New PDF release: Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire

By Tara Nummedal

ISBN-10: 0226608565

ISBN-13: 9780226608563

What amazing the genuine alchemist from the fraud? this query lively the lives and labors of the typical men—and sometimes women—who made a residing as alchemists within the 16th- and seventeenth-century Holy Roman Empire. As purveyors of sensible suggestions, innovations, and remedies, those marketers have been prized via princely consumers, who relied upon alchemists to strengthen their political fortunes. while, satirists, artists, and different commentators used the determine of the alchemist as an emblem for Europe’s social and monetary ills.
Drawing on legal trial documents, contracts, laboratory inventories, satires, and vernacular alchemical treatises, Alchemy and Authority within the Holy Roman Empire situates the standard alchemists, mostly invisible to fashionable students beforehand, on the heart of the advance of early sleek technology and trade. Reconstructing the workaday global of entrepreneurial alchemists, Tara Nummedal exhibits how allegations of fraud formed their practices and customers. those debates not just exhibit greatly varied understandings of what the “real” alchemy used to be and who might perform it; in addition they attach a suite of little-known practitioners to the most important questions about trade, belief, and highbrow authority in early sleek Europe.

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Extra resources for Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire

Example text

Although practitioners began to take sides on this issue as the sixteenth century came to a close, the battle to determine what alchemy would be was still far from won. 24 Still, we can distinguish several different emphases within early modern alchemy, as long as we recognize that these categories were by no introduction 15 means fi xed or exclusive; a single alchemist might pursue all of them, or only one, all the while claiming to be an alchemist. , their education or intentions). Instead, Müller-Jahncke and Paulus stress the diversity within the alchemical tradition itself, a legacy of alchemy’s many historical uses and the differences among its innumerable authorities.

In this new marketplace of secrets, alchemy was available to princes, philosophers, physicians, and pastors—in short, to anyone with the money and enthusiasm to seek it out. assembling expertise 33 Alchemy as a Craft Alchemy was particularly accessible to practitioners who already had skills and knowledge from related and overlapping fields. Crafts such as goldsmithing and medicine, for example, were intimately related to alchemy in the skills they employed and the knowledge they required. Likewise, a general background in philosophy provided a framework for alchemical theory and aided the comprehension of often deliberately confusing alchemical texts and erudite references.

24 Still, we can distinguish several different emphases within early modern alchemy, as long as we recognize that these categories were by no introduction 15 means fi xed or exclusive; a single alchemist might pursue all of them, or only one, all the while claiming to be an alchemist. , their education or intentions). Instead, Müller-Jahncke and Paulus stress the diversity within the alchemical tradition itself, a legacy of alchemy’s many historical uses and the differences among its innumerable authorities.

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Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire by Tara Nummedal


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