Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Chemica Curiosa

Swiss Doctor, writer and collector Jean-Jacques Manget (1652-1742) published works on the Europe black plague, heart rhythm disturbances and anatomy.

He also brought out one of the most complete compilations of alchemical writings ever published. Manget's Bibliotheca Curiosa Chemica from 1702 collected 140 alchemical treatises in 2 massive volumes and also presented illustrations from these rare or lost original hermetic texts. Authors included Athanasius Kircher, Roger Bacon, Georg Agricola and Nicholas Flamel.

I don't know whether the anonymous engravings above are original for Manget's books or copies from the compiled texts. There are only fragmentary mentions online and as usual, nothing here should be taken as authoritative. In some instances this work is referred to as Liber Mutus, a famous image-only alchemistry text from the 17th century. Actually, Liber Mutus is included in Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa and all but the first image above do in fact come from there.

The full title --

Bibliotheca chemica curiosa, seu rerum ad alchemiam pertinentium thesaurus instructissimus: quo non tantum Artis Auriferæ, ac scriptorum in ea nobiliorum historia traditur; lapidis veritas argumentis & experimentis innumeris, immo & juris consultorum judiciis evincitur; termini obscuriores explicantur; cautiones contra impostores, & difficultates in tinctura universali conficienda occurrentes, declarantur: Verum etiam tractatus omnes virorum celebriorum, qui in magno sudarunt elixyre, quique ab ipso Hermete, ut dicitur, Trismegisto, ad nostra usque tempora de Chrysopoæ scripserunt, cum præcipuis suis commentariis, concinno ordine dispositi exhibentur. Ad quorum omnium illustrationem additæ sunt quamplurimæ figuræ æneæ.

Trivia: In the antimony entry at wikipedia we are told that Manget's text outlines how the 15th century alchemical manuscripts of the either mythical or famous Basil Valentine were found. Allegedly they were enclosed in an Abbey pillar for a century and were rediscovered when the pillar was struck by a thunder bolt. Or so the story goes..


João Villalobos said...

Impressive blog! An interesting mix this one: Alchemy, Rare books, Budhism and History.
I will become a regular reader. Congratulations.

Elron said...

I love this stuff ... I can't get enough of old manuscripts and maps. This one was fascinating, but I also loved the Islamic script posts below ... wonderful stuff :)

Unknown said...

i'll like to know more from the bock
tabula smaragdina!
i can't find this bock

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