Economic History

Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire by Tara Nummedal

By Tara Nummedal

What wonderful the genuine alchemist from the fraud? this question lively the lives and labors of the typical men—and sometimes women—who made a dwelling as alchemists within the 16th- and seventeenth-century Holy Roman Empire. As purveyors of functional ideas, innovations, and treatments, those marketers have been prized by way of princely consumers, who relied upon alchemists to reinforce their political fortunes. whilst, satirists, artists, and different commentators used the determine of the alchemist as a logo for Europe’s social and fiscal ills.
Drawing on felony trial files, contracts, laboratory inventories, satires, and vernacular alchemical treatises, Alchemy and Authority within the Holy Roman Empire situates the typical alchemists, principally invisible to trendy students previously, on the heart of the improvement of early sleek technological know-how and trade. Reconstructing the workaday international of entrepreneurial alchemists, Tara Nummedal exhibits how allegations of fraud formed their practices and clients. those debates not just exhibit vastly diversified understandings of what the “real” alchemy was once and who may well perform it; additionally they attach a suite of little-known practitioners to the biggest questions about trade, belief, and highbrow authority in early smooth Europe.

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Whether Latin or vernacular, this medieval alchemical corpus was becoming increasingly available to sixteenth-century Europeans. 23 When Sömmering recommended Sternhals’s Ritter Krieg to Julius, for example, he could only have had a manuscript in mind, since this fi fteenthcentury text would not be available in print for another two decades. 24 Sixteenth-century readers had access to ancient treatises on alchemy as well as works by medieval authors. 25 The most influential of the ancient alchemical sages to appear in print was Hermes Trismegistus, imagined to be a contemporary of Moses.

21 As historians of science have begun to follow natural knowledge beyond universities and academies and into princely courts, artisanal workshops, households, museums, marketplaces, and ships bound for the Americas, they have brought the history of science into much closer dialogue with the broader history of Europe. This book aims to contribute to this process by engaging issues of central concern to social and cultural historians of early modern Europe: the organization of work, social mobility, court culture, and crime.

1415–ca. 1490). Ripley eventually responded (according to Norton), impressed with Norton’s virtue and perseverance. “My very trusty, my deere beloved Brother,” he allegedly wrote, “I must you answer, it may be none other; / The tyme is come you shall receive this Grace, / To your greate comfort and to your solace . . ” 59 Next, Norton recalled, This Letter receiving, I hasted full score, To ride to my Master an hundred miles and more; And there Forty dayes continually, I learned all the seacrets of Alkimy .

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