The second part of Carlo Lancillotti’s commentary on Basilius Valentinus’ recipes on Antimony. Alchemy, ancient chemistry, and Spagyric mixed to discern attentively.
In Farmaceutica Antimoniale, ovvero il Trionfo dell’Antimonio, Modena 1683, we have to pay attention and find out what is Alchemy and what is iatro-chemistry. A raw mineral matter sublimation and a too hasty consideration of a following red oil perhaps lead more reasonably to a medicine preparation since subtleness, back then, was a must for remedies to be readily absorbed. Nevertheless, a thorough reading of this article and the previous articles on my Trionfo dell’Antimonio translation may greatly simplify the difficult Triumphant Chariot.
The previous articles at Lancillotti and the Starry Regulus according to Basilius and Lancillotti: Glass and Oil according to Currus Thriumphalis. Part 1.
Chapter 11, XI, Ordinary Oil of Antimony Glass:
“Subtly grind the glass as much as possible and pour over Verjuice or Agresto (1), well clear in a flat bottom bottle and put to digest for some days, then separate the juice from the feces, then with white sugar (dissolved in a little bit of distilled vinegar) as much as the verjuice was, that’s to say in equal parts, place the whole in a well-luted retort in an oven, and in the beginning give a moderate fire, then increase it until a red oil comes out, which will be exalted by a very rectified spirit of wine.
The said oil is perfect for epilepsy. The dosage is from six to eight drops in a suitable vehicle.
This oil, adding a little of rectified spirit of salt into the calx of gold (prepared as we will say on), will make the tincture pass through the alembic, leaving the body at all, that the method to achieve such a treasure, we have understood from Kerckringer, here posted, to be used to public well-being.
Chapter twelve, XII: Basilius Valentinus Gold Tincture, explained by Kerkringer.
Take some of the above mentioned red oil, and get it rectified by retort, and you will have a white acid oil, but agreeable, and over it pour half its weight of spirit of salt in a flask ( to make them unify) put in digestion for an entire month, then distill three times by retort, to get them perfectly unified and placed in a bean ( tool, not vegetable) with gold inside, prepared in form, and that the liquor has to be more than the gold… six or more traversi of that (original: sei o più traversi di deta, perhaps traversi is a form of measurement like the notches on a container, in fact, “traverso” in Italian can also mean sign along the opposite direction to the length), put to digest for a month and you will have the above mentioned oil tinted by gold tincture, which you will pour tilting in the retort and by moderate fire you will extract the humidity and will remain in the bottom of the said retort a red power, which you will get sweet, washing it with distilled water, and again you will extract from the said powder the tincture by the rectified spirit of wine, and pass through an alembic with the said tincture which putting in circulation for six months you will have a very sweet and agreeable liquor, which given ten or twelve grains in some suitable liquor removes any illness ( being a universal remedy) causing sweats and corroborating all the principal members; as I say from experience.
Nevertheless, I warn that all that may happen better when the mentioned remedies are given after the universal purgations because, finding the body well clear, they may take effect sooner and better.
Chapter 13, XIII: Calcination of Gold according to Basilius.
The gold gets calcinated by means of mercury and evaporation of the said, that the method is in my Guida alla Chimica (2), then you have to dissolve in Aqua Regia from Saltpeter (3) and Sal Armoniac, equal parts, and from crushed fire stone three times distilled the water in the retort, putting very few matter at a time, then take a part of the above mentioned gold, and three parts of the mentioned water, and dissolved the gold, take away the water from the matter by distillation, then to the calx which remains in the bottom of the urine ( orina is the printed word. it is not a mistake: sal Armoniac was sometimes made from urine, see footnote 3), you will put as much of the said water as it will be able to dissolve it, that has to be placed in balneum to digest, to make that you will separate the feces, which will get separated from that solution, which will digest in balneum for eight, or nine natural days, after you will extract the water again which will have an oil texture, over that you will pour the mentioned water, distilling as above said and repeating as many times the said operation as till the water, which will coming out pretty insipid, in that moment you will impregnate the above mentioned mass with new aqua regia, distilling by sand, and repeating it many times, until you see, the gold quite rising to the top of the retort, then you will extract the water till the texture of an oil, which is to be placed in glass in a suitable fire to crystallize. And of these said crystals, part one. Purged quicksilver part two, you will amalgam together according to the art, which amalgams you will put in a crucible to allow mercury to exhale. At the bottom, it will remain a violet color powder which will serve the above-mentioned effect.
Chapter 14, XIV: Antimonium Arcane.
Take raw Antimony, and salt Armoniac equal parts, put in a retort with a vessel in a recipient ( as you will see the below setting is that of Kerckringer in his commentary on Triumphant Chariot) so that antimony distills with salt armoniac; and sublimes all suddenly, and once done you will take all the sublimed and wash with rain water, distilled a little heated, that repeating many times, so that the antimony flowers get free from every salt armoniac, and then dry at Sun heat, or oven they have to be put in pelican, pouring over some rectified spirit of wine, which cover them by just two fingers ( Lancillotti doesn’t mention what kind of pelican he means. Anyway, Kerckringer puts in display a double pelican ) and put to circulate until, to be seen, said flowers are united with the said spirit in form, that you don’t see distinction between said spirit and said flowers, in a way that the whole is dissolved and united, which done is then distilled, and to the distilled get added some spirit of wine, and get circulated again, until the separation of feces, from which separating the liquor, which is the spirit of vitriol, and the spirit of wine united with the arcane, and rectifying it another time, it will be kept in a closed vessel for the use, which is of the said arcane taking some drops in rose-water as Basilius says.
The first image above is the Kerckringer set. The second is Lancillotti’s: a retort A is inside an oven. In the retort, the matter distills in container B, which is in an oven, and the container, a bowl C, is placed with its helm D, where the antimony flowers sublime.
Chapter XV, Elixir of Antimony.
Take some good raw antimony and subtle grind, unify with half its weight of salt armoniac, and get to sublime. The sublimed has to be distilled three times by retort, separating from the feces each distillation, then sweetening. The remaining powder, after dried, has to be put into a well-closed vessel to reverberate at the moderate fire, increasing it till the matter is as red as cinnabar; that done, pour over some distilled vinegar and will extract the tincture till red in balneum, according to art, and after you will slowly distill the vinegar, and to that remained in he bottom pour over some spirit of wine. You will again extract tincture, clear and beautiful, which has to be separated from the feces and will be united with half its weight of real tincture of corals, and tincture of rhubarb, and given eight drops of that mixture will purge the body without pains.
Chapter XVI, Fixed Powder of Antimony.
Take very good raw antimony, of the quantity you like, and put in a glass bowl, pouring over a lot of Aqua Fortis ( made from Vitriol, Niter) which overwhelms by six fingers, then put to digest in tepid cinders for ten days, and the vessel to be well closed, and having extracted the tincture, empty by bending, and filter it, so to be clear from every feces then putting it in a retort, will extract on sand with Aqua Fortis and will remain in the bottom a yellow powder, and dry, over that you will soak with distilled rain water, as much as was the Aqua Fortis, and putting again in digestion, you will have a red tincture, which you will filter, and by balneum the water will be extracted, and in the bottom of the vessel a red powder will remain, pouring over it some distilled vinegar, putting in digestion, which you will have a red tincture, like blood, which separated from the feces, you will extract the vinegar, and you will have a red powder, which you will reverberate three days long to open fire, then with the spirit of wine, you will again extract the tincture, which freed from feces will be distilled, and the Spirit will separate and a red powder remain in the bottom, and fixed of great virtue.
The image on the left shows oven A, where earthenware is inside the oven, and a roca B is joined with container C. (This a Lancillotti’s invention to easily extract every fixed metallic spirit, which is very difficult to get by the retort, like the Vitriol Oil and simile).
The half drachm dosage is taken three times a day, that’s to say, morning, noon, and evening. That will renew and grow hair, and the man will be renewed completely and live healthy till his hour.
Chapter XVII, Antimony Oil, that’s to say, extraction of the said elucidated by Kerckringer.
take some raw antimony of the best quality. The purest you can find, and put in a glass bowl with its own distilled vinegar, overwhelmed by forty-six fingers, and putting on the blind head (helm) put to digest for forty days to extract the tincture, which will be red, like blood, which empty by tilting, you will extract the vinegar at the moderate fire. The remaining fire will be extracted by good Spirit of wine, a very red tincture, which you will put to circulate into a pelican by two empty handles or in the two brothers (double pelican) in balneum mariae, and keeping the circulation till you will see the tincture ascending with the spirit, and making itself volatile. You will be the said matter in a glass bowl, and the spirit will be distilled, which will pass very red by the alembic, and again you will extract the spirit by very moderate fire. You will have a greasy and wonderful oil that will remove desperate diseases. Chapter XVIII, Other extraction, that’s to say, Oil.
Take some antimony and tartar salt n, put them into the crucible to melt, and then throw them as when you make the glass. That hot get it crushed and put in common water, in quantity suitable to extract all the tincture, which will precipitate with distilled vinegar, and dried the said precipitated, put it in a glass bowl pouring over some very pure and purified spirit of wine, and then filtering the extraction you will extract two parts of the above said spirit and a tincture will remain in the bottom, which will not mix with the extracted spirit. Still, one will float above the other, like the oil with the water, a very wonderful thing; the dosage is from 1 scruple (20 grains) to two.
Chapter XVIII, Other above Mentioned.
Take Vitriol and common salt in equal parts, and put in a vitrified earthenware, and very well luted, and placed in a reverberation oven, and at first with a very moderate fire, in the last very strong you will distill a water, and a matter very thick like the oil sludge and the whole will be kept for use, and the remaining Caput Mortuum will be crushed and ground with the said, since very easily will be converted in water and soon put on a marble stone, or a sheet, or glass plates in the cooking room, or in another cold and humid place, to be converted in water, which you will filter through an emporetica paper, then take the most excellent antimony you can get and subtly grind and put it in a flat bottom bowl, and pour over some said filtered water, which will overwhelm by four fingers, or even more, and put slowly in cinders, and let as long as the said water is purple color, then you will increase the fire till strong, carrying the vessel in a hotter sand and the said water by that heat will get a beautiful oriental sapphire color, and filtered the said solution of Caput Mortuum pour over some common water and a white powder will precipitate, which purges by vomit from three to ten grains.
Of the said solution made in the cellar, you will convert the iron lamina in real copper, making boiling into the said water the said lamina, but do follow our operations.
Take the said water, the above-mentioned distilled oil and put over the Crocus of Mars prepared with sulfur, and reverberate till redness; put to digest with heat, you will extract a red, like blood, tincture, take of the said part of the extraction of antimony made with saltpeter and the spirit of wine three parts of the water of mercury extracted as I will teach you further on, a part you will calcine of gold in that dissolved water, half part mixed all the mentioned things, and put all in a retort at moderated fire ( after those said things are clear, not doing distill again) and distilling a wonderful powder will remain in the bottom, and that is useful against the old sores. As Kerckringer says, it is good to remove leprosy from metals.