Title: Calcining quicksilver in various ways to use them in different things.
Quicksilver calcination is performed in various ways and very different from one another; the first way to calcine it till red calx is with aqua fortis as I demonstrated when speaking of silver.
There is another way to calcine it on its own in a clay pot, oblong, with its cap and receptacle, and this pot will be put on a little iron fence (7) and over a fire and give it heat till it will remain calcined. Another calcination can be done with quicksilver and sulphur in a pot clay and give heat to them as long as a red blood calx will be obtained. In a further way one can calcine putting it together with iron and they calcine together in a close fellowship embracing each other. And those are all wonderful ways to calcine mercury and those are known by very few people and indeed are close secrets which are useful in alchemical art; thus there are very few works that we can do without them, without entering quicksilver, the master, and the real sulphur, and the Prima Materia Metallorum. Thus those workers who understand well this matters of quicksilver are bound to be superior to others.
Title: How to calcine copper in different ways for Alchemy and other things.
Copper is calcined in different ways, according to operators mind; one calcines with vitriol, depositing layer over layer in a clay potter, and giving reverberation fire from time to time till calcination. One can also calcine with sulphur and salt and tartar in the same way. Further one can calcine with aqua fortis, like silver, and various other ways which I do not mean to mention as they are not so important.
Title: Method to calcine lead in various ways.
I will go on saying about lead calcination, which is important to use in different occurring things, as anyone will understand. One can calcine lead in different ways, but the easiest is not that commonly employed by many, it is that instead: one takes lead in subtle foils and does layer over layer with ground sulphur, then one has to cover very well for it must not breathing and place it on a great fire so to be covered by flame for about six hours, then take it off and it will be calcined and it will be a very black powder. One can also calcine with a very strong vinegar and then makes vinegar evaporate (8) and a white calx will remain. One can also calcine with salt in the same way as one does with sulphur; these three calcinations are the best one can do, in order to burn off those waste and nasty things which lead does contain and then it result being clean and neat. When lead is so purified is ready to be used in many important operations as in surgery as in mineral works. In fact these are the right calcinations to do on saturn, as one can see by experience.”
In the end a trivial note: capricci is in an italian term to point at artistic pieces denoting a sudden change of mind, or better a strong creativity.
- Many authors define Solution and Putrefaction as being the same operation;
- Argento Vivo in the italian text, which can be translated in quicksilver-metallic mercury as well as in Quicksilver-our Mercurius. In this case metallic mercury can fit;
- Living Sulphur, or Solfo vivo as used by Fioravanti, is not common sulphur, but alchemical Sulphur, as a matter of fact this term has often been used by iatro-chemists to define an alchemical sulphur, since they sometimes called simply sulphur some combustibile oils. Arsenic can be another synonym for Living Sulphur;
- Aqua Fortis, Nitric Acid (HNO3);
- Saltpeter defines either potassium nitrate or Mercurius Philosophorum. Here is intended as potassium nitrate;
- Sal Armoniacum is Mercurius at large and specifically a spirit when separating from its body. Unless Fioravanti intend it as a more vulgar sal ammoniacus;
- Fioravanti employs the term “celata” which is archaic and meant either helmet protection to put over eyes or little fence.
- Fioravanti here uses the very ambiguous term “essalar” which is of difficult interpretation. Indeed in modern italian we have “esalare” meaning to evaporate and “salare” meaning to salt. Vinegar plus common salt was a very common way to reduce minerals in powder, but usually both ingredients were put in the same time, not salt well after vinegar;