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Alchemy discussion forum > Request for information > Help required > Fludd's associate 'Joachim Frizius/Frisius' of Scotland?

Fludd's associate 'Joachim Frizius/Frisius' of Scotland?
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Mike Zuber
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 Posted: Sun Nov 16th, 2014 12:09 pm
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Ever since it's publication, readers (starting with Mersenne and co.) have assumed that the Summum bonum (1629) was written by Robert Fludd, together with whose Sophiae cum Moria certamen it was published. However, as William H. Huffmann has pointed out in Robert Fludd and the End of the Renaissance, pp. 63-64, Fludd clearly took a stance against being identified with Frizius. I've checked the passage from the Clavis philosophiae et alchymiae Fluddanae (1633), pp. 26-7, which convinced me that Huffmann is right.
Saying that he had asked the publisher specifically to not publish Sophiae cum Moria certamen and Summum bonum together, here is some more of Fludd's testimony regarding the author of the latter: 'I say that the author of this book is very well known to me, familiar and tied to me by friendship in no other way than Gassendi to Mersenne; but he is of the Scottish nation' (fateor Autorem illius libri mihi notissimum, familiarem, et, non aliter quam Gassendus Mersenno, amicitia conjunctum; natione vero Scotum esse). Fludd did, however, admit to translating the first part of the Summum bonum into from Scottish into Latin (ideoque Scoticam illam pariter Latinitate donavi). Further down, the name is spelt as Frisius instead of Frizius.
Does anyone have an idea how this Scotsman would have been called in the vernacular? Any suggestions or identifications?

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sun Nov 16th, 2014 12:49 pm
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A Frisius (or Frizius) is a native of Friesland, a Friesian. Assuming that all this stuff about him being Scottish is a blind, could it have been Sixtin Amama?

"Sixtin Amama, Professor of Grammar at Franeker in Friesland, and Robert Fludd, English physician from the University of Oxford, wrote books against Father Mersenne: but the first, recognising his frankness and sincerity, later made friends with him, as one may see from the pleasant and worthy letters he often wrote to him. The other, having abused both his person and his books with insults such as might be expected from a man without Religion, had to his great displeasure seen many learned men take sides with Father Mersenne against him; amongst whom were the Reverend Father François de la Nouë, Parisian, Theologian of our Order of Minims (now Assistant to the Most Reverend Father Thomas Munoz and Spinossa, Corrector General of the same Order) who wrote under the name Sieur Flaminius; also, the Reverend Father Jean Durel of Forez, Theologian of the same Order, under the name Eusebe de St Just; and Monsieur Gassendi, Provost of the Church of Digne in Provence, who refuted by solid arguments the insults, impertinences and false opinions of this enraged and melancholy man."

http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Extras/De_Coste_Mersenne.html

Mike Zuber
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 Posted: Sun Nov 16th, 2014 01:15 pm
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Thanks a lot for this interesting suggestion! I also paused over the 'Frisian' bit, of course, but I think that Fludd is largely being honest (with the possible and vital exception of that mysterious associate's name, of course) and has not yet been convicted of being so proficient in the Frisian tongue as to be able to render it into Latin.
I also checked Pierre Bayle on Sixtin Amama (what a strange name!), and according to Bayle the disagreement between him and Mersenne concerned the interpretation of Genesis rather than things like kabbalah, magic and alchemy, around which the Summum bonum revolves. Amama's relevant publication appears to have been published in 1626 or 1627, rather than 1629, as well.
Their joint mention on the page you cite would appear to be merely coincidental, and I would not expect someone so obviously antagonistic to Fludd to have any information on his friends. Fludd's associate remains elusive!

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sun Nov 16th, 2014 01:35 pm
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Yes, a bit far-fetched certainly, though I think Amama wrote in German.

Schuchard identifies Frizius with William Maxwell.

http://books.google.com/books?id=YvBynNte54YC&pg=PA508&lpg=PA508&dq=fludd%27s+scottish+associate&source=bl&ots=VV8niG2gH0&sig=fDFX7WBEuP4ampegYvVIsMcUlwM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=iO1oVOX_E62HsQTdgYHQAg&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=fludd's%20scottish%20associate&f=false

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2014 05:22 am
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I know a Scot with the surname Frize, which is thought to come from Frisius.  SO that might be the answer, although you'll have to allow for erratic spelling.


Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2014 05:43 am
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Paul Ferguson wrote:
Yes, a bit far-fetched certainly, though I think Amama wrote in German.

Schuchard identifies Frizius with William Maxwell.

http://books.google.com/books?id=YvBynNte54YC&pg=PA508&lpg=PA508&dq=fludd%27s+scottish+associate&source=bl&ots=VV8niG2gH0&sig=fDFX7WBEuP4ampegYvVIsMcUlwM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=iO1oVOX_E62HsQTdgYHQAg&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=fludd's%20scottish%20associate&f=false


Also Rösche: http://books.google.com/books?id=KnN2eV9x_HsC&pg=PA35&dq=%22william+maxwell%22+frisius&hl=en&sa=X&ei=lSJrVMm1E8TgaKyvgpgK&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22william%20maxwell%22%20frisius&f=false

Mike Zuber
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 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2014 06:53 am
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Thanks a lot for these further pointers to both of you!
I really like the Frize suggestion and tried querying a number of similar names at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, with no immediate strike of luck so far.
There seems to be something approacing a scholarly consensus pointing towards William Maxwell, if not establishing this conclusively. Rösche, in fact, points us back to http://www.levity.com/alchemy/h_fludd.html and mentions a letter by Oldenburg to Franck von Franckenau, though based on Franck's publication of another treatise by Maxwell a little later, it would seem that the manuscript in question had to do with magnetism rather than Rosicrucianism, which wasn't so trendy anymore in the 1670s anyway.

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2014 06:59 am
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If you can dig this article out, it gives Frize as an alternative spelling to Frizius:

http://books.google.com/books?ei=_jNrVM-jF8TnauvkgfAK&id=YEI-AQAAMAAJ&dq=frize+alchemy&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=frize

Actually it's available here:

http://www.cedarcitylodge.org/books/44%20THE%20BUILDER%20MAGAZINE%20VOL%20IV%20NO.%20VIII.pdf

Last edited on Tue Nov 18th, 2014 07:03 am by Paul Ferguson

Mike Zuber
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 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2014 07:07 am
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Here it is in two parts (query "Fludd" to find the relevant bit):
1. http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/the_builder_1918_august.htm
2. http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/the_builder_1918_october.htm

I have no idea how reliable these transcriptions are but it seems that the author simply made an educated guess at re-Anglifying 'Frizius' as 'Frize'.

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2014 07:32 am
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Egerton's catalogue mentions a "Frizius de Magia":

http://books.google.com/books?id=ApAIAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA70&lpg=PA70&dq=%22frizius+de+magia%22&source=bl&ots=03gVQ3vxGq&sig=ddzLbPYmkDzb7e5a41-dklL2lqs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=-ztrVKv9HYnSaJPWgNAL&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22frizius%20de%20magia%22&f=false

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2014 04:53 pm
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Mike Zuber wrote:
Thanks a lot for this interesting suggestion! I also paused over the 'Frisian' bit, of course, but I think that Fludd is largely being honest (with the possible and vital exception of that mysterious associate's name, of course) and has not yet been convicted of being so proficient in the Frisian tongue as to be able to render it into Latin.
I also checked Pierre Bayle on Sixtin Amama (what a strange name!), and according to Bayle the disagreement between him and Mersenne concerned the interpretation of Genesis rather than things like kabbalah, magic and alchemy, around which the Summum bonum revolves. Amama's relevant publication appears to have been published in 1626 or 1627, rather than 1629, as well.
Their joint mention on the page you cite would appear to be merely coincidental, and I would not expect someone so obviously antagonistic to Fludd to have any information on his friends. Fludd's associate remains elusive!


More about the curiously-named Amama here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=gMY-AAAAcAAJ&pg=PA253&lpg=PA253&dq=%22sixtin+amama%22&source=bl&ots=kCAY9B1ol3&sig=b236uuVvBK6sWTWtKeaOQYryXSY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fr9rVIvMPMriaOTogIgK&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22sixtin%20amama%22&f=false


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