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JDP
01-28-2014, 04:28 PM
So, have you studied the Pantheu's Voarchadumia Leo? Will you give us any more details about that particular?
Do we get only a small amount of nascent gold after the cementation or the whole substance of silver transform itself to the nascent gold state?

There is an English translation of that book, it has been available for a couple of years:

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/bookshop/mohs39.html

If you read it, you will find that, some translation mistakes aside, the text is largely incoherent. Fulcanelli's assessment of this text is simply untenable. Not only are his claims about "archemy" or "voarchadumia" incorrect (Pantheus, the author on whom Fulcanelli is basing such terminology on, was actually fiercely opposed to alchemy; he condemns it as pure falsity, and instead commends "archemy" and "voarchadumia" as real), but even the part about the "gold of the two cementations" is anything but clear, unlike the relative clearness with which Fulcanelli describes such cementation procedures (Fulcanelli is actually basing his statements on the subject of special cementations from a couple of other texts, not the very obscure statements about it in the Voarchadumia.) A.E. Waite made a much better assessment of what this book is like when he wrote this brief review of it:


One is a treatise by Joannes Augustinus Pantheus, a Venetian priest, entitled Ars et Theoria Transmutationis Metallicce, cum Voarchadumia Proportionibus, numeris et iconibus rei accomodis illustrata. It was published at Venice in April 1530. Following the author himself, the Hermetic Lexicons interpret Voarchadumia, (a) as "a liberal art gifted with the virtues of occult science," a definition which leaves something to be desired; (b) as the Kabalistic science of metals. It is further a species of alchemical metallurgy, concerning "auriferous metallic veins ;" it explains "the intrinsic fixed form and the natural yellow colour of gold; it distinguishes the heterogeneous, combustible, volatile parts, and exhibits how the same may be conducted to the grade of perfection. It defines, lastly, the Matter of the work, "a heavy, corporeal, fixed, fusible, ductile, tinged, rarefied and arcane substance of Quicksilver or Mercury, and of an incombustible Metallic Sulphur, educed and transmuted into true gold by means of cementation." It will be seen from this specimen of style that the work is very nearly unreadable, even for an alchemical treatise, and it will be enough for the present purpose to note the fact of its existence and to observe that it seeks to throw light on the mysteries of transmutation by calculations of Gematria. It exercised no influence, and no importance can be reasonably ascribed to it.http://books.google.com/books?id=wfs0AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA458&lpg=PA458&dq=voarchadumia+waite&source=bl&ots=KTpE23qLbG&sig=1eFvyGY3yCM6l1Dw5iHFFcmMxlQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=K9PnUuGTOpHNsQSC9IDwCQ&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=voarchadumia%20waite&f=false

There are several much better and clearer examples of literature on the subject of special cementations intended for the production of gold from silver.

teofrast40
02-04-2014, 10:26 PM
It is funny how the deprecative description of Voarchadumia by A.E. Waite sounds inappropriate today, as this text happens to be considered by the most recent scholarship a true milestone in the history of alchemy.

Also you should consider that the use of the term "alchemy" as we intend it today is quite recent. Many of the authors that today we define as alchemists used the term alchemy in a disparaging sense (exactly as Pantheus did), and rather would call themselves "chymists".

JDP
02-05-2014, 03:25 PM
It is funny how the deprecative description of Voarchadumia by A.E. Waite sounds inappropriate today, as this text happens to be considered by the most recent scholarship a true milestone in the history of alchemy.

Not at all, modern scholarship pretty much shares Waite's opinion. Anyone who has read that work will tell you it's barely comprehensible. The few modern scholars interested in it are mostly the ones who research John Dee, just because he happens to have been interested in its strange alphabets. Pantheus and his claims never had any major impact. Barely any alchemical and chymical writers from the 16th to the 18th centuries bothers to even mention him.


Also you should consider that the use of the term "alchemy" as we intend it today is quite recent. Many of the authors that today we define as alchemists used the term alchemy in a disparaging sense (exactly as Pantheus did), and rather would call themselves "chymists".

An examination of the literature on the subject starting from Islamic times, when the Arabic prefix "al" was added to the Greek term "chemia", will easily show you that the most common word for this "art" was "alchemy". Then in later centuries, as the word "alchemy" and "alchemist" began to acquire some negative connotations among some writers (who were mostly not alchemists themselves, like Dante, for example), you have a few exceptions popping up, like Pantheus or Maier, who prefer to use other terms ("archemy", "voarchadumia", "chymia") to try to distance themselves from those negative views, but most writers on the subject still used the word "alchemy" and "alchemist".

teofrast40
02-05-2014, 10:33 PM
Pantheus and his claims never had any major impact. Barely any alchemical and chymical writers from the 16th to the 18th centuries bothers to even mention him.
I wonder how can you say this of an author famous enough to be included in the Theatrum Chemicum (that is, THE collection of alchemical sources for at least two centuries), whose works circulated in the most early golden rosy-cross, and today identified as the starter of a trend of "cabalchemy" that will find its apogee in Khunrath's Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae (read the article of Peter J. Forshaw inthe last monographic issue of Ambix about that).
I don't know what you mean with the expression modern scholarship, but history of alchemy made some giant steps in the last twenty years and I would not consider E.A. Waite exactly a trustful commentator today.


An examination of the literature on the subject starting from Islamic times, when the Arabic prefix "al" was added to the Greek term "chemia", will easily show you that the most common word for this "art" was "alchemy". Then in later centuries, as the word "alchemy" and "alchemist" began to acquire some negative connotations among some writers (who were mostly not alchemists themselves, like Dante, for example), you have a few exceptions popping up, like Pantheus or Maier, who prefer to use other terms ("archemy", "voarchadumia", "chymia") to try to distance themselves from those negative views, but most writers on the subject still used the word "alchemy" and "alchemist".
Our perception of alchemy has been heavily distorted firstly by the repudiation of incipient chemistry and then by 19th century's occultism. I am not saying that alchemy was not used to mean the Art, but boundaries were not as rigid as today, and disparaging use of the term was not that uncommon also in earlier sources.

BTW I read Voarchadumia (the original edition, not a translation), and I did not find it more obscure than any other alchemical text. I find his take on opticalisation of alchemy quite intriguing.
My best wishes

JDP
02-06-2014, 03:35 PM
I wonder how can you say this of an author famous enough to be included in the Theatrum Chemicum (that is, THE collection of alchemical sources for at least two centuries), whose works circulated in the most early golden rosy-cross, and today identified as the starter of a trend of "cabalchemy" that will find its apogee in Khunrath's Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae (read the article of Peter J. Forshaw inthe last monographic issue of Ambix about that).

The Theatrum Chemicum wasn't exactly "picky" when it came to selecting what to publish. The compilers obviously published as much as they could get their hands on. There's quite a bit of obscure and hardly useful texts printed in that collection. Pantheus' text is one of them.

Khunrath is a whole different thing, though. Even though he also indulges in similar "cabalistic" obscurities as Pantheus, his works do have value (when he drops the "mystical" act and actually writes in a more coherent and rational manner, something that Pantheus rarely does) and were really influential (Michael Maier, for example, even modeled some of his books on Khunrath's.)


I don't know what you mean with the expression modern scholarship, but history of alchemy made some giant steps in the last twenty years and I would not consider E.A. Waite exactly a trustful commentator today.

I mean exactly the same modern historians you do. They usually only comment on whatever cultural influence these texts had. From the point of view of someone experimentally investigating the issue of transmutation, however, things take a different perspective. The Voarchadumia is pretty much a useless text in this department. You will basically learn nothing that will lead to any kind of experimental results. A. E. Waite's assessment of it as "nearly unreadable" is quite accurate. You can even see how the modern English translator struggled with this text and its obscure and vague statements.


Our perception of alchemy has been heavily distorted firstly by the repudiation of incipient chemistry and then by 19th century's occultism. I am not saying that alchemy was not used to mean the Art, but boundaries were not as rigid as today, and disparaging use of the term was not that uncommon also in earlier sources.

BTW I read Voarchadumia (the original edition, not a translation), and I did not find it more obscure than any other alchemical text. I find his take on opticalisation of alchemy quite intriguing.
My best wishes

Compare Pantheus' text with typical alchemical treatises of centuries before, say, Ibn Umail's texts, for example, and you will see the abysmal difference right away. Though Ibn Umail is somewhat obscure on a few points (mostly regarding the matters to begin the operations with), most of his comments and arguments are coherent and clear enough to be readily followed and understood. Compare now even typical alchemical treatises more recent than Pantheus' text, like, for example, those of Khunrath or Maier, and, despite the use of obscurities, they still are way more coherent and comprehensible.

But to get back to a very important point: Pantheus did not consider himself an "alchemist", he was quite clearly against "alchemy" (or rather what he thinks "alchemy" and "alchemists" were, which from his derogatory comments seem rather like the much maligned "puffers", "multipliers", "sophists", etc. of proper alchemical literature, ironically.) I agree with his self-assessment: he was certainly not an "alchemist". He did not even claim he knew how to make the Philosophers' Stone, so his book has nothing to do with this subject. That immediately disqualifies him as such, even if he had considered himself an "alchemist".