Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire by Tara Nummedal

By Tara Nummedal

What special the genuine alchemist from the fraud? this query lively the lives and labors of the typical men—and sometimes women—who made a residing as alchemists within the 16th- and seventeenth-century Holy Roman Empire. As purveyors of useful innovations, innovations, and remedies, those marketers have been prized through 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 monetary ills.

Drawing on felony trial documents, contracts, laboratory inventories, satires, and vernacular alchemical treatises, Alchemy and Authority within the Holy Roman Empire situates the typical alchemists, mostly invisible to trendy students in the past, on the middle of the improvement of early glossy technological know-how and trade. Reconstructing the workaday global of entrepreneurial alchemists, Tara Nummedal indicates how allegations of fraud formed their practices and clients. those debates not just show drastically different understandings of what the “real” alchemy used to be and who may possibly perform it; additionally they attach a suite of little-known practitioners to the biggest questions on trade, belief, and highbrow authority in early sleek Europe.

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