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Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998
From: Sean Charles Stidd

Can anyone out there recommend a good book or article on the major
figures/role of alchemy in Spain before the inquisition? This time is
especially intriguing to me because for two or three hundred years Jewish,
Christian, and Muslim alchemists lived near one another and had ample
opportunity to communicate with one another about alchemy and alchemical
experience across religious and cultural boundaries that were much
stronger in most places during the middle ages. Any suggestions?


Sean Stidd

From: Leonid M. Kokun
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 98

J.Garcia Font - "Historia de la alquimia en Espagna". Barcelona, 1995;
ISBN 84-88865-04-X. (diacritics omitted)

Leo Kokun

From: Massimo Marra
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998

Dear Sean,

These are the two source books on the subject "Alchemy in Spain":

Josť Ramon De Luanco - La Alquimia en Espana
1995 Barcelona, ediciones Obelisco

J. Garcia Font - Historia de la Alquimia en Espana
1995 Barcelona, ediciones MRA

The history of alchemy in Spain, in the early middle ages, is the
history of the first phases of the medieval western alchemy tout-court.
The first translations of philosophical and alchemical arabic texts were
made in Spain by a number of translators (Gherardo Da Cremona, Roberto di
Chester , Gundisalvi, Juan de Toledo etc...) coming from all parts of
Europe. The bishop Raimondo founded a very important translation school.
Lynn Thorndike in "History of Magic and Experimental science" (Columbia
University Press 1958) devoted to this subject part of the second volume.
There are a lot of scholarly studies, that, I think, are very interesting
for you, in :

AA. VV.- La diffusione delle scienze islamiche nel Medioevo europeo
Roma 1984 Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

AA.VV. - Oriente e Occidente nel Medioevo: Filosofia e scienze
Roma 1971 Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

In the late Middle Ages, Spain (especially Toledo and Cordoba) was an
important center of diffusion of the arabian aristotelian legacy. In this
period, were made the translations of the books of Aristotle, Averroes,
Avicenna, Geber and Rhazes. The first translation from arabic alchemy was
Morienus' Testamentum, by Roberto di Chester done in 1144.

By the way, there is another very important center of diffusion of
arabic civilization in the late middle age: through Sicily and South Italy
(Sicily was under arabic rule from 827 to 1072). In the 13th
century, we have an explosion of hermetic sciences in the court
of Federico II (the stupor mundi). A very important figure of this court,
was the astrologer and alchemist Michael Scot.


Massimo Marra