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January 2006
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Subject: ACADEMY: Two remaining vols. of Theatrum chemicum available
From: Rafal T. Prinke
Date: 3 Jan 2006

Dear Academy,

Although the two remaining volumes (4 and 6) of my electronic
edition of _Theatrum chemicum_ have already been on-line for
some time, there were some technical problems so I waited with
announcing it to the alchemical world. Not everything works
correctly yet but the New Year is a good occassion to release
the news :-)

If you go to the Library main page:

and do a search for "theatrum", only the "old" volumes appear.
But when you select any one of them, and move down the page
to "Publication structure", all volumes plus my introduction
will be accessible.

By far the easiest way to use _Theatrum chemicum_ is via
my introduction and tables of contents included in it.

If there are no reasons to do otherwise, please access it in that way,
so that my humble addition gets more hits and goes up the "top 100" list :-)

Best regards,


Subject: ACADEMY: Dee - Some news in Ambix
From: Jean-Yves Artero
Date: 7 Jan 2006

Dear Academy,

For those who are interested in John Dee, here is a recent and interesting
publication. It is a special issue of AMBIX (Journal of SHAC), VOL. 52,
N°3, November 2005, devoted to John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica. Guest
Editor is Stephen Clucas. Here are the articles:

- The Monas and the alchemical thread of Dee's Career, by Nicholas H.
- Interpretation and the Monad: Dee's reading of Pantheus's Voarchadumia,
by Hilde Norrgrén,
- Early alchemical reception of Dee's Monas, by Peter J. Forshaw,
- Lady Clifford's alchemical receipt book and the Dee circle, by Penny

From Clulee, I noted following, concerning Dee and Pantheus:

"Dee was acquainted with Giovanni Baptista Agnelli, a Venetian alchemist
living in London, from whom he received Giovanni Agostino Pantheus's
Voarchadumia as a gift in 1559."

From Forshaw:

"Like Dee, Khunrath, court physician to Vilem Rozmberk, had an interest in Voarchadumia."


PS Congratulations to Rafal Prinke for his huge work about Zetzner.

Subject: ACADEMY: Help with translating from Latin
From: Ahmad Y. al-Hassan
Date: 9 Jan 2006

Dear Colleagues, Members of the Academy.

I need help in translating the following texts from Latin:

1- Benedictus igitur sit gloriosus et sublimis Deus, qui nihil fecit regimine carens.

2- De quorum nominibus, naturis et operationibus hic dispersa in
diversis voluminibus posuimus capitula, et induimus opiniones diversas.
Alibi tamen cum Deo summam omnium, quae sparsim tradidimus,
aggregabimus cum veritate probationis in summa una sermone brevi,
in qua quidquid nostra volumina utile seu superfluum continent aut
diminutum, hic per illam ibique per haec sanae mentis et diligentis
indagationis artifex absque errore reperiet et perveniet ad desideratum
perfectae artis actum et expectatum laboris effectum.

Et nos non collegimus Iob aliud multa ex antiquorum dictis et in
voluminibus nostris ea multiplicavimus, nisi ut ex illis eliceremus
secretum eorum, et vitaremus errores, et ex eorum coniecturis nostri
roboraremus perscrutationem sermonis via brevi et veritate perfecta,
ad quam faciente glorioso et sublimi Deo, licet cum longi vigilia
studii et magni laboris instantia usque quaquam pervenimus,
et earn totam in libro qui Summa intitulabitur, non sub illorum
scribemus aenigmate vel figuris, neque ita lucido trademus sermone,
quin illum accidat necessario insipientes latere eosque subire errorem.
Sed traditionum omnium assumentes arcanum ex his, quae
perquisivimus, vidimus atque palpavimus. et certificati sumus
cum experientia vera, tali sermone volente Deo explicabimus.
Quod si se ad ea bonae mentis artifex exercitaverit, se totum
[aut saltem partem] artis excelsae fructum Dei dono adinvenisse

These texts are from Riccardiana MS 933, from the text of
Geber de investigatione perfectionis magisterii.

I need this translation for a paper which I shall deliver in a conference
next February. I shall acknowledge of course the help that I may receive.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Ahmad Y. al-Hassan

Subject: ACADEMY: Help with translating from Latin
From: Adam McLean
Date: 9 Jan 2006

Dear Ahmad Y. al-Hassan,

This seems to be similar to the 'Sum of Perfection', Second book
chapter 14 in the Richard Russel English translation which was printed in

BUT, that the Envious may not calumniate us, We declare,
that We have not treated of our Science with a continued
series of Discourse, but have dispersed it in diverse Chapters.
And this was done; because, if it had been delivered in a
continued Series of Speech, the just Man, as well as him that
is evil, might have usurped it unworthily. Therefore,We
have concealed it in places, where We more openly speak;
yet not under an Enigma, but in a plain discourse to the
Artist: and indeed We have described it in such a way of ,
speaking, as is agreeable to the Will of the Most High,
blessed, sublime, and Glorious God, and our own Mind,
who writ the same, as it happened to be recollected, or
was infused by the Grace of his divine Goodness, who gives
it to, and withholds it from, whom he will.

Therefore, let not the Son of Learning despair: for if
he seek it, he may find the same, with the Investigation of
the Motion of his proper Nature, not of Doctrine. Because,
he that seeks by the goodness of his Industry finds the same;
but he, who seeks the same following Books only, will very
slowly attain to this most precious Art. For We published
this Art found by Us only, for our selves only, not for
others, although it be most true, and altogether certain.
Therefore, We invite to this Art the Prudent only, and
(by Ingenuities taught by Us) expose to them the way of
investigation. For We writ down the same being found,
together with the Way of its Invention, and the Ingenuities
of Methods, for none, but our selves. Wherefore let the
well-minded Artificer exercise himself by those Precepts,
which We have delivered; and he will greatly rejoyce when
he hath found the Gift of the Most High God. These may
suffice to be spoken, touching the Disquisition of this
sublime Art.

Subject: ACADEMY: Series of alchemy events in Plymouth
From: Shelley Griffiths
Date: 10 Jan 2006

Peninsula Arts is an exciting, integrated programme of music, visual and
performing arts spanning everything from talks by well-known authors to
major exhibitions. Most of these are hosted here at the University of Plymouth
and are designed to highlight the best that the region has to offer as well
as bringing to Plymouth a wide range of national and international figures.

We have recently hosted a very successful history lecture series and we are
currently organising a series of 11 lectures on alchemy for the New Year 2006.

The spring brochure is in this pdf file brochure.pdf .

Shelley Griffiths

Subject: ACADEMY: Renaissance epigrams and monograms
From: James M Bradburne
Date: 18 Jan 2006

I am helping a colleague decrypt a mid-15th century Latin epigram,
and was wondering if anyone had either

1) collected the texts of Renaissance epigrams, acrostics, monograms etc., or

2) had written about the practice of Renaissance word play (the written
equivalent of emblems and impresa).

Even if we put cryptography to one side (the epigram in question is not
in code) it is clear that there are dozens of deliberate letter combinations
to be teased out. This practice was common in the Renaissance alchemical
practice as well I believe, but has anyone compiled examples?

Any help finding relevant literature would be appreciated

All best,


Subject: ACADEMY: Basil Valentine's Last will and Testament
From: Adam McLean
Date: 26 Jan 2006

Does anyone know when the so called 'Last will and Testament of
Basil Valentine' was first published ?

The English version was printed in 1670 in London.

There is an earlier German book of Strassburgh, 1645.

Geheime Bücher oder letzes Testament. Vom grossen Stein der
uralten Weisen und andern verborgenen Geheimnüssen der Natur.

and some subsequent German editions of the 'Letzes Testament' in
Strassburg 1651, 1667 and one in the 18th century.

Are these the earliest editions ?

I have not found any manuscripts, so is it fair to assume that
the 'Last will' would have been written in the 1640's.

Is there any internal evidence in the text which can date it ?
Or any earlier books or manuscripts ?

This suggests two phases in the construction of the Basil
Valentine material, one in the closing decades of the 16th century
and another independent construction in the middle of the
17th century. It would be interesting to see what textual analysis
might make of the inevitable divergences that would exist
in two separate constructions.

Has anyone written on this already ?

Adam McLean

Subject: ACADEMY: Basil Valentine's Last will and Testament
From: Jean-Yves Artero
Date: 29 Jan 2006

Here are some answers, but I am afraid that none of them is
breaking news.

There are some XVIIth century manuscripts of this work in Paris
libraries (Mazarine/Arsenal).

One English edition should have appeared in 1658 or so.

In his Last will, the author is clearly referring to Basil Valentine's
Twelve Keys ( 3rd part out of 5).

In the modern French edition of the Testament (1977), Sylvain Matton
did write on the origin of the document (introductory preface).

Best regards,


Subject: ACADEMY: Basil Valentine's Last will and Testament
From: Andrew J. Kettle
Date: 29 Jan 2006

According to EEBO the early date of the English was 1656-57.

Andrew J. Kettle


Here is the index:

Title:Basilius Valentinus friar of the Order of St. Benedict his last will
and testament Which he himself, being alone, hid under a table of marble
behinde the high-altar of the cathedral church, in the imperial city of Erford:
leaving it there to be found of him, whom Gods providence should make
worthy of it. Wherein he sufficiently declareth the wayes he wrought to
obtain the philosophers stone: whereby not onely the leprous bodies of
the impure, and inferior metals are reduced unto the pure and perfect
body of gold and silver, but also all manner of diseases whatsoever are
cured in the bodies of unhealthful men, and kept thereby in perfect health
unto the prolonging of their lives.
Author:Basilius Valentinus.
London : [s.n.],
Date: 1657
Bib Name / Number: Wing (2nd ed., 1994) / B1015
Pages: [24], 175, [9+], 39, [3], 25, [3], 21, [3], 9, [3], 23, [1] p.
Notes: The last will is in five parts and there are other parts. Each part
of the will, and two of the other parts, has separate dated title pages
(dated MDCLVI. [1656]). Register is continuous.
Imperfect as filmed; recto of leaf B and verso of leaf B2, and pages
immediately following page 175 not filmed.
Reproduction of the original in the King's College Library, Cambridge University.
Copy from: King's College (University of Cambridge) Library
UMI Collection / reel number: Wing / 1841:20
Subject: Alchemy -- Early works to 1800

Subject: ACADEMY: Basil Valentine's Last will and Testament
From: José Rodríguez Guerrero
Date: 29 Jan 2006

I have read that Johann Thölde (ca.1565-1624) could be the author of the most
important treatises of this corpus. There are some studies with new elements
to form an opinion of this question. The main tool is a Ph.D. dissertation
by Gerhard Lenz:

H. G. LENZ, (1981), Johann Thölde, Paracelsist und Chymikus Und seine
Beziehungen zu Landgraf Moritz von Hessen-Kassel, Ph.D. dissertation, U. of

There are some paper by Claus Priesner with new data. You can find a short
biography with bibliographic references here:

Johann Thölde studied at the University of Erfurt around 1580 and in the
University of Jena in 1583. At the same time he seems to get in touch with
the monks from the Monastery of St. Peter in Erfurt. He sent a Proces-Buch,
dated may 18, 1594 to Moritz von Hessen-Kassel, now in Kassel,
Universitäts Bibliothek, Ms. chem. 97. This manuscript proves he had a
valuable knowledge of chemical laboratory testing procedures and equipment.
This work contains basically the same text that he printed under the title
Triumphwagen des Antimonii (1604). Karl Sudhoff found a copy, now in
Nuremberg, signed by Tholde not only as editor but as "author".

The Letztes Testament was a posthumous work. The first edition was printed in
Jena in 1626.

Fratris Basilii Valentini Benedicter Ordens. Letztes Testament und
Offenbahrung der him[m]lischen und irrdischen Geheimnüß so in einem Altar
gefunden : in fünff Bücher abgetheilet derer innhalt auff nachfolgendem Blat
zufinden ist. Jena : Eyring, 1626

Claus Priesner has noted this work contains a large number of paragraphs
and comments from Johann Thölde's Haliographia printed in 1603. So you can
see 1603 is the terminus ad quo and 1624 is the terminus ad quem.


José Rodríguez Guerrero