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Thread: The Golden Treatise Concerning The Philosopher's Stone (1625)

  1. #1
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    The Golden Treatise Concerning The Philosopher's Stone (1625)

    I read another thread in these forums about the quality of english translations of alchemical texts.. R.A.M.S. was specifically mentioned...

    I'm having problems with an english translation of The Golden Tract/Treatise Concerning The Philosopher's Stone. It was published in german as 'Ein güldener Tractat vom philosophischen Steine' in Grasshoff's 'Dyas Chymica Tripartita', and in latin as Aureus Tractatus de Philosophorum Lapide (sometimes Tractatu de Lapide Aureo Philosophorum) in 'Musaeum hermeticum', both in 1625. I've been dealing with Waite's translation from his Hermetic Museum.

    It was when I was having a second look and fixing formating, highlighting names and titles of texts that I started noticing problems.. And that a lot of the time I didn't know what he was talking about. I think the first thing I realized is that I didn't know what this "The Crowd" he referred to several times to was. I had to refer to the latin version (even though I don't read latin) to realize it was a reference to the Turba. I've heard of the Congregation of Philosophers, the Assembly of Philosophers, but I've never seen anyone refer to it was "The Crowd of Philosophers". Later on in the text he does refer to the "Turba" as such. I checked the latin for each reference to the Crowd, and it's all the same in the latin. He's just chosen to translate it differently at different points in the text. And I've found a bunch of instances where at first glance I thought he was referring to differnet people, texts, but in reality he's just chosen to translate it differently at differnt times, even though the latin is consistent.

    After correcting what I could, I'm still left with a bunch of questions, most of which have nothing to do with Waite's crappy translating.

    1) I have the standard Arnaldus de Villa Nova/Rosarium questions that I see in another thread in the forums.. There are references to the Rosarium Philosophorum AND Arnaldus' Rosary, but I really can't tell if the author assumes Arnaldus is the author of Rosarium, and is referring to the same text, or if it's a reference to a different Rosary (the "little" or other), that the Rosarium may be based on.

    2) I haven't really looked into this one for myself yet, but the author refers to chapters of Richard Anglicus' "book", without naming the book.

    3) References "Bernard Trevisan": "in his book addressed to Thomas of Bononia".. would this be the same as 'The Answer of Bernardus Trevisanus, to the Epistle of Thomas of Bononia' frin Aurifontina Chymica? It's not quite the same as "addressed to".

    4) Who is "Halys"? I've come up with nothing. There's a river in rome.. there's a Titius Livius Halys.. but here's the reference: Halys lib. secret., cp. vi.

    5) Basil Valentine.. a text is mentioned "Lib. de phys. et hyperphys". unless this is somehow "Of Natural and Supernatual Things" I have no idea.. But Of Natural is referred to differently elsewhere in the text.

    6) a few other texts named without authors mentioned:

    Scala Philosophorum (Waite has "Ladder of the Wise"), I have found out is probably a 15th century text by Guido de Montanor but I've never seen any version of it.

    Allegoriis sapientum ("Allegories of the Wise"), I've searched on latin and english titles, in the context of alchemy.. I can't find anything concrete. I think it was this one that might be a reference to Psalms. (if not, then it was the one below)

    Libro Soliloquiis (Book of Solilioquies), can find nothing in the context of Alchemy.. Aristotle is what I keep coming back to.. The quote from it is ""He who works without salt draws a bow without a string." In the latin text it's 'Qui sine salt laborat, arcum tendit sine chorda.' I've searched on both of those and it only comes back to this text.

    And that's about it I think.. I found "The Sounding of the Trumpets" (Clangore buccinae) for myself.

  2. #2
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    There exists an english translation of the scala:

    https://www.alchemywebsite.com/bookshop/mohs42.html

    Unfortunately back in the days they were not as eager to quote like we are used to nowadays. That was also due to different (rare) versions that existed. I agree with your opinion about B.V's Lib. de phys. et hyperphys being of natural and supernatural things. Sometimes I read the same book being quoted with two slightly different names on two following pages.

    The most hilarious author -concerning different names- I encountered so far is Federico Gualdi (Fritz Walter, Frederic Cualdinus, Frederico Qualdinis,...).

  3. #3
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    Yeah I had that info saved, but I hadn't enabled flash to view the sample until now. But I have the authors name, the name of the book, and I can't find it available in an original printing anywhere.

    Frederick Gauldus of the "revelation of the true chemical wisdom"? I collect a lot that I haven't even made it to yet.

    I mentioned finding "Clangor Buccinae" (The Sounding of the Trumpets).. I did the standard googling and found the same question being asked, and some discussion about it, but no answer. (i think it was a discussion in some older archived alchemy forums). Then I did a search of my harddrive on "buccinae" and found it in 'De alchimia opuscula complura veterum philosophorum'.. I was shocked as most of my latin downloads are not ocr'd, or not ocr'd intelligibly.

    I noticed McLean mentioning it in his intro included in the sample pages. And now that I just went to the text to look again (it's the 2nd tract), I see scala philosophorum there as the 6th. goddamn it.

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