Revista Electrónica dedicada al Estudio Histórico-Crítico de la Alquimia
Nº 5. 2002-2007. ISSN: 1575 - 8184
URL: http://www.revistaazogue.com


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P o r t a d a    y    P r e s e n t a c i ó n


Presentación. In memoriam Guy Beaujouan (1925-2007).
pp. 3-5.


A r t í c u l o s


JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ-GUERRERO, Algunos datos Desconocidos sobre las Relaciones entre Alquimia y Mitología.
pp. 9-29.

The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between alchemy and mythology during the Late Antiquity and Middle Ages. The earliest record occurs in the writing of an anonymous paradoxographer of the 6-7th Century. It was not an alchemical interpretation but a rational account of the myth which includes alchemical elements. Other similar approaches can be found in Haraxes of Pergamum, John of Antioch and the Suda. At the same time I will try to find some reasons for the absence of alchemical explanations of myths in the Greek alchemists.
A medieval alchemist called Ibn Umail developed some alchemical allegories inspired by classical myths, but he doesn’t make explicit reference to mythological creatures. Finally, Pietro Bono, written around 1330, seems to have been the first author to recognize alchemical operations under the veil of myths.


JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ-GUERRERO, Desarrollo y Madurez del Concepto de Quintaesencia Alquímica en la Europa Medieval (s. XII-XIV).
pp. 30-56.

The quintessence was a key element in late medieval alchemy. I will discuss the origin of the concept from its vague beginnings in the 13th Century, well summarized by Restoro d’Arezzo (ca.1282), to the critical meeting in the early 14th century. I will focus my research on a treatise entitled Liber super textum hermetis (pre.1325) signed by an alchemist called Hortulanus (Jakob Ortlein of Nördlinger, probably a dominican monk). The full version consists of two sections. The first is a less-known guide to elaborate a pure quintessence or “Stone of Life”, which seems to be an alcoholic compound obtained by distillation and rectification of wine. Hortulanus thought of alcohol as the quintessence almost a quarter of century before John of Rupescissa's book De quinta essentia. The second section of the Liber super textum hermetis is a popular commentary on the Emerald Tablet that usually circulated as an independent work. It was first printed in Nuremberg by Johannes Petreius, as part of the alchemical compilation know as In hoc volumine de alchemia continentur hæc (1541). It defines quintessence as the first of all things created by God, the pure element of which the cosmos was made.


JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ-GUERRERO, El Manuscrito 7443 de la Biblioteca Nacional de España. Identificación de su origen, autor y contenidos.
pp. 57-69.

The Biblioteca Nacional de España Ms 7443 is an alchemical manuscript of the sixteenth century. The manuscript's contents make it possible to identify the compiler as a gentleman called Manuel Franco de Guzman. The contents, along with their mode of presentation and the manuscript's general appearance, make it possible to situate him within the culture of the Spanish Renaissance, and more specifically within alchemical culture in the transition from Middle Ages to Renaissance.


JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ-GUERRERO & ELENA CASTRO SOLER, La Epistola super quinta essentia de Luis de Centelles. Edición y Estudio.
pp. 70-89.

The Epistola super quinta essentia (1552) addresed to Dr. Manresa by Luis de Centelles is an example of the alchemical debate between Spanish alchemists. We will try to to establish the sources of the text and its main topics. The author perpetuates themes and forms of the medieval treatises (materia prima, humidum radicale, etc.). He try to find an accord between alchemical theories and the philosophical models established by Aristotle. At the same time, it will be useful to exmine the Epistola under a sociological perspective, because of the personal disputes between Manresa and Centelles. Their debates and hard discussions, sometimes offensives and unsuitables, reveal enormously diverse understandings of what the “real” alchemy was for renaissance alchemists.


JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ-GUERRERO, Vendedores de Panaceas Alquímicas entre los Siglos XVI y XVII.
pp. 90-99.

The alchemical panaceas were one of the major products to be advertised in Early Modern popular culture. This essay summarized some cases of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Some alchemists, physicians and charlatans combined alchemical practice with broader involvement in the dynamic cultural, economic and domestical scene of the Early Modern Europe. Their efforts were focused on patiens who had been frustrated by traditional galenic medicine. Their medical activities have been overlooked, but precisely because in different ways they were well-connected actors in the social and popular milieux of the european cities, they can offer valuable insights into how they built their identity and perceived competence and success all across Europe. Their panaceas opens up unexpected perspectives on the both domestic and commercial applications. By following these charlatans from hospitals to courts, and from tribunals to the popular markets, and analysing their books also enriches our view of medicines distributed in Europe and approved by the medical authorities.


STEFFEN DUCHEYNE, Algunas Notas Metodológicas sobre los Experimentos de Van Helmont.
pp. 100-107.

In this essay, I will discuss four significant experiments from Van Helmont’s work in full detail: (1) the thermoscope experiment, (2) the transmutation experiment, the ice-experiment, and (4) the willow experiment. I will draw the main material from both Ortus Medicinae (1648) and Dageraad (1944). These experiments have been selected on the basis of their being methodologically relevant and sufficiently detailed. Van Helmont had a particular and profound insight in the idea that knowledge of nature is produced by isolating certain natural processes or creating – or at least, trying to create as good as possible – relatively closed physical systems, so these four experiments are paradigmatics for his practice.


MAR REY BUENO, Los Destiladores Reales de los Austrias Españoles (1564-1700).
pp. 108-129.

In previous works I have studied the appearance and development of Paracelsian practices in the Spanish Court through a linked series of events that took place between 1564 and 1602. These were: the creation of Philippine distillation laboratories, the ordenance of the protophysician Francisco de Valles regarding distilled waters; the concession of a patent to Diego de Santiago for the invention of a steam distillery; the publication of the last treatise by Francisco de Valles, dedicated to weights, measures, and distilled waters; the appearance of a distiller on the founding staff of the Royal Apothecary, in charge of preparing all the distilled waters and chemical medicines; and the creation of a new post within the Court health organigram, that of “Major Distiller”. The present essay contents a descriptive list of all Royal Distillers and Major Distillers who manufacture chemical medicines for the Spanish Crown.


JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ-GUERRERO, Un Desconocido Tratado dedicado al Rey Carlos II : Den gesochten Philosophael-steen gevonden de Octavio de Koker.
pp. 130-138.

This essay concerns an alchemical treatise dedicate to Spanish king Carlos II. It was written in Madrid by Octavius Dekoker, a belgian alchemist from Gent, during the year 1673. The main part of the manuscript was written in Dutch languaje. It contains an original version of the Nicolas Flamel's Livre des figures hieroglyphiques in Duch verses. Another treatise develops the legend about Ramón Llull making gold for the English king Edward III, who would use the noble metal to finance a crusade. There is another Dutch text with an alchemical interpretation of the discoverer of the Americas by Cristobal Colon. Finally we can find an original treatise (beginning Seght my svaer nue dat dagh en nacht) based upon the Sophic Hydrolith by Johann Ambrosius Siebmacherc.


MIGUEL LÓPEZ PÉREZ, Lastanosa, la Alquimia y algunos Helmoncianos Aragoneses.
pp. 139-150.

This essay explores the alchemical interests of Juan Vincencio of Lastanosa (1607-1681), a wealthy patron of the arts who lived in Huesca. He provided accommodations in his palace to some alchemists and distillers (including some aragonese followers of Van Helmont who are not so well known) and an italian alchemist and priest, Nadal Baronio, who prepared for Lastanosa potable gold and other chemical medicines. I will particularly focused my research on his scientific, personal and professional relationships with other alchemists and apothecaries who were, like him, concerned about “chymistry” and chemical medicine.


MIGUEL LÓPEZ PÉREZ & MAR REY BUENO, Aguas Destiladas y Aguas Alquímicas en la España Moderna.
pp. 151-180.

The general preparation of mineral and distilled waters by alchemical procedures was popularized in Spanish territories during the period that the line of Austrian kings governed that country. Before the mid-seventeenth century a lot of distilled waters were made, not only for the Royal Family and nobility, but as a safe drug for general consumption, so they are often subsumed under apothecary and it has been noted for sale by many of the Spanish shops. Our essay presents a commentary on the books of five apothecaries and Royal Distillers that made a strong defense of chemical medicine: Diego de Santiago, Juan del Castillo, Esteban Villa, Jerónimo de la Fuente Piérola and Esteban Núñez.


JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ-GUERRERO, La Alquimia en España durante el Período Modernista a través de sus Libros.
pp. 181-223.

This article constitutes an approach to the complex world of alchemy in Spain during the end of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. The complexity of this alchemical world is described by listing the alchemical books published by Spanish editors. We can find a combination of elements from different esoterical styles such as Theosophy, Neo-gnosticism, Neo-rosicrucianism and Spiritualism. This Modernist movement was strongly influenced by the speculations of the modern German-French occult revival.


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