Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 1: Alchemical Library going strong

So, knowing the start of the semester would be a whirlwind, I made a plan for this blog last week: Some Alchemical Goals... and I stuck to the plan! Whoo-hoo!

I really don't know how much time I will have for the daily creates etc. in this #NetNarr adventure, but I am very glad and grateful that it is helping me to fix this ENORMOUS gap in my education. I'm still working on the Atalanta Fugiens emblems one by one (I did the old man and the golden apples yesterday!), and I managed to post some new book here each week in the Library.

Now I just wish I had more time for ALL of it. Working on Atalanta Fugiens is a blast, and now I see how much fun it would also be to transcribe and translate the emblems in these two books by Daniel Stoltzius von Stoltzenberg (not just because his name is so cool, ha ha): there are the emblems for all the alchemists, historical and legendary in the Hortulus Hermeticus (Hermetic Garden) and also the emblems about alchemy in the amazing Viridarium Chymicum (Chemical Pleasure-Garden).

But time is what it is. And there's just not enough of it. But I am going to stick with my plan of at least one emblem a week from Atalanta, plus browsing for great books to read and enjoy later. And I am very glad to share these with the #NetNarr crowd as my contribution to whatever storytelling alchemy will take place in the weeks to come! :-)

And just to add something new, here are two more emblems from the Hortulus, and these emblems also show up in other alchemical collections; I need to find a better scan! Anyway, here are Cleopatra and Medera:

Cleopatra Aegypti Regina
Divinum est de Sapientia Domini, gentibus occultatum.
Cleopatra Queen of Egypt. It is a divine thing from the Wisdom of the Lord, hidden from the peoples (or: the gentiles). But see the passage below: if you change the "de" to "et" then it would read: It is a divine thing, and by the Wisdom of the Lord it is hidden from the peoples.

Medera Foemina Alchymistica
Qui nescit regimen veritatis, ignorat Vas Hermetis.
Medera the Woman Alchemist. He who does not know the rule of truth is ignorant of the Hermetic Vessel.

You can read about Queen Cleopatra the Alchemist at Wikipedia. Medera is another one of the legendary female alchemists, but even more shadowy and mysterious than Cleopatra; she is sometimes associated with Miriam the Alchemist or Mary the Jewess (also: Maria Prophetissima); you can read about Mary/Miriam at Wikipedia. There is a separate emblem in this book about Mary, though; I'll do that one next time.

There is perhaps a clue to the language used here in a passage from Thomas Vaughn in his Aula Lucis where he is writing about Miriam the Alchemist (whom he calls the sister of Moses); he attributes these words to her:
The key of the science is in all bodies, but owing to the shortness of life and the length of the work the Stoics concealed this one only thing. They discovered tingeing elements, leaving instructions thereon, and these also did the philosophers continue to teach, save only concerning the Vessel of Hermes, because the same is Divine, a thing hidden from the Gentiles by the wisdom of God; and those who are ignorant of it know now the regimen of truth, for want of the Hermetic Vessel.
He also gives the Latin which you can see is very close to the language of these two emblems: vas Hermetis... est Divinum et sapientia Domini gentibus occultatum; et illi qui illud ignorant nesciunt regimen veritatis propter vasis hermetis ignorantiam.


  1. I believe I said this to you before, but I am appreciating the curating that you are doing, even if much of it seems over my head. The mix of art and words and Latin ... that's pure alchemy itself.
    See you on the Interwebz

    1. Thanks so much, Kevin! This is just my tentative beginnings, but over time I should be able to "cook this up" in the alchemical kitchen to make it useful for the Latin students and teachers who read my Latin blog. I've got a lot to learn myself before I will be able to sort it out to make it really useful, but I think there are a lot of Latin students out there who would really like this stuff! :-)

  2. I'm not sure exactly what the heck you are doing here, but I definitely feel smarter when ai read your blog. I have a specific interest in Giantess imagery, iconography, etc. of all kinds if any such should cross your path.

    1. Oh, thank you for letting me know that, Sandy! I like being on the lookout for curious things, so if I ever find giantesses, I will be sure to let you know. That sounds like a really cool topic to work on! :-)