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 dwelling as alchemists within the 16th- and seventeenth-century Holy Roman Empire. As purveyors of sensible recommendations, innovations, and therapies, those marketers have been prized through princely consumers, who relied upon alchemists to strengthen their political fortunes. whilst, satirists, artists, and different commentators used the determine of the alchemist as a logo for Europe’s social and financial 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 fashionable students beforehand, on the heart of the advance of early glossy technology and trade. Reconstructing the workaday global of entrepreneurial alchemists, Tara Nummedal indicates how allegations of fraud formed their practices and customers. those debates not just exhibit vastly assorted understandings of what the “real” alchemy was once and who may perform it; additionally they attach a collection of little-known practitioners to the most important questions on trade, belief, and highbrow authority in early glossy Europe.

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Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire by Tara Nummedal


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