Opera Mineralia, sive de Lapide Philosophico, by Johannes Isaac Hollandus, chapter two deals with actions involving silver cupeling.
For an Hollandus family introduction and for a De Lapide Philosophico introduction as well as the first and previous chapter. Translation from latin has been performed by myself, as verbatim as possible. Hollandus in spite of, or because of, his practical simplicity makes things difficult, omitting passages and using ambiguous terms. So do not expect a stylish page.
Liber Primus, First Book.
Opus Primis Ordinis. Work of First Order.
Cupel is a shallow, porous container in which gold or silver can be refined or assayed by melting with a blast of hot air, which oxidizes lead or other base metals. Cupeling, assaying, or refining (a metal) in such a container, the separation between two or more metals in a liquid state, all relies on the different affinity to O2 which transforms the most reactive ones into oxides. The more used cupeling example is that of separation between silver and argentiferous lead; Luna or Moon may be a synonym for metallic silver ( rule of three admits at least three different meanings). Indeed the term “cupeled” here refers quite surely to a metal. Silver. In fact, we can reduce it in foils:
See an Opus Magnum scheme. But let’s go on.
“you have to reduce it ( silver) in slight foils and calcine/calcinate with common salt prepared as aforementioned (in chap 1), for three days, which Salt you wash with great care in aqua calida or fiery water;”
Salt, acetum, vinegar, fiery water, aqua calida, calces may also be synonymous with Mercurius Philosophorum. Sometimes Hollandus uses them in a common chemical sense and sometimes in an alchemical one. Comprehension is up to the reader. This is one of Hollandus’ family drawbacks. Since they do not employ standard complicated hermetic wording. Note that, as a matter of fact, Hollandus writes Salt in Capital S. Common salt prepared for three days long cannot be anymore the entering salt. Here the reading first chapter may be essential.
Calcino was a verb coined in medieval-age latin. Romans strangely enough did not use it. So latin dictionaries do not provide the lemma. Consequently, we are not allowed to know if this verb is transitive or intransitive. Hollandus here uses it in a case other than object-accusative. Calcine, chemically reduce, oxidize, or desiccate by roasting or strong heat. Alchemically Secret Fire is also considered a terrifying fire to cook or calcine. Alchemists do cook with the whole range of fires they can rely on. As a matter of fact calx, calcis in latin means also culmination, finish. Calcination is an alchemical ubiquitous operation: fixation of volatile is involved. In Alchemy we have a lot of phases in which volatile substances must be made more handling. Nevertheless do not expect the exhausting operations Hollandus is describing are the easiest and direct ways to fixation.“if it is not calcined once again is to calcine, as above mentioned, put all as long as it will be reduced in calces, then wash with aqua communi calida or common very warm water, and as long as aqua pura or pure water flows from, by means of salt clean again, as long as aqua pura or pure water flows from:
then dry (2) till calces and put to dissolve in distilled vinegar,”
Warm water or Aqua Calida is here aqua communi calida or common water. Pay attention that an Aqua Pura or pure water will flow from all that. In chapter one this pure water was very strange water, even with an enamel texture. One of these waters is all but common water.
The following sentence is rather difficult. In bold is my translation.
“ac singulis octo diebus”: translation, and every day for eight days
“acetum effundes (3)”: translation, you will dissipate vinegar
“recentque”: translation, and that occurring recently
This is my preferred translation. Effundo and infundo seem to share the same ending fundo, fudi, which means to scatter, to throw, to pour, to emanate. “E”, in latin is a preposition meaning outside, while “In” is rather inside. Sadly latin is just a language for soldiers and rulers. Chemistry was too much a finesse to them, Romans imported it all-inclusive from Greece, Syria, and Iran.
“donec omne solutum fuerit”: translation, as long as all will be dissolved.
“ac si omne resolvi nequeat: translation, and if all cannot be dissolved,
“sale rursum calcinabis, ut supra, per diem ac noctem”: translation, calcine with salt, as above, for day and night. Warnings not to take salt in common sense have been aforementioned.
To amend Hollandus provides a right margin sidenote displaying a blurring: Singulis 8 dies … acetum recens infundendum: Translation: every day for 8 days… recently occurring vinegar is to be introduced.
Now we can continue our standard translation:
“and rinse salt, and dry calces, and put which is dissolved in distilled vinegar, as long as all will be dissolved: then petrified, and your Luna will easily dissolve in common distilled water: and if the whole will not melting or loose in common distilled water, ignite calces, as aforementioned, and dissolve either liquefy (4) in vinegar, and once again petrified (5), and easily will dissolve in common distilled water, and you have prepared your Luna or Moon.”
Hardly this ending Moon may signify metallic silver as above. As we go, the rule of three provides us with a lot of other meanings to choose from: for example, we can sow silver inside Mercurius Philosophorum as well. To get a Male sperm to be unified with a Female sperm.
- See cupeling proceeding on Nuova Guida alls Chimica ;
- exicco is nonexistent, correct latin term is exsicco;
- effundo: latin verbs hardly have a single meaning, so we must choose. Effundo means to pour, to scatter, to lose, as well as to consume and to dissipate. For infundo, for meaning see footnotes in chapter 1;
- resolvo: loose, melt, liquefy;
- congelo: petrify, harden, freeze;
To be continued at De Lapide Philosophico chapter 3-4