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alchemyd
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 Posted: Fri Apr 17th, 2009 12:31 pm
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Much has been made by the 20th century speculative writers about 'Archemy' as opposed to 'Alchemy'.  Such writers suggest that 'Archemy' was some perhaps earlier and certainly more substantial body of knowledge. These writers then suggest that the more base form of chemical knowledge and transmutatory deception 'Alchemy', then overwhelmed and eliminated the pure science of 'Archemy'.  Such a view is seems founded on a number of mistakes and deceptions.

'Archemy' or rather the word 'Archimastry' appears in Norton' Ordinal in 1477.
Mastrye full merveylous and Archimastrye Is the tincture of holi Alkimi.
There it seems to be a poetic device echoing 'mastrye'.  It, however, makes its most significant appearance in the works of Pantheus in the early 16th century.

Peter Forshaw in a paper read to SHAC makes the point that Pantheus' first book the Ars transmutationis  (1519) was published with a permit from the Venetian ruling Council of Ten and an edict of Pope Leo X, giving Pantheus the exclusive right of printing the work in the papal states. Forshaw notes that it is surprising that the Council sanctioned this publication, as in 1488 the Council became so concerned about counterfeiting and adulteration of the currency that they prohibited the practice of alchemy.

Forshaw futher indicated that by the time of his second publication in 1530, Pantheus decided no  longer  to profess practicing illicit and duplicitious alchemy, but its very opposite, the art of Voarchadumia, which he presents as a ‘Cabala of Metals’. This he also calls 'archemia' claiming it as the very opposite of alchemy. A neat device for deflecting possible criticism.

Voarchadumia contra alchemiam ars distincta ab Archemia et Sophia

So could it be that this term 'archemy' arose as a device for Pantheus to protect himself again any negative response from the authorities, and that the use of this idea by 20th century writers is entirely based on a misunderstanding?

 

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Fri Apr 17th, 2009 03:12 pm
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alchemyd wrote:




Peter Forshaw in a paper read to SHAC makes the point that Pantheus' first book the Ars transmutationis  (1519) was published with a permit from the Venetian ruling Council of Ten and an edict of Pope Leo X, giving Pantheus the exclusive right of printing the work in the papal states. Forshaw notes that it is surprising that the Council sanctioned this publication...
 


Surely with the pro-alchemy Pope Leo X breathing down their necks they had no alternative?

Alexander Guthrie Stewart
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 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 09:12 am
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My EETS copy of the Ordinal says

"archymastrie n. supreme accomplishment, supreme mastery"

 

Which I think makes more sense. 

Do you have any actual writings by these 20th century people making claims involving Archemy- do they just state it without any evidence in the form of quotations or such that it is a superior form of alchemy?

Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 04:29 pm
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In a study about Les Prosateurs du XVIe siècle (Paris, 1939, p.185), J. Vianey place a footnote at the first mention of the terms alquemistes and alquemie in the excerpt that he gives of Bonaventure des Périers’ "Les nouvelles récréations et joyeux devis" (Rouen, 1598) :

« Formes du mot, d’après Huguet : Alquemistes, alcmiste (Ronsard, H.Estienne) ; Alchumiste (Calvin) ; Archimiste (Marot) ; Alchumie (Du Bellay) ; Archemie (Montaigne).»

We find this mention of 'Archemie' in his (Montaigne's) travels accounts by Querlon (Rome, 1774) :

"Le mesme jour nous vismes un palais du Duc, où il prant plesir à besouigner lui mesme, à contrefaire des pierres orientales & labourer le cristal: car il est Prince souingneur un peu de l’Archemie..."

http://humanities.uchicago.edu/orgs/montaigne/h/lib/JV1.PDF

Last edited on Mon Apr 20th, 2009 04:34 pm by Carl Lavoie

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Mon Apr 20th, 2009 10:21 pm
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1. The earliest mention I can find is 1447:

"ung des habilles hommes du monde, nommé Baratier, qui estoit le meilleur Arquemien que on peust trouver, et avecques faisoit escuz d'Arquemie les plus beaulx que on pourroit dire"

("one of the world's skilful men, Baratier by name, who was the best Archemist you could find, and who made the most beautiful archemical coins")

TLFI (Arch. nat., JJ 178, no 168, année 1447 ds Du Cange s.v. arquemia).

2. For Panteo, alchemy seemed to mean the production of objects that only looked like gold but weren't, whereas archemy produced the real thing through and through.

3. Benedetto Varchi's 1544 volume 'Questione sull'alchimia', in which he seems to use the terms 'alchemy' and 'archemy' synonymously, is available as a free download in Domenico Moreni's 1827 edition from Google Books:

http://books.google.com/books?id=NwLRbvhA2EYC

4. For Fulcanelli :X archemy seemed to be a sort of despiritualized alchemy.

5. There is also the following book by Patrick Rivière, which I haven't read:

http://www.amazon.fr/Alchimie-archimie-Particuliers-teintures-pratiques/dp/2914238088

6. I wonder if there was a conscious or subconscious etymological motive behind preferring the term archemy to alchemy, as the Arabic overtones of the latter are presumably absent from the former?

7. On a purely random note, in Venetian dialect the word archimìa [sic] means alchemy, while archìmia [sic] means cunning or acumen.

8. I am about to start translating Panteo's Voarchadumia, and this process may shed more light(?) on this topic. In the meantime, has anyone read the following book by Arnold Waldstein (pseudonym?), in which he refers to a secret society called the Voarchadumia to which Ripley is alleged to have belonged:

http://cgi.ebay.fr/L'ALCHIMIE-.-ARNOLD-WALDSTEIN-._W0QQitemZ230332236313QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20090320?IMSfp=TL090320135002r29267

Is this a 'serious' book?

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Last edited on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 12:22 am by Paul Ferguson

Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 04:29 am
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Not to veer away from the topic of Archemy/Voarchadumia, but regarding the ‘legalisation’ of the chrysopée in the Venetian Republic of the XVIth century, Thorndike (V, 548-549) makes an interesting allusion to the ambivalent attitude of the Ten :

“Falloppia, in a course of lectures on metals and minerals which he completed at Padua on July 20, 1557, mentioned a druggist of Treviso who had made gold from quicksilver in the presence of the college and senate of Venice. In consequence his fame had spread all over Italy, and the incident was cited as an experimental proof of the truth of transmutation.”  [Footnote: It was still so cited in 1604 by Hoghelande, Historiae aliquot transmutationis . . ., Cologne, 1604, p. 27: “Experimentum pharmacarii Tarvisini qui coram Venetae Reipublicae duce et senatoribus aliqot argentums vivum in aurum purum convertit attestante Hieronimo Cardano et aliis pluribus.”]

“[...] It is of importance as showing the government of the very city which had issued a decree against alchemy dabbling in the art itself.” [Another footnote: Similarly Hoghelande, op. cit., p. 24, says that gold does not displease the wise rulers of Venice, no matter whence it is imported, and that the Venetian minters are forbidden by strict decree of the senate to inquire whether it was made by chemical artifice. But this may be a misinterpretation of the Venetian decree against alchemy.]

 

Last edited on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 04:30 am by Carl Lavoie

Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 06:00 pm
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...And about the ‘Cabala of metals’, I want to point out a reference made in a paper by Allen G. Debus, "French alchemy in the early Enlightenment", in Esotérisme, gnoses & imaginaire symbolique: mélanges offerts Antoine Faivre (2001) , p.48 :

"For many the wonders of alchemy were associated with medecine and the mysteries of the Cabala. In his Révélations Cabalistiques d’une Medecine Universelle [...Tirée du Vin : Avec une Manière d’extraire le Sel de rosée : Et une Dissertation sur les Lampes sepulchrales, 1735, p. 4], Sieur Gosset, a physician of Amiens, argued for a cabalistic chemistry."

It would be worthwhile to verify if Gosset was a ‘Voarchadumist’ (as in: 'a reader of Pantheo'). To see if Voarchadumia was a still-born theory, or if it had a ‘legacy’ (down to the XVIIIth century?!). Or at least some partisans, like the phlogistique had.

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 06:28 pm
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Carl Lavoie wrote:
...And about the ‘Cabala of metals’, I want to point out a reference made in a paper by Allen G. Debus, "French alchemy in the early Enlightenment", in Esotérisme, gnoses & imaginaire symbolique: mélanges offerts Antoine Faivre (2001) , p.48 :

"For many the wonders of alchemy were associated with medecine and the mysteries of the Cabala. In his Révélations Cabalistiques d’une Medecine Universelle [...Tirée du Vin : Avec une Manière d’extraire le Sel de rosée : Et une Dissertation sur les Lampes sepulchrales, 1735, p. 4], Sieur Gosset, a physician of Amiens, argued for a cabalistic chemistry."

It would be worthwhile to verify if Gosset was a ‘Voarchadumist’ (as in: 'a reader of Pantheo'). To see if Voarchadumia was a still-born theory, or if it had a ‘legacy’ (down to the XVIIIth century?!). Or at least some partisans, like the phlogistique had.


This is one reason why I am interested in the possibility of a secret society based on the Voarchadumia:

"The organisation was forbidden in Venice in 1488. Their doctrine was nevertheless published in 1530, in Venice, under the signature of another Venetian priest, Johannes Augustinus Pantheus. By then, the Voarchadumia had made their way across the Alps, finding a new home in France. It is in France that the Hypnerotomachia would inspire Nicolas Poussin, Charles de Perrault, Charles Nodier [:?] and Gérard de Nerval [:?], characters who have become embroiled in the mystery of Rennes-le-Château [:X], if only because each was a mystic in search of esoteric truths, a voyage which passed by the Hypnerotomachia."

http://www.philipcoppens.com/hypnerotomachia.html

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Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 07:11 pm
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 Sounds to me like a pastiche (of a fiction, at that); seems like someone is riding the wave of The Holy Blood & the Holy Grail, with the secret society  as an avatar of the 'Priory of Sion'(even sharing members in their lineages); that type of litterature. 

Still, I'll keep looking.

Last edited on Tue Apr 21st, 2009 11:55 pm by Carl Lavoie

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 09:02 am
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Carl Lavoie wrote:
 Sounds to me like a pastiche (of a fiction, at that); seems like someone is riding the wave of The Holy Blood & the Holy Grail, with the secret society  as an avatar of the 'Priory of Sion'(even sharing members in their lineages); that type of litterature. 


Exactly!

The Hypnerotomachia can be inspected here: http://mitpress.mit.edu/e-books/HP/index.htm

A partial English translation was made in 1592, and is available here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18459

Joscelyn Godwin recently made the first complete translation into English:
http://www.thamesandhudsonusa.com/new/spring03/551104.htm

I have no idea whether the work has any alchemical significance.

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Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 11:27 am
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Sherwood Taylor's paper about Panteo, excerpted at the link below, certainly would seem to be worthy of study:

http://www.newcomen.com/excerpts/metallurgy/index.htm

"The author of this paper describes 'a very curious book of great rarity and known to few', the Voarchadumia of Giovanni Agostino Pantheo, published in 1530 at Venice. This book contains eleven superb plates illustrating current metallurgical practices, also interesting practical recipes - amongst all the obscure alchemical material."

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Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 04:49 pm
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The Sieur Gosset, in his book Révélations Cabalistiques (1735) in which he apparently "argued for a cabalistic chemistry" also mention the ever-burning lamps.

Have you read any mention of it while sifting through Archemical/Voarcadumial texts?

Is it something that is part of the program of 'the pure science of archemy'?  Because the process & practica given to make the 'Everburning Lights' according to Trithème have a pretty scientific (technical, repeatable) ring to it. Rather archemical, I would say.

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/everbrn.html

And Montaigne's travel accounts was mentionning his meeting, in Florence, of a noble whose practice of 'Archemie' was to work on making gems (strass?) and to triturate crystals, but not a word on gold-making. Is it to link with Samuel Norton's posthumously printed work (1630) dealing with the confection of pearls, gemstones and escarboucles (possible link with the ever-burning lights)?


Methamorphosis Lapidum Ignobillium In Gemmas Quasdam Pretiosas, Seu Modus Transformandi Perlas parvas, et minutulas, in magnas & nobiles ; ac etiam construendi Carbonculos artificiales, aliosque lapides pretiosos, naturalibus praestantiores, Olim à Samuele Nortono Bristollensi inchoatus : nunc vero editus dilligentia Edmundi Deani Angli Med. D Eboracensis medici, auctior & perfectior […] Francofurti […] Anno, 1630.
.

Last edited on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 07:02 pm by Carl Lavoie

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 08:04 pm
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Carl Lavoie wrote:
The Sieur Gosset, in his book Révélations Cabalistiques (1735) in which he apparently "argued for a cabalistic chemistry" also mention the ever-burning lamps.

Have you read any mention of it while sifting through Archemical/Voarcadumial texts?

Is it something that is part of the program of 'the pure science of archemy'?  Because the process & practica given to make the 'Everburning Lights' according to Trithème have a pretty scientific (technical, repeatable) ring to it. Rather archemical, I would say.

http://www.levity.com/alchemy/everbrn.html

And Montaigne's travel accounts was mentionning his meeting, in Florence, of a noble whose practice of 'Archemie' was to work on making gems (strass?) and to triturate crystals, but not a word on gold-making. Is it to link with Samuel Norton's posthumously printed work (1630) dealing with the confection of pearls, gemstones and escarboucles (possible link with the ever-burning lights)?


Methamorphosis Lapidum Ignobillium In Gemmas Quasdam Pretiosas, Seu Modus Transformandi Perlas parvas, et minutulas, in magnas & nobiles ; ac etiam construendi Carbonculos artificiales, aliosque lapides pretiosos, naturalibus praestantiores, Olim à Samuele Nortono Bristollensi inchoatus : nunc vero editus dilligentia Edmundi Deani Angli Med. D Eboracensis medici, auctior & perfectior […] Francofurti […] Anno, 1630.
.



Landais' French Dictionary of 1834 defines 'archimie' as:

'art de faire de l'or et de l'argent. L'archimie diffère de l'alchimie en ce qu'elle occupe en général de la transmutation des métaux imparfaits en d'autres plus parfaits'

which probably raises more questions than it answers, but which seems to suggest that archemy is about removing flaws and impurities from metals, which ties in with your comment about gemstones, as presumably removing flaws from them substantially increases their value, and most gemstones, apart from things like amber and coral, have a mineral/metallic composition. I believe, for example, that rubies can be 'improved' in this way by injecting them with leaded glass.

De Porquet's French-English Dictionary of 1844 defines 'archimie' simply as the 'chemical analysis of metals'.

The word would seem to have entered the French language as a technical term by that stage and to have lost its occult overtones.

Regarding ever-burning lamps, there does not seem to be anything about them in Panteo, but they were of course part of the alchemical enterprise, cf. the book about the "Man in the Fur Cap" published by Van Egmont in 1771:

http://www.vialibri.net/item_pg/3633022-1771-the-secret-the-eternally-burning-lamp-historie-van-den-man.htm

"An alchemist in Germany had invented an eternally burning lamp. To keep this a secret, the alchemist hid the lamp in a cellar under his house, and built a kind of robot-man which was put on a chair at a table under the lamp with a club in its hand. And when people came down into the cellar after the alchemist had died, this robot-man, wearing a fur-cap, was set in motion as soon as people's feet touched the last steps and while they came near the robot-man threatened them and in the end proceeded to crush the lamp with his club, so destroying the alchemist's secret."

The 'ner tamid', or eternal lamp, found in synagogues, provides a link with this, and may be relevant to archemy as I suspect that Panteo was heavily involved with the Jewish community in Venice.

As you will have gathered, my ideas at this stage are very confused - more alchemical than archemical as it were - but perhaps will become clearer when I start tackling the Panteo, which is no easy read.

Can you supply a more precise reference to the "Montaigne in Florence" episode? Who was the nobleman?

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Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 10:09 pm
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A Voarchadumia font as used by Panteo is available as a free download from this site, along with other 'witchy alphabets':

http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/2763/witchy/alphabets.html

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 10:22 pm
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If you have 44,000 dollars to spare there is a copy of the Panteo available:

http://www.bibliopoly-search.com/servlets/server?_config_=bibliopoly&_action_=MainFrameFromStaticPages&_display_action_=DisplayBook&_book_id_=8395477&_price_=44000.00&_currency_=USD&_language_=en

"‘It seems probable that, after the publication of [the Ars transmutationis metallicae], someone called to the attention of its author or the papal court or the Venetian government the existence of a papal decretal and a decree of Venice against alchemists. For in 1530 Pantheus brought out with the same printer at Venice a book entitled Voarchadumia … As [the] title suggests, he now professed to be writing not on alchemy but on Voarchadumia, an art distinct from alchemy. This Voarchadumia he represented as true wisdom, the very opposite of alchemy, a sort of “cabala of metals”, handed down from Tubal Cain through the Chaldeans and Indians … The work opens with prefaces to the doge and to the papal legate. Yet he repeats most of his work of 1518 in the course of the Voarchadumia. The volume also includes woodcuts of alchemical furnaces and apparatus and a bird’s-eye view of Venice and its surroundings’ (Thorndike, A history of magic and experimental science V, pp. 539–40)"

This seems the likeliest explanation for the appearance of the "Voarchadumia". Presumably the "Ars transmutationis" had slipped through the censorship net.

Last edited on Wed Apr 22nd, 2009 10:28 pm by Paul Ferguson


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