- Aug 31, 2012
My name is Compos Stellae,
I have been studying Alchemy since 2009, and I have a little room for my "games"
I'm italian and, luckly, our libraries have a lot of books translated from latin, deutch, french and english. Aniway, I prefer reading books in their original language
I think Alchemy is a long and beautiful training, and I hope to have interesting conversations with you on books, and practice.
Welcome to the forum. Since you are Italian, please allow me to ask you for a small favor: I actually understand quite a bit of written Italian, but there is an interesting passage in Bonus' "New Pearl of Great Price" where he talks about the methods used by some "puffers" to give silver the density and color of gold that has given me a bit of trouble to fully understand. Unfortunately, the German, Spanish and English translations of this treatise are based on the mutilated "abridged" version by Lacinius, not the complete original by Bonus, so the passage in question does not read quite the same. But the Italian translation is of the complete original Latin text. However, in the Italian translation a couple of parts in the passage in question are couched in a style and vocabulary which I have not been able to fully understand. Allow me to quote it for you (words in bold are the problem ones):
"Altri non sono dell'intenzione della natura nella generazione dell'oro: e perciò nelle minere dell'oro e dei metalli ninno di quelli vi si ritrova. E però perchè tale oro è sofistico, sempre è machiato dall'aere e dal fuoco dell'ignizione e dalle polvori che rodono, con le quali si fa 'I cemento. Overo se egli sostiene tutte queste cose et il cemento, alla guisa di questo, il quale fece già un certo uomo come udito abbiamo, dell'argento ridotto al peso dell'oro: diciamo che non ha mollicia al maleo, nè flessione, nè la agnizione del-l'oro, nè la fusione, nè il suono muto dell'oro, ma del rame o dell'argento: nè beve l'argento vivo facilmente come fa l'oro: nè si possono indorare gli metalli con esso come udito abbiamo da quegli. Dal che si vede chiaramente che cemento non è l'ultimo esamine dell'oro, come comunemente pensano. [Il] non [essere] adunque questo, che altera i metalli imperfetti in colore simile al color d'oro, è potente di fare l'oro: ma quello il quale trasmuta dopo le ultime operazioni... Avenga dunque che la pietra dei filosofi doppo avute le alterazioni trasmuti,.. essa sola farà l'oro: e questo è ragionevole."
And here is my attempted translation:
"Others are not of the intention of nature in the generation of gold: and therefore in the mine of gold and metals none of those is found there. And yet because this gold is sophistical, always tainted by air, and by fire of ignition, and the corroding powders, with which the cement is made. Or indeed if it withstands all these things and the cement, in the manner of this, the which was already made by a certain man, as we have heard, of silver reduced to the weight (i.e. density) of gold: we say that it has not mollicia (?) to maleo (?), or bending, nor the ignition of gold, nor the fusion, nor the muted sound of gold, but that of copper or silver: neither does it drink quicksilver as easily as does gold, nor can the metals be aureated with it, as we heard from those. From which it is clearly seen that the cement is not the ultimate examination of gold, as is commonly thought. Not being therefore this (?), that which alters imperfect metals in color similar to the color of gold is able to make gold: but that which transmutes after the final operations… Therefore it follows that the stone of the philosophers after due alterations transmutes… it alone will make gold: and this is reasonable."
I am assuming that "mollicia" and "maleo" have to do with "malleability". So he seems to be saying that this alleged artificial gold does not have the malleability of real gold. But what is "[Il] non [essere] adunque questo"? It is mainly because of this phrase that I can't quite make full sense of what he is saying here. He seems to be saying that it does not follow that because some things can give silver the color of gold that they will actually make gold.
This is a very interesting passage that gives a death-blow to the fantasies of all those people who keep claiming that Bonus was not interested in "practical alchemy" but just speculations and theories, or that he was some "mystic" not interested at all in making artificial precious metals, or whatever nonsense ideas many people keep trying to project on a multitude of alchemists out of their whims & fancies just because they don't want to accept the plain and simple fact that alchemy is, and always has been, about the Philosophers' Stone and transmutation. It is also quite clear that far from being an ignorant or ingenuous fellow easily fooled by anything that "glitters", Bonus was in fact so reluctant to accept transmutation other than by means of the Philosophers' Stone that he even denies that operators who have succeeded in giving silver both the density and color of gold, and also make it able to resist assaying tests like cementation, have actually made real gold. This attitude is in fact quite typical of the alchemists. Very different from the attitude we see later on among "chymists" like Glauber, or Becher, or Kunckel, who accept a great deal of different transmutation methods.