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Thread: What language(s) to learn?

  1. #1
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    What language(s) to learn?

    What's the most used language for good alchemical texts available? Latin or what language would be recommended to learn for me? I'm a total noob in the area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amur View Post
    What's the most used language for good alchemical texts available? Latin or what language would be recommended to learn for me? I'm a total noob in the area.
    German.

    French.

    Italian.

    Latin (?)

    Green

  3. #3
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    Latin obviously yes.

    Greek also can be useful.

    Arab too.

    But, more important than all of these languages : the language of Nature. This one can teach you soooo many things directly from the source.
    Salazius

    http://dartigne.blogspot.com/

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    "I want to transmute everywhere" ~ The Spirit of Alchemy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salazius View Post
    But, more important than all of these languages : the language of Nature. This one can teach you soooo many things directly from the source.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amur View Post
    What's the most used language for good alchemical texts available? Latin or what language would be recommended to learn for me? I'm a total noob in the area.
    For early alchemical texts, Greek and Arabic are essential, since the bulk of the earlier literature on the subject has been preserved in these two languages.

    For later alchemical and "chymical" texts, Latin and German are the two languages that have preserved the bulk of the literature.

  6. #6
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    Hallo
    Fist of all, to me learning languages is a priority if you are serious about (western) alchemy, as there are tons of sources untranslated, and for those that are already translated, being able to take a peek at the original is a big advantage, seeing that the matter is very delicate and difficult to understand.
    My priority list:
    Latin (you could do well just with this, as almost everything of classical alchemy is available in Latin)
    French (many classics of the golden age of alchemy are in French)
    German (a lot of untranslated sources here, from Paracelsus to the golden rosy cross)
    Arabic (there is a wealth of treasures waiting to be discovered here)
    Greek (less urgent to me as the Greek corpus is not that vast - namely the marcianus graecus manuscript- and most of it has been translated in French by Berthelot, and there are some very well done academical translations in the making)
    My 2 cents
    t

  7. #7
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    Thank you for your replies. Think I will begin to learn latin immediately atleast and after that german or french

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    Quote Originally Posted by teofrast40 View Post
    Greek (less urgent to me as the Greek corpus is not that vast - namely the marcianus graecus manuscript- and most of it has been translated in French by Berthelot, and there are some very well done academical translations in the making)
    Unfortunately, Berthelot and his associates were not very interested in the Greek Byzantine alchemical texts, which they thought were too "mystical" (to them "practical alchemy" was pretty much just the texts that contain seemingly clear "recipes", which is absurd; in fact, the majority of these early texts that contain such "recipes" are proto-chymical texts, not alchemical properly) so they left them mostly untranslated. Only a few of these have been translated into modern languages (ex: a Byzantine alchemical poem ascribed to "Theophrastos" was translated into English by C. A. Browne, and some of the "Lessons" by Stephanos were translated into English by Frank Sherwood Taylor.)

  9. #9
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    English is fairly useful too.

    Ghislain

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghislain View Post
    English is fairly useful too.

    Ghislain
    It's useful, but the amount of alchemical and chymical literature available in English is dwarfed in comparison to that available in Latin or German. More alchemical and chymical texts have been written or translated into either of these two languages than any other language.

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