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Thread: Why historical alchemists live short lives

  1. #1
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    Question Why historical alchemists live short lives

    I was looking lately to a list of alchemists, found on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_alchemists
    Many of them have died too soon compared to the modern life expectancy values. For example Paracelsus, the father of western alchemy lived only 47 years. Glauber died at 66. Some of them were lucky enough to live more than 80 years. Albertus magnus died at 87, Isaac Newton at 85. The record seems to be kept by the arabian Jabir, who lived up to 94 years. A great achievement for his time but not so impressive today.

    Also, when looking at the causes of death, we can find that common ailments have plagued alchemists too.
    So the question naturally arises, can the philosopher's stone prolong life, can it protect from disease?
    My current understanding is that it can keep someone healthy until old age and death come upon him naturally. It can alleviate health problems caused by minor disturbances but probably it has limited action against serious diseases that are caused by storng infectious agents.
    Reading a recent entry from Salazius' blog the answer may be that there are diferrent kinds of "philosopher's stones", some stronger than others. But if Paracelsus himself was unable to find the true philosopher's stone I wonder if it possible to be made.
    Another interesting research could be to check which of those alchemists has left a body behind, after death. A real alchemist who would probably have reached to the true stone, would be able to take his body with him, like various prophets and saints is rumoured to have done.

  2. #2
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    Accomplished life

    One of the key elements in this line of questioning may be that many of these alchemists, perhaps, didn't want to live into the 100s. They came here, did what was assigned and when accomplished their tasks and goals and journey, they simply put down their body and left. Disease, and death, can be a servant too.

    Yes, there are varying degrees of strength to the Lapis, but for me, the answer holds true to be behind the motivation and mindset of the [spiritual] alchemist.

  3. #3
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    The longevity of Alchemists?

    When we read the works of Alchemists claiming how the stone prolongs human life and then search for the lifespan of the Alchemist making the claim we are met with disappointment in every case. The weight of the evidence is that Alchemists lived no longer then others.

    Alain de Lille (Born from 1115 to 1128 – died in 1202(1203?))
    Albertus Magnus (1193–1280)
    Roger Bacon (1214–1294)
    Pseudo-Geber (Spain, 13th century)
    Ramon Llull (Raymond Lulli) (1235–1315)
    Pope John XXII (1249–1334)
    John Dastin (early 14th)
    Arnold of Villanova (1245 – ?(before 1311))
    Jean de Meung (c.1250 – c.1305)
    Petrus Bonus (Early 14th century)
    Ortolanus or Hortulanus (fl. 1358)
    Jean de Roquetaillade (Johannes de Rupescissa ) (d. 1336)
    Gilles de Rais (1401–1440)
    Bernard Trevisan (Bernard of Treves) (1406–1490)
    Johann of Laz (15th century)
    George Ripley (England, 15th century)
    Thomas Norton (c. 1433-c. 1513)
    Johannes Trithemius (1462–1516)
    Johann Georg Faust (ca. 1480–1540)
    Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535)
    Paracelsus (1493–1541)
    Thomas Charnock (1516/1524/1526–1581)
    François Hotman (1524–1590)
    John Dee (1527–1609)
    Gerhard Dorn (c. 1530–1584)
    Martin Ruland the Elder (1532-1602)
    Richard Stanihurst (1547–1618)
    Tycho Brahe (1546–1601)
    Samuel Norton (1548–1621)
    Edward Kelley (1555–1597)
    Basilius Valentinus (Basil Valentine) (16/17th century)
    Andreas Libavius (1555–1616)
    François Béroalde de Verville (1556–1626)
    Heinrich Khunrath (circa 1560–1605)
    Oswald Croll (circa 1563-1609)
    Melchior Cibinensis (16th century)
    Jean D'Espagnet (1564 – c. 1637)
    Michał Sędziwój (1566–1636)
    Benedictus Figulus (born 1567)
    Michael Maier (1568–1622)
    Martin Ruland the Younger (1569 – 1611)
    Jacob Boehme (1575–1624)
    Jan Baptist van Helmont (1577–1644)
    Arthur Dee (1579–1651)
    Johann Daniel Mylius (c. 1583-1642)
    Johann Moriaen (1591-1668)
    William Backhouse (1593 – 1662)
    Baro Urbigerus
    Ali Puli (17th century)
    Daniel Stolz von Stolzenberg (Daniel Stolcius) (1600–1660)
    Johannes Nicolaus Furichius (1602-1633)
    Edward Dyer (d. 1607)
    Basset Jhones (b. 1613)
    Elias Ashmole (1617–1692)
    Thomas Henshaw (1618–1700)
    Edmund Dickinson (1624–1707)
    Johann Friedrich Schweitzer (1625–1709)
    Frederick Clod (b. 1625)
    Giuseppe Francesco Borri (1627–1695)
    Robert Boyle (1627–1691)
    George Starkey (alchemist) (1628–1665)
    Hening Brand (c.1630–1710)
    Johann Kunckel (1630–1703)
    Johann Joachim Becher (1635–1682)
    Isaac Newton (1642–1727)
    Claude Duval (1643–1670)
    Dionysius Andreas Freher (1649–1728)
    Georg von Welling (1652-1727)
    Anton Josef Kirchweger ((d.1746))
    Alessandro Cagliostro (1743–1795)
    James Price (1752–1783)
    Count of St Germain (d. 1784)
    Johann Christoph von Wöllner (1732–1800)
    August Nordenskiold (1754–1792)
    August Strindberg (1849–1912)
    Franz Tausend (1884–1942)
    Johann Isaac Hollandus
    Fulcanelli (pseudonym; dates unknown: Late 19th century – early 20th.)
    R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961)
    And the Lord God formed Adam of the slime of the earth and breathed into his face

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luxus View Post
    When we read the works of Alchemists claiming how the stone prolongs human life and then search for the lifespan of the Alchemist making the claim we are met with disappointment in every case. The weight of the evidence is that Alchemists lived no longer then others.

    Alain de Lille (Born from 1115 to 1128 – died in 1202(1203?))
    Albertus Magnus (1193–1280)
    Roger Bacon (1214–1294)
    Pseudo-Geber (Spain, 13th century)
    Ramon Llull (Raymond Lulli) (1235–1315)
    Pope John XXII (1249–1334)
    John Dastin (early 14th)
    Arnold of Villanova (1245 – ?(before 1311))
    Jean de Meung (c.1250 – c.1305)
    Petrus Bonus (Early 14th century)
    Ortolanus or Hortulanus (fl. 1358)
    Jean de Roquetaillade (Johannes de Rupescissa ) (d. 1336)
    Gilles de Rais (1401–1440)
    Bernard Trevisan (Bernard of Treves) (1406–1490)
    Johann of Laz (15th century)
    George Ripley (England, 15th century)
    Thomas Norton (c. 1433-c. 1513)
    Johannes Trithemius (1462–1516)
    Johann Georg Faust (ca. 1480–1540)
    Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535)
    Paracelsus (1493–1541)
    Thomas Charnock (1516/1524/1526–1581)
    François Hotman (1524–1590)
    John Dee (1527–1609)
    Gerhard Dorn (c. 1530–1584)
    Martin Ruland the Elder (1532-1602)
    Richard Stanihurst (1547–1618)
    Tycho Brahe (1546–1601)
    Samuel Norton (1548–1621)
    Edward Kelley (1555–1597)
    Basilius Valentinus (Basil Valentine) (16/17th century)
    Andreas Libavius (1555–1616)
    François Béroalde de Verville (1556–1626)
    Heinrich Khunrath (circa 1560–1605)
    Oswald Croll (circa 1563-1609)
    Melchior Cibinensis (16th century)
    Jean D'Espagnet (1564 – c. 1637)
    Michał Sędziwój (1566–1636)
    Benedictus Figulus (born 1567)
    Michael Maier (1568–1622)
    Martin Ruland the Younger (1569 – 1611)
    Jacob Boehme (1575–1624)
    Jan Baptist van Helmont (1577–1644)
    Arthur Dee (1579–1651)
    Johann Daniel Mylius (c. 1583-1642)
    Johann Moriaen (1591-1668)
    William Backhouse (1593 – 1662)
    Baro Urbigerus
    Ali Puli (17th century)
    Daniel Stolz von Stolzenberg (Daniel Stolcius) (1600–1660)
    Johannes Nicolaus Furichius (1602-1633)
    Edward Dyer (d. 1607)
    Basset Jhones (b. 1613)
    Elias Ashmole (1617–1692)
    Thomas Henshaw (1618–1700)
    Edmund Dickinson (1624–1707)
    Johann Friedrich Schweitzer (1625–1709)
    Frederick Clod (b. 1625)
    Giuseppe Francesco Borri (1627–1695)
    Robert Boyle (1627–1691)
    George Starkey (alchemist) (1628–1665)
    Hening Brand (c.1630–1710)
    Johann Kunckel (1630–1703)
    Johann Joachim Becher (1635–1682)
    Isaac Newton (1642–1727)
    Claude Duval (1643–1670)
    Dionysius Andreas Freher (1649–1728)
    Georg von Welling (1652-1727)
    Anton Josef Kirchweger ((d.1746))
    Alessandro Cagliostro (1743–1795)
    James Price (1752–1783)
    Count of St Germain (d. 1784)
    Johann Christoph von Wöllner (1732–1800)
    August Nordenskiold (1754–1792)
    August Strindberg (1849–1912)
    Franz Tausend (1884–1942)
    Johann Isaac Hollandus
    Fulcanelli (pseudonym; dates unknown: Late 19th century – early 20th.)
    R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961)
    Many of the people in the above list were not "alchemists", though. Plus for many alchemists we have no certainty regarding date of birth and/or death.

  5. #5
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    Many people wrote texts of alchemy without being alchemists.
    And maybe some real alchemists never left written books.
    We will never know.
    Now, what separates a real alchemist from the fake one, only by reading his books?

    Maybe there is someone in this forum that is 200 years old or more...

  6. #6
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    My grandmother lived longer than any of those people on the list (at least those with known dates of entry & exit...)

    Quote Originally Posted by pierre View Post
    Maybe there is someone in this forum that is 200 years old or more...
    I guess we'll never know ...

  7. #7
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    Excellent list, Luxus.

    Thank for you compiling this!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierre View Post
    Many people wrote texts of alchemy without being alchemists.
    And maybe some real alchemists never left written books.
    We will never know.
    Now, what separates a real alchemist from the fake one, only by reading his books?

    Maybe there is someone in this forum that is 200 years old or more...
    For an author to qualify as an alchemist there's one requirement: his works have to be predominantly devoted to the subject of making the Philosophers' Stone/Elixir. And for an alchemist to qualify as a reputed "adept" there is one requirement as well: he has to either explicitly or implicitly state that he has been successful at the task. These requirements obviously disqualify a whole bunch of people from the above list. Even "chymists" like Kunckel or Becher, as heavily involved in the subject of transmutation as they were, cannot really be considered "alchemists", and even less "adepts" (their works are not primarily devoted to the subject of making the Stone, plus they never claimed to have actually been successful at preparing it.)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andro View Post
    My grandmother lived longer than any of those people on the list
    So that's who taught you your secrets!


    I guess we'll never know ...
    True. The Rules and Guidelines of the forum forbid revealing personal information.. Damn these pre-conceived structures!!
    Art is Nature in the flask; Nature is a vial thing.

  10. #10
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    This is a usefull list, thanks for compiling it!

    Other similar threads:
    http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showt...ve-short-lives
    http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showt...e-really/page2

    Quote Originally Posted by Luxus View Post
    Johann Isaac Hollandus
    May I ask about Hollandus more specifically, what do we know about his life. When did he die? It seems that there is a lot of mystery around him. How did you end up putting him on that list?

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