Spirit or Principle of Life or Mercurius. But we know that a powder can only be a Mercurius Philosophorum, or a Fixed Mercurius. Calcinated. or Ventilated. So here Glaser uses Alcohol in the arabic sense of very subtle powder non in western chemical sense.
Amalgam is commonly intended as the kneading of gold, silver and any other metal with quicksilver or argentum vivum. But here the chemical proceeding Glaser is not a common sense operation. He speaks of calcinating, which is, as we will see further on, a reduction in powder. Useful operation, if we want to sow a metal in its alchemical earth Mercurius Philosophorum. Indeed:
“this operation ( Amalgamate) is useful to reduce perfect metals in very small particles for when they are incorporated together, mercury is being exhaled little by little, and gives the metal reduced in powder at the bottom of the crucible,…..”
Do not be so sure of a dry way targeting because of the word “crucible”: we are here not told yet if a menstruum is then to be involved. Indeed now Glaser finds an use to this metallic powder:
“….and makes it more available to be dissolved in liqueur by menstruums: this operation is familiar to goldsmiths and gilders, which makes gold fluid and extensible on the items one wants from gold: Please note that iron and copper do not amalgamate with mercure, these metals are very impure, and terrestrial, having little to do with mercure, a substance which is subtle and pure”.
We cannot put a piece of metal into Universal Dissolvent (neither in chemical dissolvents you could), we need a subtle powder for the use. Menstruums were dissolvents at large where a wet way is involved. Chemical and alchemical. Glaser as many chemists of his age considers Alchemy as the most excellent Chemistry. You can discover about the very reason of this operation in my post on gold putrefaction in terra alba foliata. And now Glaser afford Calcination:
“Calcinate is to reduce in calx or powder by the actual or potential fire, actual fire is our ordinary and material fire, that we obtain from combustible materials, such as wood, coal, and others: the potential one is the strong waters fire and corrosive spirits; calcination serve better minerals than vegetables and animals, which may be calcinated simply by burning, but minerals and metals require very active and violent fire, as we teach in practice.”
Glaser here draws the basic difference between metallic and vegetal spagyria. Metals are difficult to sublimate and need a menstruum or dissolvent. Which cannot be Aqua Regia. Sometimes vegetal world may provide a dissolvent also for metallic use: Hollandus gives us a “recipe” for the use. Calx or powder essentially are oxides or other salts. We all know that gold is pretty difficult to reduce in salts. But, as afore mentioned, we cannot think of “plunge” a pure little piece of gold neither in Alcahest.
To be continued at Glaser 4 Chemical Operations