"A landmark in the development of Chemistry as a scientific subject"

MEDICINE. CHEMISTRY. MAGNETISM. OCCULTISM. Paracelsus [Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim] (1493-1541)

Archidoxa ... zwölff Bücher/ darin alle gehaimnüß der natur eröffnet ... Auch noch vier andere Büchlein ... Von D. Iohanne Alberto Vvimpinæo. [BOUND WITH] Etliche Tractetlein zur Archidoxa gehörig. 1. Von dem Magneten ... 2. De occulta Philosophia ... 3. die recht weiß zu administrirn die Medicin ... 4. Von vilerley gifftigen Thiern ...

Münich: Adam Berg, 1570


Quarto: Two works bound as one: 22 x 16 cm. I. 128 lvs. ):(4, *4, A-Z4, a-g4. With a title portrait of the author and two further portrait woodcuts of the author and the editor, Johann Albert von Wimpfen, by Virgil Solis. II. 36 lvs. A-I4. With a woodcut portrait on the title verso.

I. FIRST EDITION OF THIS TRANSLATION, second issue (the Latin original first appeared at Strasbourg in 1569.) II. FIRST EDITION. Consists of Sudhoff 119 (Archidoxa) and Sudhoff 128 (Etliche Tractetlein) both published by Adam Berg in 1570. This is a reissue of the sheets with a new title page and preliminaries.

An exceptional copy, bound in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin (with decorative rolls of King David, Christ Salvator, and the Apostles John and Paul) over wooden boards with the brass clasps intact. Both the binding and text are in excellent condition with only minor faults: Minor wear to boards and short split to spine, light toning to parts of the text.

"It cannot be denied that Paracelsus’ 'Archidoxa' forms a landmark in the development of Chemistry as a scientific subject, because it presented for the first time a kind of system of Chemistry. His chemical doctrine embraces all chemical substances known to him and evolves a classification of operations and materials. In this he precedes Andreas Libavius ... Paracelsus deserves particular credit for the care which he took in the medicinal use of his chemical preparations. In fact, he made their detoxication his main concern ... Paracelsus freed the final product, such as the “Quintessence” of metals, from all sharpness by washing it with alcohol and water. This particularly applies to the heating with saltpetre which brings about oxidation and thereby renders soluble insoluble combinations of metals or minerals ... Such conversion made the minerals and metals suitable for medicinal use." (Pagel, Paracelsus p. 275-6).

"Certainly Paracelsus was the first to devise such advanced laboratory techniques as the use of detoxication and freezing to concentrate alcohol and invented new preparations (including those of the ether group and probably tartar emetic); he was moreover, the first to attempt to construct a chemical system." (DSB)

"The Archidoxa went through several editions within a short period of time. The text to this German edition was edited after manuscript sources and ‘often differs textually from Toxites’ edition [Strasburg, 1570], frequently offering better readings, which often correspond with those found in Huser’s [great collected edition] ... Wimpfen follows his source more faithfully than the previous editors ... His life of Paracelsus again differs from Toxites’ and Perna’s edition, Wimpfen obviously using a different manuscript." (Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica pp. 191-96)

"The 'Etliche Tractetlein zur Archidoxa'consists of four tracts. The first deals with the magnet and its use in the treatment of different diseases; the second tract, on occult philosophy (including a chapter on imagination and one on possessed people) is of interest for medical psychology; the third one deals with the administration of medicines, and the last one with snakes and other poisonous animals."(Hill)

Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica 129 (both parts, originally issued as Sudhoff 119 and 128); VD16 P 393 and 629; Brüning 0416 and 0417