BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Mellon MS 34
JOHANNES BAPTISTA F-----, compiler
Alchemical Miscellany, in Latin, Italian, and Spanish
North Italy (Genoa?), unsigned, about 1550
34.1 Arnold of Villanova. Perfectum magisterium, or Flos
34.2 Arnold of Villanova. Questiones tam essentiales quam
34.3 Johannes Baptista de (the compiler of this manuscript?).
Alchemy, in Latin.
34.4 Geber. De investigatione magisterii.
34.5 Geber. Testamentum.
34.6 Khalid ibn Yazid. Liber trium verborum.
34.7 Arnold of Villanova. Flos florum.
34.8 John of Rupescissa. Liber de confectione veri lapidis.
34.9 Rigino Danielli. Canzone, in Italian.
34.10 Anonymous. Liber perfecti magisterii.
34.11 John of Rupescissa. De consideratione quinte essentie,
34.12 Anonymous. Vero elisir, in Italian.
34.13 Maumet Philosophus. Alchemy, in Latin, here ascribed to
34.14 Anonymous. Alchemy, in Latin.
34.15 Anonymous. Description of a furnace, in Latin.
34.16 Anonymous. Alchemy, in Latin and Italian.
34.17 Ramon Lull. Epistola accurtationis lapidis.
34.18 Arnold of Villanova (?). Epistola ad regem aragonensem.
34.19 Anonymous. Alchemical procedures, in Latin.
34.20 Johannes Damascenus. Alchemy, in Latin.
34.21 Anonymous. Alchemical procedures, in Spanish and Latin.
34.22 Arnold of Villanova. Novum lumen.
34.23 Arnold of Villanova. Rosarius, or Liber abbreviatus.
34.24 Ortolanus or Ramon Lull. Potestas divitiarum.
34.25 Hermes. Tabula smaragdina, followed by the Commentary
34.26 Johannes Nannius of Viterbo. Lapis minor.
34.27 Antonius de Abbatia. Epistola verissima.
34.28 Anonymous. Lapis volgare, in Italian.
34.29 Anonymous. Lapis hispanus, in Spanish.
34.30 Anonymous. Alchemical procedures, in Latin.
Paper codex in Latin, Italian, and Spanish, 4to., 210 x 140, ff. 155 of 156
originally, numbered 1-156 with slight errors after f. 56 not affecting the
later foliation and with f. 90 omitted, end flyleaf numbered 157 in a late
hand, the foliation used in the description below. In addition to the
numbered leaves, there is a bifolium of original flyleaves at the beginning
of the volume, and an inserted bifolium of modern paper at the end, not
counted in the collation. No signatures, some catchwords at quire-endings.
Collation: (1-14)^^4, (15)^^6, (16-21)^^4, (22-24)^^6, (25)^^2, (26-35)^^4,
(36)^^2, (37)^^4, (38)^^4-1. Written throughout by a single hand in a
sixteenth-century chancery italic, but very roughly and hastily and with many
orthographic peculiarities, moderate standard abbreviation. Single columns
occupying most of the paper surface, usually about 190 x 130, varying numbers
of lines, usually about 30, without ruling or bordering lines, occasionally
in 2 columns where verse occurs. Several papers, one with a watermark of a
crescent moon with cross and letters, another with extended hand, all in
folds and not certainly identified.
BINDING: Inserted, perhaps about 1901 in England, into a binding made up of
late sixteenth- century brown calf covers with single gold rule and central
oval medallion with floral motifs stamped in gold, perhaps Flemish or
English, the backstrip of two pieces of leather crudely sewn onto the covers,
loose in covers.
PROVENANCE: Compiled by Johannes Baptista F-----, who also compiled MSS 35
and 36, which share many characteristics with this codex; bought in France
(?) by "J.K., translator of [Salomon Trissmosin's?] Splendor solis" in 1901;
Denis Duveen, with his inked number 51; Mellon MS 27, acquired with the
Duveen collection. De Ricci-Bond 8 (27).
Front pastedown: [Visible beneath the pastedown are edges of other leaves
also pasted to the inner side of the cover; at top left is Duveen's
characteristic number "51" and the heading:] + | tabulla | [There follows, in
two columns continuing through the recto of the first front flyleaf, a table
of contents of the volume by the original compiler. The verso is blank. The
recto of the second front flyleaf contains the following added title page
within pen rules in a nineteenth-century English hand:] Collectanea
Alchemica. | Alchemical Manuscript, in medieval Latin & Italian. |
[ornament] | Monastic Collection | of | Instructions, | gathered together
from the most esteemed | Works on Alchemy, for preparing the | Philosopher's
Stone, | and transmuting Metals into Gold. | Privately compiled by anonymous
| Monk, working in Alchemy, | in some secret Laboratory.- | circa 1530. |
f. 1r, headline: Perfecti magisterj arnardi | [line 1:] Sias [sic] carissime
quod in omni re quod sub cello [sic] ... [Ends f. 7r, 7:] majis est quem
posit presepi rationem Laus | deo - Finis |
[34.1: Arnold of Villanova, Perfectum magisterium, or Flos florum, TK 1385,
DWS 226.xvi and 226.xviii, but not ending as either of the copies there
quoted. Another copy occurs in MS 36.30.]
f. 7r, 9: quexiti tam pro majori intelligandi materia [?] | perfecti
magisteri per me | Primo queritis si operatio Lapidis fieri potest ex | solis
luminaribus ... [Ends f. 13v, 22:] ad omnem juditium [?] et examinationem deo
| gratias - finis |
[34.2: Arnold of Villanova, Questiones tam essentiales quam accidentales (ad
Bonifacium VIII), TK 1110, DWS 235, printed Ze IV, pp. 544-553. In this copy
the text breaks off incompletely in Chapter IX of the second section and is
very irregular throughout. This copy duplicates that found in MS 36.12.]
f. 14r, headline: tratatus [sic] de medisa [?] per me fatum [sic] | Incipiam
quedam nobilis et veridice ennaratio ex | dictis sapientium alchimie ...
[sic, ends f. 24v, 10:] ... et nota diversitatem- | istorum setem [sic]
mensium= = laus deo = = - | [below, a procedure occupying seven lines,
remainder blank; begins:] ad fassiendum [sic] bonum salem armoniacum
[flourishes] | ...
[34.3: Johannes Baptista de (?), Alchemy, in Latin, apparently by the
compiler of the volume, mentioning the standard names and texts of early
alchemy, plus Nicolas de Marchia on f. 14v. Not identified in the literature
consulted. Part of the author's name is supplied in the copy found in MS
36.11. Followed by an unidentified procedure.]
f. 25r, headline: + | Libri investiganis [sic] geberis | [line 1:] [Paragraph
mark.] investigationem virginis [?] nobilis sientie ex continua | et
frequenti opperis [sic] ... [Ends f. 34v, 22:] invenimus coruptionem
inperfetorum accidentaliter | super venise que materia novam et coruptam
dedit | formam [sic] followed by flourishes.] |
[34.4: Geber, De investigatione magisterii, TK 776, like the version printed
by Manget I, pp. 558-562, except for the very erratic spellings.]
f. 34v, 25: testamentum - geberis - capitulum 1 | Ex omnibus rebus. etiam ex
animalibus pisibus [sic] | ... [Ends f. 40r, 10:] ... coagulatum erit perfeta
medisima [sic; flourishes] |
[34.5: Geber, Testamenhlm, TK 534. This copy varies somewhat from the text
printed in Manget I, pp. 562-564.]
f. 40r, 11: trium verborum [then, added later, but probably by the copyist:]
ralic [? apparently for Khalid] | Lapis iste de quo fit hoc opus ... [Ends f.
44r, 19:] eius quod est beneditum super onnem nomen | de hoc santo dono [sic;
[34.6: Khalid ibn Yazid, Liber trium verborum, TK 810, printed Manget II,
pp. 189-191, with a prefatory chapter; see also Ze V, pp. 186-190, DWS 43.
Another copy occurs in MS 36.34.]
f. 44r, 21: Lapis | Vidi senem unum clarificatum surgentem in manu | sua
librum tencntem... [Ends f. 46v, 20:] ... qui dat sapientiam sapientibus amen
[34.7: Arnold of Villanova, Flosflorum, TK 1696. This text is closely
related to the Visio mystica, which occurs in English translation in MS 31.
See DWS 227, etc. Another copy is found in MS 36-35]
f. 46v, 21: libelum ad confisiendum lapidem [then, apparently added later by
the copyist:] Johannes rupesisa | Acipe sal petra vitriolum romanum anna
[sic] libras 2 ... [Ends f. 53v, 9:] per semina et oportet quod per semina
esset | retitutus finis [sic; flourishes] |
[34.8: John of Rupescissa, Liber de confectione veri lapidis, partly printed
in Gratarolus II, p. 226, and Manget II, p. 80, with differences, otherwise
unidentified. Another copy occurs in MS 35.8.]
f. 53v, 11: [In two columns:] Cantus danielis | el me dileta dire
bre[ve]mente | tuto il sugeto de larte felis | ... [Ends f. 55v, 3, second
column:] ansi e scrito per pura figura | il vaso la materia la misura |
[34.9: Rigin(i)o Danielli, Canzone on the philosophers' stone. A
contemporary copy of the poem occurs in MS 36.8, where a full latinized name
for the author is supplied; the text is close to the later copy which occurs
in MS 53 of this collection. Not identified in the literature consulted.]
f. 55v, 5: perfecti magisterij. | quoniam philosophia interest cognoscere
naturas rey corutibilium et | prinsipia simplissimorum ... [Ends f. 63r, 2:]
... et exinde | mersedem laboris acipies d culpa. finis [?] |
[34.10: Anonymous, Liber perfecti magisterii, unidentified in the literature
consulted. Another copy occurs in MS 36.21.]
f. 62r, 4: aqua divina asiosus [?] | acipe olium tartarum album calsinatum...
[Ends f. 66v, 26:] ... ad primam | naturam sive ad primam materiam nec potest
| tingere nixi [sic] hoc modo et est verissima apertio [?] vero [sic] |
[34.11: John of Rupescissa, De consideratione quinte essentie, extracts in
jumbled order, as in MS 20, ff. 21v-22r, 24r-24v, etc.]
f. 65r, headline: vero elexir | prendi vnsia Vna de luna de capella calsinata
| ... [Ends f. 64v, 5:] perfetissimo ad ogni probasione finis |
[34.12: Anonymous, Vero elisir, in Italian, unidentified in the literature
f. 64v, 6: merlini alegoria | Rex quidam alios cupiens superare potentes se
contra | eos preparavit ad bellum ... [Ends f. 69v, 6:] ... reduri valeat |
sapienter [flourishes] finis [flourishes] |
[34.13: Maumet Philosophus, Alchemy, in Latin, here ascribed to Merlin, TK
1360, close to the version printed by Manget II, pp. 191-192.]
f. 69v, 8: elexir | rem villem et aborendam omnibus notatam a paucis vero |
bene expertam ... [Ends f. 70v, 12:] ponas solem laus deo et beate marie
semper virginis- |
[34.14: Anonymous, Alchemy, in Latin, unidentified in the literature
consulted. The same text is repeated with very slight variants on ff. 143r,
21-144r, 14, of this codex.]
f. 70v, 13: fornelum de quo semper fit mentio ... [Ends line 24:] erit in
.21. diebus aliqui divinitur in orinale per montem | novem [?] [Below is a
small drawing of a furnace and a flask.]
[34.15: Anonymous, Description of a furnace, in Latin, not identified in the
literature consulted.] f. 71r, headline: + | aqua mercurij rubificati | ...
[With this procedure begins a series of longer and shorter recipes,
procedures, and extracts from Rupescissa, De consideratione, in Latin and
Italian, not transcribed, ending on f. 84r, 15, with a quotation from
Johannes (or his nephew Johannes Franciscus?) Picus de Mirandula:] ... et
fonde com borase et lauda deum aprobata | profanata pico mirondule comes
[34.16: Anonymous, Alchemy, in Latin and Italian, extracted from various
sources, not a consecutive text.]
f. 84r, 17: epistola ramondi ad regem aragonum de [two words not read] | Com
ego Iam preteritis diebus multos libros secretos | ... [Ends f. 88r, 21:] In
ista opera certa tibi declaravi. ellige ergo | ex ea Intentum eum et lauda
deum finis - |
[34.17: Ramon Lull, Epistola accurtationis lapidis, TK 296, DWS 250, printed
in Manget I, pp. 863-866. Another copy is in MS 36.22.]
f. 88r, 23: espistola [sic] arnardi ad regem aragonis- | Sias [sic] horum [?]
tu res quod sapientes posuerim In opere multas [?] | res et multos modos ...
[Ends f. 90r, 26:] paulatim agumentando [sic] donec divus [?] lapis sit albus
| et postea rubeus [flourishes] finis- |
[34.18: Arnold of Villanova (?), Epistola ad regem aragonensem, not
identified in the literature consulted. Another copy occurs in MS 36.31.]
f. 90v, headline: + | calsinatio solis | acipe laminam solis ... [There
follows a series of brief procedures ending at the foot of the page; there is
no leaf foliated "91."]
[34.19: Anonymous, Alchemical procedures, in Latin, unidentified.]
f. 92r, headline: + | Johannes damasenus | [line 1:] Sinserum In natura
secretis Iudisium Con dignum sit dignius | secreta per andere ... [? Ends f.
97v, 9:] corpora eoque asimiliam quesito [flourishes] laus deo | [at the end
of the line:] finis - |
[34.20: John of Damascus or Johannes Damascenus, Alchemy, in Latin, not
identified in the literature consulted. Another copy occurs in MS 36.10.]
f. 97v, 10: lapis | I. el dia. et la noche lo dos giontos anse de temar por |
prinsipales y el covenientes ... [This is followed by another recipe in mixed
Latin and Spanish, ending at the foot of the page.]
[34.21: Anonymous, Alchemical procedures, in Spanish and Latin, not
identified in the literature consulted.]
f. 98r, headline: + | novun [miswritten for "novum"] lumen - arnardi | [line
1:] pater domine reverende liset scientiarum igoras studiosque [sic] | ...
[Ends f. 103v, 2:] vos fasias ad optatum pervenire [flourishes] |
[34.22: Arnold of Villanova, Novum lumen, TK 1029, DWS 226, etc. This
version is badly garbled and abbreviated, like the copy found in MS 36.29.]
f. 103v, 3: - Rosarius [flourishes; then added later by the copyist:] arnardi
| [line 1:] Iste nanquam liber vocatus rosarius ex que ex libris- | plurimis
abreviatus est ... [Ends f. 131r, 5:] merearis disi ei esse de numero
sapientium antiquorum | [at the end of the line:] finis | [This is followed
by a table of thirty-two chapters ending f. 131v, 19.]
[34.23: Arnold of Villanova, Rosarius, or Liber abbreviatus, TK 793, DWS
233, etc. This copy is virtually illiterate, as can be seen from the passages
f. 131v, 20: ortulanus super textum [?] Hermetis | In nomine domini amen
Incipit liber ortolani philosophi super textum [?] | hermetis ... [Ends f.
134v, 11:] quod est benedictum In eternum amen [flourishes] |
[34.24: Ortolanus or Ramon Lull, Potestas divitiarum, Part I, commentary on
Hermes, as in Manget I, p. 866 and following.]
f. 134v, 12: Insipit [sic] pars seconda textus hermetis philosophi | patris
alchimistarum de opere magni lapidis et cetera | Verum sine mendasio. certum
verissimum ... [Ends f. 135r, 2:] completum est quod disi [sic] In operatione
solis [flourishes] |
[34.25a: Hermes, Tabula smaragdina, TK 1691, DWS 26, etc.]
f. 135r, 3: espositio textus prediti ab ortolano recepta - | ego divus
ortolanus abortus maritimus noncupatus ... [Ends f. 139v, 8:] ... sit nomen
domini per Infinita | seculla [sic] seculorum amen [flourishes] finis
[34.25b: Ortolanus, Commentary on Hermes' Tabula smaragdina, TK 487, etc.]
f. 139v, 10: [The name following perhaps added later by the copyist:]
Iohannes denani + lapis minor pars prima que debet esse in 76 1 in primo est
pars secunda in carte 76 - | Omnes philosophi uno ore dicont [sic] tratantes
de metallis quod | omne metallum compositum est ex spiritu et corpore - | ...
[Ends f. 144r, 31, with a recipe headed "lapis super es":] ... pro vna super
25 eris purgati | finis. [flourishes] |
[34.26: Johannes Nannius of Viterbo, Lapis minor, which should have been at
f. 76 (but not of this volume as now constituted?). Not identified in the
literature consulted. The author's full name is cited in MS 36.7, where
another and better copy occurs.]
f. 144v, headline: + | epistola antonij de abasia [one or two words not read]
1445- | Epistola Verissima composita per me antonium de abatia - | persbiter
[sic] et per me probata In transmutatione metallorum | ... [Ends f. 147r,
12:] ... melius et perfetius erit completum | ad laudem domini nostri Jesu
Christi et beate marie semper virginis - | [at the end of the line:] finis |
[34.27: Antonius de Abbatia, Epistola verissima, TK 729, T IV, p. 333,
apparently the only known work of this writer, recorded in only one other
manuscript; but another copy occurs in MS 36.24. The date 1445 seemingly has
not been recorded.]
f. 147r, 14: Lapis volgare, semper | Sempre dopo che mi parti da voi ho avuto
nela memoria | la amorevole compagnia ... [The text continues with alchemical
processes, with verse occurring on f. 147v; ends f. 151r, 1:] ... il quale da
bono | praticante si fare In giorni , 40, finis - |
[34.28: Anonymous, Lapis volgare, an unidentified alchemy in Italian.]
f. 151r, 3: Lapis Ispanus - | Como la dama che mova nel ciello che .es. ijxa
del sol | ... [Ends f. 153r, 25:] che moncho [?] las encubres. pues a lo
tales non me | es defendido [? flourishes] finis [flourishes] |
[34.29: Anonymous, Lapis hispanus, an unidentified alchemy in Spanish.
Other copies of this text occur in MSS 35.14 and 36.18.]
f. 153r, 27: medisima lume [?] | Acipe lima fina ... [From this point to the
end of the codex on f. 156v occur shorter procedures in Latin, and two more
are written apparently by the same hand, but in better writing, on the recto
of the end flyleaf, numbered 157 in a more modern hand, this leaf being
[34.30: Anonymous, Alchemical procedures, in Latin, unidentified.]
Inserted flyleaves: [Two conjoined leaves have been inserted into the volume
by the writer of the added title at the beginning; on these leaves are
curious notes about the volume and about alchemy in general, signed at the
verso of the second leaf:] J.K. | translator of "Splendor Solis." | [On the
lower pastedown the same hand has written further:] Note. On 26 September
1909 Brother Kohler | of the Faithist Confraternity, | supposed to be a
clairvoyant, | tried to psychometrize this | MS for me. | He described that
he saw: | "a very thick forest of fir trees; | as he went into it, getting |
darker and darker, until | at last he found himself | standing before a
grave." | I bought the MS of an | antiquarian bookseller | about the time
when | monastic orders were | expelled from Europe under | the association
laws anno | 1901. J.K.
SUMMARY: MS 34 is a very unusual personal compilation containing a large
number of standard texts from medieval alchemy in very late, highly irregular
copies, a few additional unrecorded or unidentified elements, and the
earliest copy in the collection of the Danielli poem which also occurs in MS
52.2 and MS 70. By far the most striking features of the codex are its very
rough writing and peculiar orthography. The copyist avoids the use of letter
"c" and "x" in almost all of the ways in which they normally occur in Latin
and Italian, a trait perhaps suggestive of Spanish or provincial Italian
origin. The manuscript is linked in several ways to MSS 35 and 36, q.v., and
all three were compiled by a single individual, most likely the Johannes
Baptista F----- whose surname has been deliberately suppressed, probably by a
later owner of the volumes. Versions of an alchemical text in Spanish, "Lapis
hispanus," are found in all three of the manuscripts, and many elements in
the three are copied more than once. Most interesting among the unrecorded
texts is perhaps Lapis minor by Johannes Nannius (also identified, e.g., by
the British Museum, as Joannes Annius) of Viterbo (d. 1502), known as an
"editor of forged classical texts," according to GW 2, col. 329, where a list
of his works printed in the fifteenth century is supplied. MSS 34-36 are
comparable in some ways to the other larger collections of traditional,
speculative alchemy in the Mellon collection, but they also include practical
procedures and are unique in combining to embrace nearly eighty separate
items, counting the duplications.