“Author Cui Nomen Hermes Malavici” New Light on the Bio-Bibliography of Michael Maier (1569–1622)

  • Karin Figala
  • Ulrich Neumann
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 140)


The panacea first advertised in 1610 in a book called Medicinae chymicae et veri potabilis auri assertio became famous among proponents of chymi-atria all over Europe as aurum potabile Anglicanum, but as aurum putabile it was ridiculed by its adversaries. The author of the Assertio, Francis Anthony (1550-1623), is styled doctor of philosophy and medicine on the title-pages of his works, but even in his own days was considered a quack by conservative physicians. Modern historiography, following more or less the verdict of Anthony’s contemporary critics, has not been much kinder to this «chemical empiric with no medical qualifications».3 It had to be conceded, however, that Anthony at least knew fairly well how to further his own cause. For example, in 1616 he set about to prove the curative effect of his «drinkable gold» in another treatise, so he had the book published in both a Latin and a vernacular version,4 obviously trying to reach the largest number of readers possible.


East India Company Scientific Biography Imperial Court Sole Authority Royal Library 
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  1. 2.
    Francis Anthony, Medicinae chymicae et veri potabilis auri assertio (Cambridge: C. Legge, 1610). On Anthony see British Biographical Archive, Microfiche-Edition, eds. P. Sieveking and L. Baillie, Munich: Saur, 1984-[hereafter BBA], mf. 31, panels 213-40; Dictionary of National Biography [hereafter DNB], 2 (1885), pp. 47-48; G. Clark, A History of the Royal College of Physicians of London, 1 (Oxford, 1964), pp. 201–203; A.G. Debus, The English Paracelsians (London, 1965), pp. 142-44; id., The Chemical Philosophy, 1 (New York, 1977), pp. 184-85.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Francis Anthony, The Apologie, or Defence of a Verity Heretofore Published Concerning a Medicine Called Aurum Potabile (London: J. Legatt, 1616); id., Apologia veritatis illucescentis, pro auropotabili (London: J. Legatt, 1616). The Latin version was reprinted together with the Veri potabilis auri assertio in Francisci Antonii philosophi et medici Londinensis panacea aurea sive tractatus duo de ipsius auro potabili [...] opera M. B. F. B. (Hamburg: G. L. Frobenius, 1618). The editor, who appears to have been a friend of Anthony’s, is almost certainly Melchior Breler Fuldensis Buchonius (d. 1627); on Breler, physician in ordinary to Duke August the Younger of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1579-1666), see Deutsches Biographisches Archiv, Microfiche-Edition, ed. B. Fabian, Munich: Saur, 1982-[hereafter DBA], mf. 142, pan. 126-29.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    W. Hubicki, art. Maier, Michael, in Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 9 (1974), p. 23; cf. J. Telle, art. Maier, in Literaturlexikon: Autoren und Werke deutscher Sprache, ed. W. Killy, 7 (1990), pp. 428 ff. References to older bio-bibliographic studies on Maier may also be found inGoogle Scholar
  4. J. Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 2 (Glasgow, 1906) pp. 62–66, inGoogle Scholar
  5. K. Figala and U. Neumann, “Ein früher Brief Michael Maiers (1568-1622) an Heinrich Rantzau”, Archives internationales d’histoire des Sciences, 35 (1985), pp. 303–29, and in id., “Michael Maier (1569-1622): New Bio-Bibliographical Material”, in Alchemy Revisited: Proceedings of the International Conference on the History of Alchemy at the University of Groningen, 17-19 April 1989, ed. Z.R.W.M. von Martels (Leiden, 1990) pp. 34-50.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    The most complete bibliography available of Maier’s works is still in J. Moller, Cimbria Litterata, 1 (Copenhagen, 1744) pp. 370–80; to be supplemented by Telle, op. cit. n. 6, passim; Figala/Neumann (1990), op. cit. n. 6, passim; B. T. Moran, The Alchemical World of the German Court: Occult Philosophy and Chemical Medicine in the Circle of Moritz of Hessen (1572-1632) (Stuttgart, 1991), pp. 102-11. A critical catalogue of Maier’s writings by the present authors is well in progress. The contents of Maier’s generally known works have been epitomized by a number of authors, e.g. J. B. Craven, Count Michael Maier, Doctor of Philosophy and Medicine, Alchemist, Rosicrucian, Mystic, 1568-1622 (Kirkwall, 1910) (2nd edn, London, 1968); H.M.E. De Jong, Michael Maier’s‘Atalanta fugiens’: Sources of an Alchemical Book of Emblems (Leiden, 1969), pp. 7-14 (= Janus, Supplém., 8); J. Read, Prelude to Chemistry: An Outline of Alchemy, its Literature and Relationships (London, 1936) (3rd edn, London 1961), pp. 228-54; H. Schick, Das ältere Rosenkreuzertum: Ein Beitrag zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Freimaurerei (Berlin, 1942) (repr. Struckum s. a.), pp. 246-57; F. A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (London, 1972), pp. 81-90.Google Scholar
  7. 25.
    See Figala/Neumann, op. cit. n. 6, pp. 305-306, 326. On Rantzau see D. Lohmeier, “Heinrich Rantzau und die Adelskultur der frühen Neuzeit”, in Arte et Marte: Studien zur Adelskultur des Barockzeitalters in Schweden, Dänemark und Schleswig-Holstein, ed. D. Lohmeier, (Neumünster, 1978), pp. 67-84; R. J. W. Evans, “Rantzau and Welser, Aspects of Later German Humanism”, in History of European Ideas 5, 3 (1984), pp. 257–72, esp. p. 271, n. 25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 27.
    Hubicki, op. cit. n. 6, p. 23. On the Goebel family see S. Sokól, Medycyna w Gdańsku w dobie Odrodzenia (Wroclaw, 1960), passim; F. Schwarz, “Danziger Ärzte im 16.-18. Jahrhundert”, in Danziger familiengeschichtliche Beiträge, 4 (1939), pp. 31–32, or the studies by H. Scholz, e.g. “Über Ärzte und Heilkundige zur Zeit des Herzogs Albrecht von Preußen”, in Jahrbuch der Albertus-Universität zu Königsberg, 12 (1962), pp. 84-85.Google Scholar
  9. 31.
    On Rostock see K.-F. Olechnowitz, “Die Geschichte der Universität Rostock (1419-1789)”, in Geschichte der Universität Rostock, 1 (Rostock, 1969), pp. 3–82.Google Scholar
  10. 48.
    See e.g. Maier’s Verum inventum (Frankfurt: N. Hoffmann for L. Jennis, 1619), pp. 85–90.Google Scholar
  11. 54.
    Coelidonia, fol. 5v; the date 1608 can also be deduced from the dedication of Maier’s Cantilenae, op. cit. n. 21, fol. 4v: see J. Rebotier, “L’art de musique chez Michel Maier”, in Revue de l’histoire des religions, 182 (1972), pp. 33–34.Google Scholar
  12. 62.
    See ibid., sig. *** 2r: letter of Rosenberg to Croll, dated Wittingau, 31 August 1608; cf. the marginal note on sig. [**4]v and W. Kaiser, “Oswald Croll (1560-1609)”, in Zahn-, Mund-und Kieferheilkunde, 64 (1976), pp. 716–27, esp. p. 721.Google Scholar
  13. 83.
    Fludd’s Declaratio brevis to King James I, first published by W.H. Huffman and R.A. Seelinger, Jr., in Ambix, 25 (1978), pp. 69–92; cited after Huffman, op. cit. n. 81, p. 214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 91.
    For Philipp cf. P. A. F. Walther, “Landgraf Philipp v. Hessen, ganannt «der Dritte» oder auch «von Butzbach»”, Archivßr Hessische Geschichte und Altertumskunde, 11 (1865/67), pp. 269–403. On Mögling see the articles by J. Teile, in Literaturlexikon, op. cit. n. 6, 8 (1990), pp. 178 f., and U. Neumann, in NDB (in print). Mögling, by the way, is mentioned right after Helt in Andreae’s autobiography, op. cit. n. 88.Google Scholar
  15. 94.
    On Maier’s publishers see M. Sondheim, “Die De Bry, Matthäus Merian und Wilhelm Fitzer: Eine Frankfurter Verlegerfamilie des 17. Jahrhunderts”, in Philobiblon, 6 (1933), pp. 9–34.Google Scholar
  16. J. Benzing, “Johann Theodor de Bry, Levinus Hulsius Witwe und Hieronymus Galler als Verleger und Drucker zu Oppenheim (1610-20)”, in Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel, 23 (1967), pp. 2952–78; E. Trenczak, “Lucas Jennis als Verleger alchemistischer Bildtraktate”, in Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 1965, pp. 324-37.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

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  • Karin Figala
  • Ulrich Neumann

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