's De Lapide Philosophorum! There are numerous statements either taken directly from it or summarising its fragments, or saying the same things in different words. For instance the piece in the last paragraph of chapter 5 starting "If Hermes, the father of philosophy, were to be brought back to life today..." is taken from the second page of the First Treatise while the description of the working of Nature summarises the teachings of Sendivogius. Also the explanations about Mercury and its role in Nature set forth in chapter 6 show deep understanding of Sendivogius's theories on "our water that does not wet hands" referred to many times in De Lapide Philosophorum. 
There is, however, one fragment quoted verbatim - that is the last paragraph of chapter 6 which comes from the Fifth Treatise with the opening statement added: "As I have often told my sons of knowledge and wisdom...". So we have a quotation introduced in the first person! Moreover, it is introduced with the Sendivogius's favourite form of addressing his readers and fellow alchemists: "sons of knowledge and wisdom". Who, therefore, is saying these words ? Philip a Gabella, of course, but nothing is known of his identity and Frances Yates suggests it must be a pseudonym referring to "Cabala". Could the whole text have been written by Sendivogius himself? It seems quite possible - he had been acquainted with Dee's philosophy and may have visited Tubingen again between 1608 and 1615. But then the question arises if he was the real moving spirit behind the Rosicrucian Manifestos or just the figure of a master that the first Rosicrucians admired and took as a model for Christian Rosenkreutz? This question will have to remain unanswered for the time being though we may examine the former possibility as well.
The Philosophical Letters of Michael Sendivogius were most probably written in 1616 from Brussels and were addressed to a new member of the Society of Unknown Philosophers of Cabala ("novo Cabalae Philosophorum Incognuorum dignissimo Sodali") in France. There were printed editions of them in French, German and Latin, and there are several manuscript copies of English translations , at least one of which is entitled Letters of Michael Sendivogius to the Rosey Crucian Society . They seem to be not just a literary form but genuine letters to which replies were received. In the first of them Sendivogius says "I am sending you the Latin statutes of our Society" which is most intriguing.
In 1691 there appeared in Paris an edition the Letters preceded by Statuts des Philosophes inconnus of 30 pages . Could these be the same statutes? Sendivogius was writing his letters to a person in France and sent him the statutes, so it seems possible that they survived and were published there. But he writes that the statutes were in Latin. The well known French researcher Robert Amadou  has discovered two Latin manuscript copies of the Letters, one of which (Bibliotheque de Carpentras, Mss 288) also contains Statuta philosophorum incognitorum! As I have not been able to read these statutes, I cannot comment on their contents and how they compare with the rules of Rosicrucians as outlined in the Manifestos, but their very existence is quite meaningful.
Another interesting thing about the letters is that in several versions there is at their end a "Hieroglyph of the Society of Unknown Philosophers" (or of "The Rosey Crucian Society" in Manly Palmer Hall's copy). But in the three cases I know they are totally different: in the Paris 1691 edition it is a "Trident of Neptune" (which looks rather like the Greek letter Psi) encircled by two feathers, in the Latin manuscript it is the letter M within a circle and with a horizontal line across, while in the M.P. Hall's English manuscript there are four circular figures taken from Jacob Boehme. This last case is of no interest as it is from the 18th century, but Neptune appears prominently in Sendivogius's Parable and the letter M with some additions is also the chief motif of the Rosicrucian seal reproduced by Michael Maier in his Themis Aurea .
There has been some doubt concerning the authorship of the letters but all the known manuscripts and early editions ascribe them to Sendivogius. The title is usually given as Apographum Epistolarum Michaelis Sendivogii seu J.J.D.J. Cosmopolitae vulgo dicti, practically the same as in the edition of J.J. Manget in his Bibliotheca chemica curiosa (Geneva 1702). The four initials, that are not expanded in other editions, are explained on the margin of the 1691 Paris edition and in the Bibliotheque de Carpentras manuscript as "Jean Joachim Destinguel d'Ingrofont". As nothing is known of such character, Robert Amadou thinks it is a pseudonym but could not explain it. It is well known that Sendivogius had a liking of anagrams of his name - he signed his first book "Divi Leschi Genus Amo" and The Treatise on Sulphur bore the anagram "Angelus Doce Mihi Jus" (Angel, teach me the law). So can this pseudonym be explained in the same way? Indeed, IOACHIMUS D'ESTINGUEL is a perfect anagram of MICHAEL SENDIVOGIUS, in which all letters are used and every letter is used only once! This can be no coincidence even though it does not explain the remaining part of the name.
So it seems that there was a secret Society of Unknown Philosophers probably founded by Michael Sendivogius and that Sendivogius strongly influenced (or maybe even wrote himself) the Consideratio Brevis expounding the philosophy and alchemy behind the original Rosicrucian movement. At present it is not possible to state if the two societies were one and the same but such a possibility is definitely suggested by the evidence available.
After the Manifestos there appeared numerous publications, mostly letters addressed to the Rosicrucian Fraternity, seeking to establish contact with it. One of the most interesting for us is that written by Joachim Morsius (1593-1643), regarded as the epitome of "a Rosicrucian type of mind" . The title of it was Anastasii Philareti Cosmopolitae Epistola Sapientissime FRC Remissa. Philadelphia: Harpocrates. This sounds like he was saying: "I am a Cosmopolita, too, and I can keep the secret like Harpocrates" which clearly refers to Sendivogius's remarks in De Lapide Philosophorum: "If you ask who I am: I am Cosmopolita" and "I doubt not that there are many persons of good conduct and clear conscience who possess this great gift of God in secret. I pray and conjure them that they should preserve even the silence of Harpocrates" . So Morsius probably felt that there must be some connection between the teachings of Sendivogius (whose name he probably did not know then yet) and the Rosicrucian Manifestos.
It should also be considered that although the Manifestos were first published at Cassel, they were soon reprinted by others, of which the most important were Johann Bringer of Frankfurt and Andreas Hunefeldt of Danzig/Gdansk. Bringer issued several editions with the Confessio translated by him into German and also Dutch and French translations of both, all in 1615. In the same year there also appeared in Marburg a facsimile of Bringer's edition entitled Fama Fraternitatis R.C. Ohne Reformation. Zeile auf Zeile Bringer's Ausgabe folgend (as we shall see, Sendivogius visited Marburg the following year!). Bringer was also the main publisher of the letters and pamphlets that flooded Europe in response to the Manifestos, starting already in 1613 with Epistola ad Reverend. Fraternitatem R.-C. and in 1614 with Assertio Fraternitatis R.C. quam Rosae Crucis vocant etc. by Raphael Eglinus, both of which seem to have been published before the Fama which was then circulated in manuscript form. In this context it seems quite meaningful that Bringer was also the publisher of Sendivogius's 1611 edition (i.e. at the time when the Fama was probably first written) of De Lapide Philosophorum, a copy of which is in the University Library in Tubingen! .
I have already mentioned Sendivogius's connections with Danzig/Gdansk and indirectly with Hunefeldt but there is one more publisher of Rosicrucian texts that should be considered, namely Lazarus Zetzner of Strasbourg, who printed the Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz or The Chemical Wedding in 1616, as well as some "replies". And the same publisher seems to have been favoured by both Sendivogius (7 editions of his works between 1613 and 1628) and Andreae (several of his works including Turris Babel, Mythologiae Christianae and Christianopolis). The latter's Menippus has as the place of publication "Cosmopoli" which may well be a direct allusion to Sendivogius.
As already mentioned, Sendivogius's biography has a "lacuna" between 1608 and 1616. It is quite certain that he stayed in Prague and Cracow from time to time, as he had his houses and land estates there. In Prague he obviously met Michael Maier, at that time the physician of Rudolph II. In 1616 we see him visiting the laboratory of Johann Hartmann (1568-1631) in Marburg and probably also the court of landgrave Maurice of Hesse where Michael Maier now served. Hartmann was a friend of Maier  and a famous chemist, made "Professor of Chymiatria" by landgrave Maurice in 1609. From his surviving diary it is known that in 1615 among his students was Simon Batkowski from Poland, an alchemist and friend of Sendivogius, probably identical with "Badowski", his private secretary, with whom Sendivogius was in Stuttgart. The experiments and production of medicines in Marburg was based on the recipes from Basilica Chymica by Oswald Croll, another friend of Sendivogius. The Polish alchemist obviously visited Marburg as a honorary guest - possibly even invited by landgrave Maurice, whose copious correspondence with alchemists of the period still survives and might throw more light on this. It should be remembered that he was a close associate of Frederick of Palatine and the dukes of Anhalt and Wurttemberg, and it was at his town of Cassel that the Manifestos were first published.
The greatest tribute paid to Sendivogius by his contemporaries was the publication of Symbola aureae mensae duodecim nationum by Maier (Frankfurt 1617) in which the teachings of twelve greatest alchemical adepts were discussed. This "chain" of wisdom starts with Hermes Trismegistos and ends with "Sarmata Anonymus" also called "Heliocantharus Borealis" who is none other but Michael Sendivogius (Poland was styled Sarmatia just as England was Albion). The fact that Maier did not reveal his name, though he obviously knew him, suggests that Sendivogius asked him not to do that. Such behaviour conforms with his request in De Lapide Philosophorum quoted above and his Society of Unknown Philosophers, while in the preface to the Treatise on Sulphur (published in Cologne in 1616) he says to the reader: "But you may be sure that no necessity is laid upon me to write at all, and that if I have come forward it is only out of love to you, having no expectation of personal profit, and no desire for empty glory, for which reason I here refrain, as I have before done, from revealing my identity to the public" . With my limited knowledge of Latin I was not able to read the monumental work of Maier to find out what he says about Sendivogius and J.B. Craven's short summary is of no help here. Roman Bugaj tells us only that he was enthusiastic and said that he had seen a transmutation performed by the Polish alchemist "with his own eyes".
The symbolic engraving of Sendivogius in the text of Symbola aureae mensae, showing him in the traditional dress of a Polish nobleman, was again used by Daniel Stolcius, a disciple of Maier in Prague, in his Viridarium Chymicum of 1624 (and once again, this time without the other eleven engravings, as the frontispiece in the Maier's posthumously published Subtilis Allegoria). Stolcius's poem accompanying it was:
Michael Sendivogius, a PoleThe alchemist's name was revealed for the first time in 1613 when his three works under the collective title Tripus Chymicus Sendivogianus were published in Strasbourg but this must have been suppressed by Sendivogius himself, as other editions of his treatises in the following years continued to be anonymous until the second printing of the same in 1621 and the final disclosure in the 1624 Erfurt edition of Michaelis Sendivogi Poloni Lumen Chymicum Novum with a commentary by Johann Ortelius which was later severely criticised in the third Strasbourg edition of Tripus Chymicus in 1628, probably as a reaction of Sendivogius himself.
Stolcius was a native of Prague and certainly knew Sendivogius himself so the statement that "Prague has acknowledged his works" cannot be an overstatement but rather is an expression of his admiration. The most interesting thing, however, is that four years later, in Hortulus Hermeticus (1627), he no longer mentions Sendivogius by name but returns to Maier's term "An Anonymous Sarmatian Chemist" . It seems as if he was asked, after his first book appeared, not to reveal Sendivogius's identity.
In fact there are other instances of similar refraining from mentioning his name by authors who certainly knew him. The most interesting example is that from John Jonston (1603-1675), a polyhistor born in Poland of a Scottish family, who was a friend of Comenius, visited Robert Fludd and John Hunyades in England, and had many other connections that make him a possible Rosicrucian of the second generation. In his Naturae Constantia (Amsterdam 1632, p.81), after some brief comments on the achievements of various contemporary alchemists including Kelley, Sethon, Croll and Hunyades, he concludes this short section with a very meaningful statement: "I also believe that everyone knows what a certain Polish physician did for vivifying planets". It seems as if Rosicrucians could not mention Sendivogius's name!
The next known event in the life of Sendivogius is that he was in Prussia in 1619, where he carried out some alchemical experiments. No more is known about that journey but it should be noted that the Rosicrucian centres in Danzig/Gdansk and Elbing/Elblag (with Samuel Hartlib and John Dury) were in that province of Poland and that Sendivogius's secretary and friend - Simon Batkowski - was a native of Prussia. Also the earliest reference to Rosicrucians in Polish literature comes from a poem Theatrum diabolorum by Jan Borawski, a Polish Protestant pastor from the small town of Brodnica/Strassburg in Prussia, that was published in 1621. The relevant fragment is:
Te solum fratrum roseae crucis expedit ordo Anglicus ille nocens, sudor et atra lues, Gorgonea illuvies, gangraena, corizque mundi, Deformatores dixeris orbis eos. This shows on one hand that even provincial clergymen of Prussia heard about Rosicrucians, and on the other - that the whole matter was a subject of jokes and waggish satires. The book was apparently first published in Polish as early as 1607 but I was not able to confirm it yet nor check if the edition was identical. If it was, then it would be the earliest reference to Rosicrucians, antedating the Fama by seven years!
It is also not impossible that the journey had some diplomatic aspects - that was the year when Frederick "The Winter King" began his short reign in Prague - the town with which Sendivogius was so closely linked throughout his life. We do not know which side of the conflict Sendivogius was on but it seems that he was above the political and religious differences (like John Dee who did not mind taking the holy communion at the Roman Catholic mass in Cracow), while he may have been attracted by the perspective of the "Monarchia Borealis" of his dreams that was now at hand. Later close connections of Hartlib, Dury and Comenius with the court of Elisabeth at The Hague seem to indicate that Prussia was also of considerable importance, perhaps even next to Bohemia.
In the tragedy of 1620 Poland tried to stay neutral. Although both wives of king Sigismund were of the Hapsburg dynasty, Polish nobility generally represented anti-Hapsburg attitudes. They were very proud of the democratic institution of elective kings in Poland and were for introducing the same in Bohemia and Hungary. Some of the non-catholic magnates had direct contacts with Frederick V of Palatine, the most important of whom were Rafal Leszczynski (a Calvinist educated in England), the patron of Comenius and John Jonston, responsible for bringing Moravian Brethren to Poland, and prince Janusz Radziwill, a Lutheran, brother-in-law of Christian of Anhalt and a friend of Frederick. It is interesting that the latter's court physician and poet, Daniel Naborowski, wrote a beautiful poem entitled On the eyes of the English princess who was married to Frederick, the pfaltzgrave of Rhein, elected the king of Bohemia (published in 1621). As the poem was written in Polish, the "Winter King and Queen", and their cause must have been well known and certainly supported by some of the powerful Polish magnates. There were even rumours that Sigismund III Vasa would be dethroned and Frederick of Palatine would take his place .
It is almost certain that Sendivogius had contacts with both Comenius and Hartlib, as in 1631 a friend of them both - Cyprian Kinner - refused invitations to become rector of the Racovian Academy and the Klausenburg school in order to accept that from "baron Michael Sendivogius" to the imperial court in Prague. He did some services for Sendivogius there and was ennobled at his request by the emperor Ferdinand II . The mention of the Racovian Academy established by the Polish Socinians (Arians) is of additional interest in the light of the fact that Henricus Neuhusius in his Pia et utilissima admonitio de Fratribus Rosae Crucis (Danzig 1618) maintained that Rosicrucians were Socinians . One of the leading Socinians was Jarosz Hieronim Moskorzowski (died 1625), a nobleman who wrote several Socinian books but also was deeply interested in alchemy and had his own laboratory . There are several other connections with that religious movement that also had aims of social reform, one of the most interesting is that through Thomas Seget, a Scot who visited Polish Socinian centres in 1612 and was a friend of Poland's greatest poet of the time - Szymon Szymonowic (or Simon Simonides) - as well as several known Socinians including Martin Ruarus and Samuel Przypkowski. Seget gave the manuscript of Szymonowic's Latin poems to Joachim Morsius (the same who used the pseudonym of "Cosmopolita" when issuing his reply to the Fama) for publication which eventually brought Szymonowic European fame. Seget was also a friend of Raphael Eglinus from Marburg, the author of the second earliest known reply - published before the Fama. The most important thing, however, is that in 1612 Szymonowic wrote to Seget from Prague (where Sendivogius was a celebrated personality) that they might correspond through the facilities of Nicholas Wolski - the lifelong patron and friend of Sendivogius! 
Little is known about the later life of Sendivogius besides the details of the various estates in Bohemia and Poland (Cracow) that he owned. After 1620 he was serving the new emperor Ferdinand II and became his councillor with the consent of king Sigismund III of Poland. He visited Cracow from time to time and made at least one more journey abroad - to Italy in 1623 - where he contacted John Brozek (1585-1652), a Polish mathematician and physician, later rector of the Jagiellonian University.
Mention should also be made of a curious incident reported by one of the early biographers of Sendivogius - the anonymous author of Vita Sendivogii Poloni nobilis baronis, describing himself as Sendivogius's lawyer. He reports that living in Krawarz Sendivogius received letters from and visits of scholars from all Europe and among them arrived two people, one old and the other young, who introduced themselves as representatives of "Societas rosae crucis" and invited the alchemist to join their fraternity. Although Sendivogius did not agree, there was later issued a book in German called Rhodostauroticum in which he was listed as a member but his name was not given. All of this sounds rather mysterious but it is possible that the two persons were connected with the spurious Rosicrucian Order of Philip Ziegler who styled himself "King of Jerusalem" and was active in France, Holland and England between 1623 and 1626, founding what he called "Rosicrucian Colleges" . The book quoted in that report must have been Echo Colloquii Rhodostaurotici by one Benedict Hilarion of whom nothing else is known. As it was published in 1622 and described the "Colleges" of Rosicrucians, it must have originated from the Ziegler's circle or even was written by him. As A.E. Waite says , the author listed the people accepted into the Order giving their initials and the book was first printed in German, which conforms with the information in Vita Sendivogii. The whole episode clearly suggests that Sendivogius must have known the truth about the Rosicrucian Manifestos and that is why he refused to join the Ziegler's group.
Sendivogius died in 1636. But the image of the greatest alchemist of the "Rosicrucian Age" survived him and made his works extremely popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. There is no point in listing those later alchemists who regarded Sendivogius very highly (like Sir Isaac Newton) but it is well worth mentioning that the D.O.M.A. manuscript, better known in its published version as Geheime Figuren (Altona 1785-88), that may be considered to be a Fama of the 18th century, contains only one quotation that is not from the Bible - and it is obviously from Sendivogius's De Lapide Philosophorum 
The fame of Sendivogius also created folk legends - still today in his native town of Nowy Sacz it is said that his ghost appears on the town market square every New Year's Eve. He walks along it and throws gold coins around. Unlike most other apparitions, Sendivogius brings good luck to those who happen to see him - and there are people in the town who swear they did see him .
Although the evidence presented in this article is not definite, it certainly points to a possibility that has not been considered before - that Michael Sendivogius may have been the model of Christian Rosenkreutz and that he was certainly closely connected with the beginnings of the Rosicrucian furore that swept Europe in the early 17th century and may be felt even today. Perhaps further studies and research in archival sources, especially the correspondence of Sendivogius with rulers and alchemists of the period, will bring some even more revealing information to light.
1) Frances A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, Boulder
1978 edition, p.39.