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Thread: Michael Maier's symbola aureae mensae

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    Michael Maier's symbola aureae mensae

    Anyone know where I can get a copy of this in English? the images from that work are very popular and can be found all-over the internet but I cannot find the text.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luxus View Post
    Anyone know where I can get a copy of this in English? the images from that work are very popular and can be found all-over the internet but I cannot find the text.
    There is no English translation of it, sadly. But for those who can understand French, there is an excellent French translation, published by Beya Editions:

    http://www.beyaeditions.com/livre18.htm

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    It is also available online in Latin. I would suggest to learn Latin... which may sound absurd, but it's not.
    Latin is the EASIEST language to learn and with 2 lessons per week, it would take maybe 2 years to be already able to read ANY book in Latin (this same thing is not true for Spanish, English, German, French, etc).

    If Latin worked as a lingua franca for so many centuries it is because of political reasons, religious reasons, etc.... but also because it's very easy to learn how to read it.
    https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_87sQCxPqwrgC

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    It is also available online in Latin. I would suggest to learn Latin... which may sound absurd, but it's not.
    Latin is the EASIEST language to learn and with 2 lessons per week, it would take maybe 2 years to be already able to read ANY book in Latin (this same thing is not true for Spanish, English, German, French, etc).

    If Latin worked as a lingua franca for so many centuries it is because of political reasons, religious reasons, etc.... but also because it's very easy to learn how to read it.
    https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_87sQCxPqwrgC
    That's not true by any means. For example, Latin has all those annoying as hell declensions that the vernacular languages do not have, and which require a mind with a good memory to retain. Latin is quite tough to learn. Tell me about it, I have been struggling with it for years, and I can only easily understand the Latin writers who write in a plain and straightforward manner (like, for example, the ones who write in the manner of "recipes" or plain directions), because as soon as a Latin writer starts getting more "poetic" or complex in his style of exposition it gets much more difficult to try to understand it. There are several reasons why Latin eventually became a "dead" language. One of them being that it is too difficult and cumbersome compared to most of the vernaculars.

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    If I can get it in digital format I could use an online translator, wouldn't be perfect but better then nothing I guess.
    When I searched I seen it available in Latin, French and German.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    That's not true by any means. For example, Latin has all those annoying as hell declensions that the vernacular languages do not have, and which require a mind with a good memory to retain. Latin is quite tough to learn. Tell me about it, I have been struggling with it for years, and I can only easily understand the Latin writers who write in a plain and straightforward manner (like, for example, the ones who write in the manner of "recipes" or plain directions), because as soon as a Latin writer starts getting more "poetic" or complex in his style of exposition it gets much more difficult to try to understand it. There are several reasons why Latin eventually became a "dead" language. One of them being that it is too difficult and cumbersome compared to most of the vernaculars.
    It's not an idea I have, but my experience. You only have 5 declensions, so it's not THAT hard... and it makes the whole grammar get less "tricky".
    (Maybe it was easier for me because I learnt latin when I was 11 and they say that languages are easier to learn before you are an adult)... but I think it's one of the easiest to learn.

    The "Golden Table" is somehow a history of Alchemy condensed in 12 Alchemists from 12 Nations. The last one is not mentioned by name, only by Country (Poland) and is probably Sendivogius (probably unnamed as to avoid bringing him troubles).

    The book is tricky and the 12 Alchemists have an obvious parallelism with the 12 tribes of Israel, but also with the 12 Apostles (tricky in that sense, if there's 12 symbolical apostles, then there is a symbolical "Jesus" too... which is somehow Maier himself). And tricky in the sense that it's a "history of Alchemy", but also QUITE similar to the 12 keys of Basil Valentine (it is a "history", but it's also like 12 keys ordered in a "progressive" sequence).

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    It's not an idea I have, but my experience. You only have 5 declensions, so it's not THAT hard... and it makes the whole grammar get less "tricky".
    (Maybe it was easier for me because I learnt latin when I was 11 and they say that languages are easier to learn before you are an adult)... but I think it's one of the easiest to learn.

    The "Golden Table" is somehow a history of Alchemy condensed in 12 Alchemists from 12 Nations. The last one is not mentioned by name, only by Country (Poland) and is probably Sendivogius (probably unnamed as to avoid bringing him troubles).

    The book is tricky and the 12 Alchemists have an obvious parallelism with the 12 tribes of Israel, but also with the 12 Apostles (tricky in that sense, if there's 12 symbolical apostles, then there is a symbolical "Jesus" too... which is somehow Maier himself). And tricky in the sense that it's a "history of Alchemy", but also QUITE similar to the 12 keys of Basil Valentine (it is a "history", but it's also like 12 keys ordered in a "progressive" sequence).
    I took Latin when I was in high school, and I still have trouble with its cumbersome grammar. Those 5 declensions also split into feminine and masculine, singular and plural. They are bothersome to memorize. It is not an easy language by any means. French, Italian and Spanish are way easier to understand. If you know one of these Romance languages, the other ones are relatively easy to figure out, their grammars are more similar to each other's than to their parent language (Latin), and their vocabularies are mostly based on that of Latin. So these languages took advantage of the well known and widespread Latin vocabulary but dumped the cumbersome Latin grammar. Well done! Of the Germanic languages, English is the easiest to become familiar with, mainly because the majority of its vocabulary is also based on that of Latin. German and Scandinavian languages look more "alien" to non-natives of those lands since they were not as influenced by Latin's vocabulary.

    I know what Maier's book is about. I have the French translation, which I have compared to the original Latin. It is not similar to Valentine's "Keys".

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    I took Latin when I was in high school, and I still have trouble with its cumbersome grammar. Those 5 declensions also split into feminine and masculine, singular and plural. They are bothersome to memorize. It is not an easy language by any means. French, Italian and Spanish are way easier to understand.
    LOL... French, Italian and Spanish also have feminines and masculines, singulars and plurals, but the 3 languages are by far more irregular than Latin.
    Other than that, if you choose Classical Philosophy at the University, you are expected to be reading the classics written in Latin in 3 years.
    Though maybe it is easier for those who have a language strongly based in Latin as their first language.
    I doubt ANYONE who speaks Italian, French or Spanish will even need a dictionary or some knowledge of Latin grammar to understand a phrase like: "in principio creavit Deus caelum et terram". Anyway, it's quite subjective... the language that was a HEADACHE for me was French (which I studied for 10 years and I can't even say "Can you give me a glass of water, please?"... I can read it, but I forgot how to write it or speak it).

    Quote Originally Posted by JDP View Post
    I know what Maier's book is about. I have the French translation, which I have compared to the original Latin. It is not similar to Valentine's "Keys".
    It is weird for me that you don't see a "process" there. Do you simply see a "historical book", but not a "process" that begins in the first book and finishes in the last one? Well, I do.
    I also see in Maier one of the most skilled WRITERS that Alchemy ever had (he was an obsessive for sure, but I like how he works with many "layers" in a way that very few authors manage to do it -i.e, his Atalanta Fugiens has text, drawings and music, but it has a fourth layer that is the myth itself... there is something "orchestral" or "operal" in his books).

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    Quote Originally Posted by zoas23 View Post
    LOL... French, Italian and Spanish also have feminines and masculines, singulars and plurals, but the 3 languages are by far more irregular than Latin.
    Other than that, if you choose Classical Philosophy at the University, you are expected to be reading the classics written in Latin in 3 years.
    Though maybe it is easier for those who have a language strongly based in Latin as their first language.
    I doubt ANYONE who speaks Italian, French or Spanish will even need a dictionary or some knowledge of Latin grammar to understand a phrase like: "in principio creavit Deus caelum et terram". Anyway, it's quite subjective... the language that was a HEADACHE for me was French (which I studied for 10 years and I can't even say "Can you give me a glass of water, please?"... I can read it, but I forgot how to write it or speak it).
    Romance languages do not have declinable nouns. For example, the words for "table" in Italian, Spanish and French are "tavolo", "mesa" and "table", respectively. Once you learn them, they always stay the same in the sentence construction of those languages. All you have to memorize is one form of any noun. That's it! Now look at the complicated mess Latin makes of the same noun ("mensa"):

    http://www.livelatin.org/declensions/

    So not only have you got to memorize all the declensions for the noun in question, but not all nouns belong to the same declension but to different classes of declensions, ALL of which you have to memorize! On top of that, and to make things even more cumbersome, Latin also lacks a definite article. There just is no comparison. I never took French classes in my life, yet with just a bit of practice I managed to eventually be able to grasp the majority of this written language, since I was already acquainted with other Romance languages. I could never do that with Latin. Its grammar is just too "odd" to make it easy to readily understand most of it. It is much more difficult to get the hang of than any Romance languages (except maybe Romanian, which seems like the least Romance-like language of the Romance family.)

    The Latin sentence that you gave as an example is very straightforward and easy to understand for anyone with even a minimum of acquaintance with Romance languages. This is an example of what I was referring to before. Depending on the Latin writer's style, it is more or less difficult to understand any given text. Maier's texts, for example, are quite difficult to follow in their original Latin. This guy wrote in a very polished and "educated" Latin (Maier in fact was a Latin Poet Laureate; no wonder, then, that he liked flaunting his mastery of that language. His texts show it.) Now compare it to the simple and straightforward style of many other Latin alchemical/chymical authors, like those who wrote plain "recipes" or clear descriptions of operations/processes/reactions, like this one:

    http://www.e-rara.ch/cgj/content/pageview/2422047

    This more straightforward style of Latin is quite easy to at the very least grasp the gist of the text, if not fully understand the whole of it without any problem.

    It is weird for me that you don't see a "process" there. Do you simply see a "historical book", but not a "process" that begins in the first book and finishes in the last one? Well, I do.
    I also see in Maier one of the most skilled WRITERS that Alchemy ever had (he was an obsessive for sure, but I like how he works with many "layers" in a way that very few authors manage to do it -i.e, his Atalanta Fugiens has text, drawings and music, but it has a fourth layer that is the myth itself... there is something "orchestral" or "operal" in his books).
    I didn't say that Maier's text is merely an exposition of the history of alchemy (as understood in Maier's times, without the benefit of our more modern scholarship on the subject.) He also talks about other things appertaining to alchemy, but it is not like Valentine's text. It is written in a very different style.

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