Metallic gold is made from water, namely a celestial water from the sky. To this very ancient assertion Augurello tries to give a rational and a method.
Giovanni Aurelio Augurello, born in Rimini in 1454, although cited by Sendivogius in his Novum Lumen Chymicum, was not known as an alchemist by contemporaries but a classics scholar, an erudite like many others in italian renaissance. If he had not written this “ Crysopoeia” , or the art of making gold in ancient greek, during the reign of pope Lion X (1513-1521) he would hardly have been remembered by a wide audience.
For all that one can rather be amazed by the alchemical scholarship denoted in Augurello’s poem. The basic Alchemy foundations are here examined and contemplated. As well as providing a glance on the alchemical scenery in Venice and Padova, where Augurello lived and worked. Definitely an outlook on “love for gold” of venetian people. Which is byzantine indeed.
Augurello introduces his “invention”, as he calls it, to the same pope Lion X. This naivety may seem, and actually is, so surprising to us, considering that was a pope, John XXII in Spondent quas non exhibent bull, to ban from practicing Alchemy in fourteenth century. But the art of making gold was a serious and urgent request back at that time, especially for popes. Legend has it that Lion X replied in a very derisive ( or practical) way, sending Augurello a purse to be made full of gold.
Crysopoeia is a latin metrical composition, not lacking of a certain gracefulness. It is divided in three books, or main chapters. The first one is an introductory and detailed investigation on Nature’s processes and reasons we need for a “water” to reduce metallic gold to its seed. Of course, being a poem, I made a summary of most prominent parts.
Augurello starts his long piece of poetry beseeching the Sun in the Sky as it causes gold to grow and extend in the deep of the earth. Together with its sister Moon, who more than Sun contributes to open the earth’s pores. He also invokes Mercury for providing a source of pure water, namely a clear bourn of Quicksilver, real foundation of the Crysopoeia art. Then Hephaestus, of course, with his furnaces in which billions of electron and orpiment corpuscles run. In the end he prays to Aphrodite, to teach us how to proceed. But moreover he focuses on Volcano, since the making gold art invention has been inspired by his work. In fact is the greek metallurgic God to teach how to obtain metals from Air and turn them into Water. “ Give me some shining fire” Augurello asks. This enterprise be also inspired by Hephaestus sister Cytherea (another name for Aphrodite) and all the rivers Nymphs.
Then Augurello takes the refrain so appealing to alchemists of gold being born from gold. But he providentially adds :” by being turned into Water. In fact once gold is reduced to its real substance it can make seeds out of fruit ”. This secret gold birth also heads to its augmentation. Here Augurello presents the giving life Spirit saying that it cannot demonstrate any virtue if loaded with coarse matter.
“In fact the Soul, an individuality deprived of course matter, is the ideal clothing for Spirit, since it is well endorsed that all Souls are incarnated in a body. But through a Spirit, the only to have the power to unify two principles so different. Augurello goes on saying that only the Spirit can separate these two extremities and let them living apart. The same concept will reduce the gold in its seed to make other gold. Thanks to this Alchemy key we can see how gold can be made outside mines by a good master.
This is tied up with the proceeding to obtain the first root of every metal, which is also the reason of their origin. “Augurello says that Nature “makes” metals in a similar way. In fact we should compare veins in the deep of the earth to human furnaces. Isn’t the heat so similar? But who is the mortal to dare to accomplish such an art? We should just accept the maternal side of this “nourishment” task. In fact this precious art has been communicated to us by the stars in the sky.
The wheat cultivation in a rich soil is very resembling to gold cultivation. He who is used to make gold does know this birth is from the first principle. In fact the pure gold is called “Elixir” by arabs.
The ignorants believe all metals being different, but they don’t know the earth must be deprived of all wastes to shine as pure gold.”
Then Augurello, apparently with no reason, moves to emphasize all the biggest italian rivers as well as the south mediterranean sea, from Sicily to Greece. He insists on the cleaning action of the sea, moreover during the night. And he points at the fact that the biggest volcanoes are on the seasides.
He goes on analysing the state of the art of making gold in venetian land: some extract a piece of hard marble like rock from a deep cavern. Since caverns, Augurello says, are penetrated by Sun beams.Not only but thunders and fire from sky arrive there. And, he goes on saying, all this fire, causes the earth’s natural humidity to be cooked. According to Augurello this is the origin of vapors we can find in caverns.