Furthermore some incorrect accentuations (for example in verò) suggests that the translation from arabic to latin was not carried out by spanish persons, but the original ibn-Umayl manuscripts were probably translated after having outreached Pyrenees.
Senior Zadith is moreover known to the large public for the engraving described in his Tabula Chimica, so I will follow all in order and begin from it. I choose to post the picture printed in Theatrum Chemicum (tome fifth, page 218), since in Biblioteca Chemica the same engraving is in a too small size, being equipped with other eleven pictures from the collection known as Azoth or Aurelia Occulta. Nevertheless the frequent errata and weak prints either in TC and or in BCC edition compelled me to refer to both.
My translation verbatim from latin of BCC Tome second, Liber or book III, Section I, Subsection XII, page 216 and Theatrum Chemicum, tome fifth, page 219. Expect a difficult and rough reading. I have to warn readers that the discrepancies which can be found with the arabic manuscripts, could not be attributed to me since I just translated from Latin.
Pictura Descriptio. Dixit Senior Zadith filius Hamuel. Intravi ego & Oboël charissima barba in domum quandam subterraneam & postea……
Picture description. Senior Zadith son of Hamuel said: Gorgeously bearded Oboël and I entered in a house in a certain sense done under the earth’s surface, and then I and Elhasam and the passionate Joseph had a gaze beyond all the gates (4), I saw in the ceiling the images of nine painted eagles, having their wings extended as they were flying, their paws really open and extended, and in one paw of every eagle something similar to a very stretched bow from which arrows were used to move. And in the right wall of the house, at entering left, the images of a standing man beautiful and perfect as much as required, clothed with different garments and colors, having hands extented to an inner thalamus, close to a certain statue standing into in the house, to the same side of the wall of the inner thalamus, to the left entering the thalamus in front of it. And it was sitting on a chatedra seat simile to physicians cathedrae and all extracted from that statue, and it (the statue) had in its lap over its arms and in hands extended over its knees, a marble table extracted from it ( the statue), long as an arm and large as a palm, and the fingers of the hand bent on the table as to keep it (the table) and the table was surely an open book which it is pleasant to have been taken for consideration, in that (table) and in part of the thalamus in which it (the statue) was sitting there were images of countless different things and strange words.
And there was in the table that it had in its lap half divided by a certain line and in that half image there were two fowls with their chest in the lower part bent, ot these fowls one had cut wings and the other had two wings, both grasped the tail with the beak of the other as though while flying they wanted to fly with the other and it (a fowl) wanted to detain the flying one with itself. There were on the other hand those two fowls to be together enclosed, painted in a sphere, quite the image of two in one, and was the head of the flying one necessarily from ( ex, or coming out from) two spheres, and over these two fowls necessarily the head of the table, near the fingers of the statue there was the image of a shining moon: and from this other part of the table another sphere, turning towards the inferior fowls. There were now five countless times, the clearly inferior two fowls, of course the image of the moon, and another sphere.
In the other hand the other half in the head of the table was bending towards the fingers of the statue, there was an image of a sun emitting beans, like an image of two in one. And in an other part another image of the sun with a descending bean. And these are three, of course two lights and two beans in one. Of this one a bean was descending and resting on the inferior part of the table, an encompassed black sphere is divided by its circumference and made of two thirds and a third.
The third really has the form of a crescent moon and the inferior part white without blackness and the black sphere encompasses it and their form is quite the form of two in one, and the sun is pure. And that is an image of one in the one. And those are similarly five, and the result is ten, according to the number of those eagles and black earths.
I exposed to you all this and composed in poetry and we have nothing but by the mercy of God, whose name be blessed, so realize and think well of it and over it, and I painted to you the single images of its table and in it there are images and representations in its place in this poetry, from these chapters you will be able to examine what these representations mean.
I even exposed and explained these ten representations and then demonstrated their aim in my verses, that clearly I could not without poetry, and be manifestly unveiled to you what that wise hid, who made that statue in his house, in which he described the whole science in his representations and taught his sapience in his stone and showed it to the clever.
You have to know that this statue is the representation of sapience, and which is existing in the table over his arms and knees in his lap, his science is hidden, whose I described by means of representations so to lead those who will acknowledge and understand, what wises had wanted for those approaching them.
- Published by E. Stapleton and M.Hidayat Husain in the volume 12 of “Memoirs of the Asiatic Society” 1933 (not verified);
- So the latin translation published in “ De chemia Senioris antiquissimi philosophi libellus” Strasbourg 1566 was not the first one;
- BCC Tome second, Liber or book III, Section I, Subsection XIII, page 235;
- I know in arabic version the writer appointed the place as the prisons of Joseph, but one can hardly find any trace of that here in Latin: in the sentence “universos carceres joseph ignitos” we do not have any genitive case form for Joseph, in fact “of Joseph” would be “Josephis” or “Josephi” , latins always declined personal names. Carcer-is means gate and consequently prison. Universos is not an ancient latin word. Of course it could be a medieval neologism. By the way the whole sentence is alchemically inconsistent, in both versions;