The Mirror of Alchimy

Roger Bacon

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  • EAN: 9788829599349

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The Mirror of Alchimy is a short alchemical manual, known in Latin as Speculum Alchemiae. Translated in 1597, it was only the second alchemical text printed in the English language. Long ascribed to Roger Bacon (1214-1294), the work is more likely the product of an anonymous author who wrote between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries.

The Mirror of Alchimy is a translation of earlier works found in Latin and French. The earliest known manuscript copy is in Latin and dates from the fifteenth century. It was published as Speculum Alchemiae in Johannes Petreius' De alchimia. This was the first alchemical compendium, and was printed in Nuremberg in 1541.The volume also included five works attributed to Geber, the works of Calid and Ortolanus, and three other texts.

On the title page the publisher describes the book as The mirror of alchimy, composed by the thrice-famous and learned fryer, Roger Bachon. Also a most excellent and learned discourse of the admirable force and efficacie of Art and Nature, written by the same Author. With certain other worthie treatises of the like argument. In the first chapter pseudo-Bacon describes alchemy as a science teaching how to make and compound a certain medicine, which is called Elixir, the which when it is cast upon metals or imperfect bodies, does fully perfect them in the very projection. The author then goes on to describe the seven metals and the method for creating the elixir.

It is a short treatise broken into seven chapters, some of which are only a paragraph long:
  • Of The Definitions Of Alchemy
  • Of The Natural Principles, And Procreation Of Minerals
  • Out Of What Things The Matter Of Elixir Must Be More Nearly Extracted
  • Of The Manner Of Working, And Of Moderating, And Continuing The Fire
  • Of The Quality Of The Vessel And Furnace
  • Of The Accidental And Essential Colours Appearing In The Work
  • How To Make Projection Of The Medicine Upon Any Imperfect Body
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