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2020-05-20 19:02:04
Peter I, the Great, Czar of Russia (1672-1725).
Autograph manuscript signed ("Petr").
No place or date, 1677. 4to. 1 page (18 lines). Curious list of planetary and astrological (zodiac) symbols, all annotated in Russian and signed by Czar Peter the Great, who may have been introduced to astrology and alchemy by his chief physician, the state councillor Robert Erskine (1677-1718), known for his Paracelsian leanings. "The extent of Erskine’s absorption in alchemical questions is demonstrated in a flurry of letters he received in August and September 1717 from Johannes de Wilde, a self-styled 'Philochimicus' in Amsterdam. De Wilde provides plentiful evidence of Erskine’s embrace of iatrochemistry. On August 10, 1717, for example, de Wilde wrote that 'I have received by report that Your Excellency regards Arcana Medico-Chimica as of great value.' The 'philochimicus' then seeks to promote his alchemical adeptness by providing Erskine with a recipe for potable gold ('aurum potabile'). Rather than dismiss de Wilde as a charlatan, Erskine actually proposed to take him into service in St. Petersburg. According to de Wilde, the only reason he did not accept the offer was due to his suffering from 'fluxum haemorrhoidum'. Interestingly, de Wilde promoted his alchemical services in a variety of ways, ranging from offering to produce Johannes Baptista van Helmont’s 'aurum horizontale', to bolstering the Tsar’s treasury with gold and silver and to providing a 'delightful scent' of an 'aqua rosa' for Catherine, Peter’s wife" (R. Collis, Introduction to: A Curious Tsar. Peter the Great and Discovering Nature’s Secrets in Amsterdam. Exhibition catalogue, 2013). - A few paper … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Antiquariat INLIBRIS Gilhofer Nfg. GmbH [Vienna, A, Austria]
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