“Hermes, philosophers father, says that the philosophical parts are three, that’s to say gold, silver, mercurius; with which, either united or divided, Hermes could make the tincture; those three lie all in the extracted mercurius that’s to say in the rebis (sulphur) with equal qualities.
Corpus, spiritus et anima. Body, spirit and soul.”
It follows the formula to compose what Hermes said above: That’s to say to get the body, spirit and soul; one can guess it is a recipe as the letter R – recipe can be read; followed by a series of cryptic signs, represented by numbers, the Sun sign and maybe that of the Moon or Mercurius. Below, they are set in column:
- “Calidum (warm) 3 – calidum sign of the Sun 333 calidum 1
- Siccum (dry) 3 – (uncertain sign) 1 Siccum 333 secum 1
- Frigidum ( cold) 2 – 4 frigidum 222, frigidum 4
- Humidum ( humid) 2 – 4 humidum 222, humidum 4.”
Folio 5r: I couldn’t explained this encryption. On the left the philosophical vessel with the initials I.A.A.T. on the right moon scythe with the concavity to the left, which can be interpreted as a silver sign, since the title is Mater Cor Scientiarum referring the word mater to the moon, and cor (heart) to the vessel, that’s to say mother and heart of sciences. The initials on the vessel point at the four elements. On the side of the vessel there are two files of signs that can be explained, reading from left to right, the first of the first line corresponds to the putrefied stone: the second to rock salt, the third to eau de vie; the fourth to cinnabar; the fifth to tartar and vessel too. The first of the second line to glass vessel, the second to medicine at white; the third to calcination; the fourth to alembic; the fifth to crucible (?).
Below it is written: “Earth, wind, air, soul, the virtue of Sun thins vapors, once thinned lifts them, lifted them it set them on fire, once set on fire pump them in impressionable way. Our stone go through entire, the earth in water, the water in air, the air in fire; this is the being, but one gets down: to action of the opposites in ascending and descending.”
These words are referred to the action of heating and to the four elements; by the operation of the substances and devices named above, our stone goes through the four elements and stops where is the being. It ends with the well known sentence that the solution of the bodies is the foundation of the art, and this is the philosophers first work.
Folio 6r: The figure is a portrait of a philosopher subsequent to Hermes; his right hand seems to keep the philosophical vessel, where the mysterious operation on the philosophers stone, from harm,takes place. The written words refer to that:
“Item recipe unum ( vas) …….philosophorum est disolvere rem in lapide sapientum.
Corpus unum idest Rebis, et vas unum: et vas Hermetis…pon…dempta solutione prima.
So take a vessel, as philosophers aphorism is to liquefy the sulphur in the stone….One body, that’s to say the Rebis and a vessel of hermetis etc.”
Folio 6v: Three moons inscribed in a circle; on the top right a vessel with a pipe starting from the bottom, accompanied with a half cancelled word finishing in mentum; below another vessel side seen with the pipe starting from the middle of its highness and above the initials of the four elements. The circle containing the three moons is gold (Pater, sol) father, mother moon contained with sul- phur and mercurius. Definitely it is explained by words. The signs of Sun, Moon and mercurius do follow.
“The philosophers elixir is composed of three parts, that’s to say of lunar, solar and mercurial stone. In the lunar one there is the white sulphur, in the solar the red sulphur; the mercurial stone includes both red and white natures, and here’s the power of the whole magisterium.”
“Our fire is water, if you know how to give fire to fire, mercurius to mercurius, that will be enough.
Our water is fire which burns gold; but more than gold, it will be enough mercurius and azoth.
Quicksilver, perhaps is intended under the first name. The sulphur burns gold, silver and lead; arsenic burns iron, copper and tin.”
Folio 7v: A plate divided into four areas, from below to above: Earth, Water, Air, Fire. Beside it is written “Philosophie”. Above “…….permanerem in aquam mercurialem nota quod est (very poor latin, perhaps: …….it remains in the well known mercurial water).”
The paragraph accompanying the figure can be translated:
“The Philosopher also says to be just one thing to be chosen, which is pale color having metallic appearance, clear and liquid, and which is a warm and humid thing, watery and gloomy, and it is living oil and living tincture, mercurial stone ( above is added mineral) and highly effective eau de vie, white and red. This is the thing with many names, as the philosophers believed this thing to be involved in all things. So many opinions are given to it, which I omit for conciseness.”
The text incorrectness is seen by the attempts of correction.
“Magnesie atque rebis diabesse sunt q……Figitur sa……fluit oleo supra. Magnesia and Rebis are synonymous ………it flows on the oil.”
The name of the four elements with their properties is repeated like the figure in folio 4r.
The translation of the last two lines is the following: “When you get water from the air, air from fire, and fire from earth, you will have all the philosophical art. Fire, air, water, earth.”
The three words in the beginning of the page: Magnesia, Rebis, Diabesse are synonymous; it is known the codex whose title is Expositio libri de lapide Diabessi (6), exposition of the book on the stone Diabessi: the stones Rebis and Diabessi, which are the same thing, are hair like it is found anywhere, as anywhere are the stones there are hair, they are being born on two mountains, that’s to say on man’s and woman’s head. It refers to the well known metaphor of the two mountains cov- ered with trees (7). It also completes the explanation on the two mountains ” set on the right and left, which are man’s and woman’s heads”. Other two codex from catalogue Barberini 273 are recalled.
Adabassi alias Adabassi liber idest lapidis de quo sit Alchimia, sive solis, sive luna opere tam vero quam quasi fantastico. Ex arabico in latinum translatum. Adabassi also known as Book of Adabassi that’s to say on what concerns Alchemy, or sun, or moon works as real as to seem quite incredible. From arabic translated. Wider and more explicative in the title is: Hic incipiunt operationes perfecti lapidis Rebis, quae operationes extracteae sunt ex libro Perfecti Magisterii. Et iste liber vocatur in Arte, Claviis Celestis, et liber Numinum, et liber Quinque Clavium Virtutum, et grecae vocatur Theolicon, idest liber Divinitatis, sed apud saracenos dicitur Ismael, quod intelligeris Secretorum liber. Et in hoc libro triplicem modum invenies: inc. Credo quod perficeres intelligeres dictum est. Here start the operations of the perfect rebis stone, which operations are extracted from the book of the perfect magisterium. And this book is called ( follow titles) in fact by the middle asiatic Ismael who understood the book of secrets. And in this book three ways can be found.
Folio 8v: plate divided in three segments. The fire damage prevents a complete reading: “M…..destruit omnem, albat liquorat resol (uit) …..quodlibet ignem retinet fugantia quoque. M……destroys everything, gets white liquified dis- solves every fire even keeps……
The world is divided into three parts that’s to say Africa, Asia, Europe: nevertheless the parts are four, in spite of that two are uninhabited because of the water and cold.”
The following sentence is taken from Arnau de Vilanova Rosarius Maior: ” Blurred memory, weak work as I don’t know about that thing from which the stone is wrenched out and in what and by what matter melts or in what vessel it is done.”
This is the real obscure figure of sages into which is saved the complex philosophical science which pervades the brainless with many problems, volatile quicksilver. You say fugitive servant. Mars effusion of the Sun is real Moon.
Distinguish any element from the contrary element, and you will find what you wish, if you have well understand i.a.a.t.”
Carbonelli finished here his translation of folio 9r. Now let’s try to explain the reason of the acrostic I.A.A.T inside the vessel. I have already said in the incipit, and you should have understood, that these are the initials of the four elements. So far, nothing new. But this detail is im- portant for a technical reason: look at the image on the left, it is a detail of 8r, in the case you have passed over it. So, on the bottom we find T earth (Terra), then A water (Aqua), then again A air (Aer) and finally I fire (Ignis) on the top. This is not an artistic way to portrait an alchemical vessel, but a technical way to render it. In fact you will find the earth on the bottom and the fire on the top. And vice versa when the rotation of the processes will turn again.
In folio 5r our ancient author tries to clumsily explain the concept ( or to effectively hid) :…..“Earth, wind, air, soul, the virtue of Sun thins vapors, once thinned lifts them, lifted them it set them on fire, once set on fire pump them in impressionable way. Our stone go through entire, the earth in water, the water in air, the air in fire; this is the being, but one gets down: to action of the opposites in ascending and descending.”
To end with folio 9r: “Distinguish any element from the contrary element, and you will find what you wish, if you have well understand i.a.a.t.”
- Bib. Cas. Liber Laureatus: 1477;
- Ib. fol. 44r. Epist. Rosini a Euthesiam;
- Ib. fol. 60v.;
- Lib. Meth;
- Sanctus Asrop. Bib. Univ. Bol. 153 fol. 141;
- Bib. Univ. Bologna 830;
- Vat. Reg. lat. 1278 and Vitt. Eman. fondo gesuiti 2465, 336;