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FASZINATION

ZARATHUSHTRA

MIRKOSLADEK

Michael Stausberg, Faszination Zarathushtra: Zoroaster und die Europäi-

sche Religionsgeschichte der frühen Neuzeit, 2 vols., Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter 1998.

Frances A. Yates hat in den sechziger Jahren ein wichtiges, neues, wenn auch immer noch umstrittenes Kapitel der kulturwissenschaftlichen Forschung der Frihen Neuzeit geschrieben: ihr Buch Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tra- dition (1964) hat zum ersten Mal historisch-kritisch die Rolle des Hermes Trismegistos in der fruhneuzeitlichen Kultur dargestellt. Sie hatte damit nicht nur die unterschatzte Rolle hermetischer Texte in der Geisteskultur der Re-

naissance ins Licht gemckt, sondern auch einer ganzen Generation jiingerer Gelehrter - zunachst ihren Studenten und Kollegen vom Warburg-Institut, bald danach auch denjenigen in anderen Zentren friihneuzeitlicher Studien -

einen wichtigen Impuls gegeben. Obwohl einige ihrer damaligen Thesen heute zu gewagt und unprazise erscheinen, ein Teil ihrer Argumentation und einige zu hochfliegende Gedankengange einer kritischen Prufung nicht mehr stand- halten, sind bis heute dieses wie auch andere Werke Jber die Hermetik und Hermetismen der Renaissance nicht mehr wegzudenken. Die Rolle und die Bedeutung des Mercurius Termaximus in der Geisteskultur der Frühen Neu- zeit wurde davor (und oft auch danach) von den besten Forschem auf diesem

Gebiet absichtlich oder unabsichtlich fbersehen. In der Reihe mytho-histori- scher und heroischer, aufjeden Fall wirkungsgeschichtlich unterschatzter Per- sbnlichkeiten der europaischen Geistesgeschichte, denen die Frihe Neuzeit viel mehr Bedeutung zugeschrieben hatte als viele es heute immer noch wahr- nehmen wollen, kann Zarathushtra mit dem "dreimalgrol3en Hermes" durch- aus konkurrieren. Die opulente Habilitationsschrift von Michael Stausberg ist

Ein sehr

ambitioses

seiner Rezeption

in der europaischen

Geistesgeschichte

gewidmet.

Vorhaben, das meines Wissens keinen Vorlaufer hat.

Nach

der

Einleitung,

die

den

methodischen

und

begriffshistorischen

Forschungsstand

im 14. Und 15. Jahrhundert

Die von Plethon edierten, dem Zoroaster zugeschriebenen Oracula

Chaldaica,

te in der Gelehrtenwelt

des 15. Und 16. Jahrhunderts

erortert, beginnt Stausberg mit der "Renaissance"

bei Georg Gemisthos

Zoroasters

Plethon und Marsilio Ficino.

wie Stausberg sie nennt, hat-

einen enormen Einflul3.

die 'letzte heilige Schrift der Antike',

207

Nicht nur, weil man sie damals fur authentisch gehalten hat. Zusammen mit dem Corpus Hermeticum bildete sie die Hauptreferenz aller der prisca theologia gewidmeten Geister und ergänzte diese im Rahmen der altemativen

philosophisch-theologischen Kultur der Renaissance bis hin zu Bruno, Camp- anella und der Platonischen Schule von Cambridge, die letztere bereits im tie- fen Seicento. Georg Gemisthos Plethon scheint unter der EinfluB eines Juden Namens Eusaios (Elischa) gestanden zu haben, der ein Kenner persischer und arabi- scher Aristoteles-Kommentatoren gewesen war, über Moses undj iidische Tra- dition dagegen anscheinend wenig wul3te. Von Eusaios hatte Plethon auch Jber Zoroaster erfahren, und damit sind sowohl Plethons Quelle(n), als auch spatere Autoren, die unter seinem EinfluB standen, halbwegs defmiert. Eusaios scheint viel von Suhrawardi ubernommen zu haben, der sowohl

Zarathushtra wie Hermes Trismegistos der griechischen Philosophie voraus- setzte und die letztere als "Erleuchtung" alter iranischer und agyptischer Weis- heit sah. Trotzdem scheint es Stausberg 'unwahrscheinlich, dal3Plethon Werke Sohrawardis oder Qutb al-Din al Sirazis kannte'. Er macht daher einen histo- risch wie sprachlich wichtigen Unterschied zwischen "Magiern" und "Ma- ger", so wie auf Franzosisch schon zwischen "Magiciens" und "Mages" unter- schieden wird: wahrend die ersten Zauberer sind, sind die "Mager" Priester Zarathushtras und als solche vorrangig in diesem Rahmen interessant. Staus- berg betont weiter den ftir die Praktiken der neuplatonischen Schule von Carreggi, danach aber fur einen immer noch unterschatzten Teil friih- neuzeitlicher Kunstwerke wichtigen magischen Aspekt der Chaldaischen Orakel: Kultgegenstande, Formeln, magische Instrumente lassen auf eine 'chaldean sacramental community"schliel3en, wie sie bereits Hans Lewy nannte. Diese Rituale wurden anscheinend teilweise von der Akademie Ficinos ubernommen, danach auch in den wahlverwandten Kreisen Roms, Neapels und Venedigs, dariiber hinaus in allen Ländern Europas, die von der Renaissance-Kultur beruhrt wurden. Der theurgische Aufstieg der Seelen ent- lang der Sonnenstrahlen geschieht unter Anleitung eines Theurgen und Assi- stenz dreier Teletarchen, die voces mysticae bzw. nomina barbara (magische Formeln) rezitierten. Der Bedeutung des Feuerkultes in den Chaldaischen

Orakeln und ihrem angeblichen persisch-zoroastrischen Ursprung steht Staus- berg eher skeptisch gegeniiber. Auf der Liste altester Gesetzgeber der Mensch- heitsgeschichte erscheint bei Plethon nicht nur kein jiidisch-christlicher Autor:

Zoroaster wird zum "Lehrer" Platons promoviert, gleichzeitig wird Moses als bis dahin wichtigster Gesetzgeber durch seine Abwesenheit entthront. Fur Stausberg ist Plethon in Wahrheit ein Religionsstifter, der versuchte auch prak- tisch (Kalender, Kult etc.) `die Lehre Zoroasters zu restituieren', oder genauer,

208

die `Hellenisierung Zoroasters' als eine neue Religion dem Christentum entge-

genzustellen.

seiner neuen

Plethons

geistiges

Testament,

'eine Art Glaubensbekenntnis

Religion', tragt schon im Titel programmatisch die Quintessenz dieser per-

sisch-griechischen Renaissance: 'Zusammenfassung

und des Platon'. Die nach Stausberg 'unübersehbaren Differenzen zum Chri- stentum, wie sein immer wieder betonter Polytheismus etwa, sind meiner An-

sicht nach im Rahmen der Fruhen Neuzeit mit der damaligen katholischen Orthodoxie gar nicht so unvereinbar: wenn Plethon von Göttem spricht, die

das von Zeus ausgehende

Ende fiihren', dann sind das Planetengotter, die im Rahmen der damals so verstandenen grol3en Weltmaschine (machina mundi) die Gesetze Gottes aus- fiihrende Geister sind. Die bekannten astrologischen Fresken von Padova, Ferrara oder Villa Famesina in Rom, wo Planeten(gotter) in ihrer Rolle als Zeiteinteilende und -ausfiihrende das Geschehen des Weltalls ministrieren, wurden von Papsten und Kardinalen, nicht von Heiden bestellt. Der 'Selbstbe- trug' eines betenden Glaubigen, den Lauf der Dinge beeinflussen zu wollen/ konnen, ist eher eine Frage des Stils als der theologischen Differenz. Stausberg

fragt sich selber, ob Plethons damalige Anklager 'wirklich zuverlassige Kron- zeugen sind'.

Nach einem ausgiebigen und Kritik der Chalddischen

sich Stausberg auf 136 Seiten der Schliisselperson der friihneuzeitlichen Phi- losophie und ihrer Zoroaster-Rezeption: Marsilio Ficino. Er nennt ihn in

Anlehnung an Foucault 'Diskursbegründer der neuzeitlichen Zoroaster-

Rezeptionsgeschichte'. Ficino, ein vielschichtiger, komplizierter und produk- tiver Autor, pendelte fast sein ganzes Leben zwischen Orthodoxie und Hare-

sie. Als 'Orthodox i e-Korrektiv'griff er dabei immer im Zweifelsfall auf die Summa contra gentiles zurfck. Auch er bemühte sich um eine concordia, glaubte an einen 'tieferen Sinn' aller Lehren und Religionen: die doctrina

platonica Glanz des Mondes zur Sonne.

der Lehren des Zoroaster

und unabwendbare Schicksal zu einem 'glücklichen

editionskritischen

Kapitel, in dem die Verbreitung

wird, widmet

Orakel in der Neuzeit besprochen

steht zur

divina

lex des mosaisch-christlichen

Gesetzes

wie der

legum),

in dieser Reihe vor Moses und Hermes gestellt.

geschichtlichen Kapitel bespricht Stausberg die Ficino-Zoroaster-Rezeption in Frankreich, um dann wieder zurückzukommen auf Ficino und sein Bestre-

ben, Philosophie und Theologie in einer philothexa (Ficinos Wortschöpfung) zu vereinigen. Spatestens ab 1469 weist Ficino dem Zoroaster eine 'histori-

sche Prioritat' zu, und Stausberg fragt sich, ob dies aus chronologischer Uber- legung' oder aus einem anderen Grund geschieht. Das "Anigma" aus Platons

Zoroaster

ist fur Ficino der erste aller Religionsstifter

Im

(conditores

dritten

wirkungs-

209

"Zweitem Brief' (312 e) interpretiert Ficino "zoroastrianisch", das heillt er behauptet, Zoroaster hatte drei Ffrsten der Welt aufgestellt (tres mundi

principes), Herrscher dreier Ordnungen (trium ordinum dominos), namlich Ormuzd, Ahriman und Mithras. Damit gilt fur Ficino Platon als ein Zoroaster-

Interpret, der seinen domini 'neue Namen verliehen habe: Gott, Geist, Seele'. Stausberg bewundert Ficinos Niichternheit, da keine der behandelten Textpassages versucht - wie jeder es von einem Kanoniker am Dom zu Flo- renz erwarten wiirde - eine Konfrontation platonisch-zoroastrischer Triaden mit dem mysterium trinitatis zu vollziehen.

werden von Ficino positiv ausgewertet

und

'Philosophie klang mit den Grundregeln des katholischen Priestertums: Zolibat, Einsamkeit

(vacatio)

Zoroastrische

Persarum

mit

magi und ihre Praktiken

und

Priestertum

Weisheit

verglichen

(ille sapiens,

ille sacerdos).

im Ein-

als Lebensform'

steht fast vollkommen

oder melancholisches

Gemüt sind ein Lebensmodell, dessen 'kos-

mologische Grunde' Ficino wieder 'ans Tageslicht zu bringen beansprucht'. Damit legitimiert er auch so etwas wie eine historische Kontinuitat des "wah-

ren" Priestertums, die hier nicht nur auf Moses und Aaron, sondem auch auf die persische Priesterklasse der magoi zuruckgeht. Darüber hinaus steht Zoroaster im Einklang mit den drei abrahamitischen Religionen. Damit wird bei Ficino sowohl das Ubereinstimmen der prisca theologia mit der philosophia perennis eines Agostino Steuco, als auch die innere "Harmonie"

der prisca theologia mit der Bibel (Zoroaster - David) und mit der Hermetik

(Zoroaster -

Das motivgeschichtliche Kapitel VII beschaftigt sich mit Zoroaster als

Zeugen fur die Wahrheit der christlichen Religion bei Philippe de Momay, wahrend das wirkungsgeschichtliche Kapitel IX einen weiten Sprung in den

modemen

Hermetic

fiir den

Auferstehungsglauben Zoroasters wird 1895 von Percy Bullock unter dem

Pseudonym

Ficino und Karma im

Hermes)

antizipiert.

Okkultismus

Order

macht und versucht, "Zoroaster,

Dawn"

zu erörtern.

of the Golden

Ficinos

Zeugnis

Levavi Oculos in die Karma-Vorstellung

verwandelt.

An

mehreren

Beispielen

kommentiert

Stausberg

Ficinos

zoroastrische

"Feuerphilosophie", so wie sie in der Neuzeit als "persische" verstanden wur- de. Ein noch nicht geschriebenes Kapitel der friihneuzeitlichen Geistesge- schichte ist der EinfluB dieser kryptischen Textstellen Ficinos auf die Theolo-

gie und damit indirekt auf die Ikonographie der Gegenreformation, etwa dort, wo die Methoden des 'Aufstiegs in die LJfie' durch das 'Einschniren des Korpers durch einen Lichtstrahl' besprochen werden. Ficinos Freund und

Schiller, den bedeutendsten Privatgelehrter seiner Zeit, Giovanni Pico della

Mirandola und seine Zoroasterrezeption

Kapitel, um dessen Opposition zu Ficino zu betonen: prisca theologia wird

behandelt

Stausberg

im folgenden

210

hier beinahe zu prisca superstitio. Pico sieht Zoroaster durch eine eher kon- templative Optik, die Chalddischen Orakel als eine zur reinen Spiritualitat fiihrende Schrift. Stausberg kritisiert Picos hermeneutische Vorgehensweise bei der Interpretation der "Orakel" als 'kommunikationstechnisch nicht ganz

fair'. In seinerApologia zahlt Pico die Trdgergruppen der prisca sapientia auf, wobei er die persischen Mager in eine Reihe mit den griechischen Philoso-

phen, gallischen Druiden und jiidischen Propheten stellt.

Die zwei bedeutendsten

Trager der prisca

magia im 16. Jahrhundert

waren

Agostino Steuco und Francesco Patrizi, die beide den hermetischen Neuplato-

nismus Picos und Ficinos im Cinquecento weitertradieren und damit auch die wichtigsten Zoroaster-Rezipienten ihrer Zeit sind. Steuco wurde 1525 in Ve- nedig Bibliothekar des Domenico Grimani, der seinerseits die Bibliothek des Pico della Mirandola und seine wertvollen Manuskripte erworben hatte.

Steucos Hauptschrift De perenni philosophia (1540) sei 'ein Hauptwerk der europaischen Zoroaster-Rezeption', seine 'Suche nach Konkordanzen findet

keine Grenzen', sagt Stausberg, auch dort nicht, wo er 'polytheistische G3tter als Engel eines verborgenen Monotheismus interpretiert'. Die theologia vetusta chaldaeorum, ac magorum besteht fiir Steuco in der Identitat der Phi-

losophie und Theologie.

So wie Marsilio

Ficino der Begründer

des neuzeitlichen

Zoroaster-Diskur-

Patrizi da Cherso (alias Frane Petric) eine

rezeptionsgeschichtliche Schwelle, nach welcher dann im 17. Und 18. Jahr- hundert andere Rezeptionsmodelle dominieren. Den zoroastrischen Dualis- mus nimmt Patrizi hin, ohne sich dabei verpflichtet zu ruhlen, ihn schelten zu

mussen. Patrizi sieht Zoroaster als Zeitgenossen Abrahams, er sei in der gan-

zenAntike 'padre e principe d'ogni sapienza' gewesen, er drickte sich wie alle prisci in aenigmata aus und seine Texte rückt Patrizi auf eine Ebene mit den biblischen zusammen: die "wahre Theologie" ist in den heidnischen Dichtun- gen ebenso enthalten wie in den Texten der Bibel. Perser, Agypter und Thraker sind mit Zoroaster, Hermes und Orpheus in der Lage gewesen, durch eine voll-

ses ist, so markiert Francesco

kommene

Sprache Wunder zu vollbringen.

In einem motivgeschichtlichen

Kapitel behandelt

Stausberg Zarathusthra

in

zwei poetologischen

Henry Reynolds, um dann wieder zuruck zur 'wichtigsten Aristoteles-Mono-

graphie' der Renaissance

Entwiirfen

des

17. Jahrhunderts

bei Martin

Patrizis

Opitz

und

zurfckzukommen,

Discussiones

peripateticae

seine ausfiihrliche und originelle Erlauterung der zoroastrischen "Feuer- philosophie". Neben den anthrax und flamma ist das Empyraeum 'das reinste

Feuer' (purissimus ignis), das Zoroaster in den "Orakeln" vitifer ignis, 'Le- benspendendes Feuer' nennt. In Patrizis philosophischer Rhetorik wird

von

1581. Ein besonderes

Thema

der Kosmologie

Patrizis

ist

211

Zoroaster als Erfinder eines christlichen Dogmas portratiert, des Dogmas vom empyreischen Himmel. Die Modemit3t Patrizis, in Sachen Kosmologie seiner Zeit weit voraus, wurde in den letzten Jahrzehnten von einer ganzen

Gelehrtenreihe aufgearbeitet. Stausberg hat so wie vielleicht nur noch Cesare Vasoli die "Zoroastrische Dimension" Patrizis richtig ins Licht gesetzt, rund hundert Seiten des ersten Bandes widmet er diesem ungewohnlichen Autor.

Kapitel XVI folgt eine Ruckblende auf die

schon behandelten

lehre werden nochmals bei Pico, Zorzi, Champier, von Nettesheim bis hin zu

den Platonikem von Cambridge (Cudworth) und den barocken Autoren wie von Lobenstein untersucht, um dann mit Helena Blavatsky und Annie Besant diesen ausfiihrlichen historischen Spaziergang zu beenden. Das topos-

geschichtliche Kapitel behandelt die archaische Zoroaster-Kontextualisierung als Nimrod, Noah oder Abraham. Dieser Abschnitt ist vor allem durch die

Analyse der Rezeptionsgeschichte der sog. "Pseudoklementinen" interessant. Dort wird eine ziemlich systematische Diffamierung Zoroasters entwickelt, die ihn zum Prototyp eines Anti-Religionsstifters schlechthin stilisiert. In ei- nem nachsten Schritt wird er dann bei Rufin aus der lateinschen Tradition her- aus einfach als ein Schwindler bzw. ein an seiner eigenen Magie gestorbener Zauberer dargestellt. Eusebios von Caesarea hat seinerseits Zoroaster in sei- nem Praeparatio evangelica als den Konig Baktriens eingefiihrt, wodurch er dann in der deutschen Weltchronik von H. Schedel 1493 auf einem Holz- schnitt mit allen Insignien christlicher Konige erscheint. Stausberg erwahnt in diesem Kontext die 23 Jahre altere illustrierte Weltchronik des Masso Finiguerra nicht, wo im Gegensatz zu Schedel nicht Zoroaster, sondern sein

Assistent (H)ostanes die koniglichen Insignien tragt, welche dann in einem komplizierten ikonographischen Puzzle bei Kaiser Nero im Sturz des Simon Magus Albrecht Dfrers wiederauftauchen.

Im zweiten Band bespricht Stausberg ebenso ausfiihrlich die Zoroaster- kritik des 17. Jahrhunderts, angefangen mit Theodor Zwingen und Bernabè Brisson, mit Thomas Hyde und David Hume und danach weiter Jber Diderot und Voltaire zu den Autoren wie de Mehegan und A.M. Ramsay. Voltaires Zoroaster ist, wie zu erwarten, eine heidnische Grol3e, die in seiner antichrist- lichen Propaganda zunachst eine positive Rolle findet, ahnlich wie bei Hyde, dessen Zoroaster 'zum Protagonisten einer Lehre, namlich des Dualismus, sti-

lisiert wird'. Zoroaster wird im philosophisch-theologisch-historischen Dis- kurs des 17. Jahrhunderts wesentlich anders behandelt: die Chalda'ischeh

die

prisca vor dem Christentum" prasentiert, sondern als eine historische "Entlarvung"

Im problemgeschichtlichen

Autoren:

Zoroastrische

Triadik und Christliche

Trinitats-

Orakel

werden

historia.

vernachlässigt,

Zoroaster

anstelle

der prisca

theologia

tritt jetzt

wird nicht mehr als "Beweis"

fiir das "Christentum

212

zu Gunsten der christlichen (biblischen) Apologie behandelt. Wahrend er als "Double Moses" im 17. Jahrhundert noch relativ gut davonkommt, verschie- ben sich die Akzente im 18. Jhr. und danach zunehmend ins Asthetisch-litera-

rische : Romane, Opern, Erzahlungen, popularwissenschaftliche Texte, Pseud-

onyme von Rezensenten.

Metapher stilisiert. Zu Recht reiht Carsten Colpe im Geleitwort Stausbergs Buch in eine Reihe mit den Werken von Amo Borst (Der Turm von Babel, 1957-1963) und Peter Kapitza (Japan in Europa, 1990) ein. Zoroaster war zusammen met den Heili-

gen drei Konigen jahrhundertelang ein Stellvertreter Altpersiens in Europa, ein "guter" Orientale im Gegensatz zu Mohammed, eine Referenz aller gegen Orient gerichteten Traume wie Hoffnungen. Dieses Werk geh6rt einer Text-

gattung an, die 'wegen ihrer Schwierigkeit bisher nur auf eine dilnne Tradition zuriickblicken kann'. Colpe sieht es nicht nur als ein kulturhistorisches oder

religionsgeschichtliches Werk, sondem vergleicht es mit Harnacks Markion von 1924. Mit diesem Opus hat Stausberg einen Klassiker vorgelegt, dessen kleinere Schonheits- und Druckfehler man gem übersieht ("Figlione" statt

"Figline" oder "Numa Pomilius"). Das vielleicht grol3te Verdienst dieser Stu- die ist, daB sie zeigt, wie Zoroasters Geschichte in Europa nicht eine

Wirkungsgeschichte, sondem eine Rezeptionsgeschichte im Rahmen europai-

scher Religions- und Kulturgeschichte

dokumentiert.

kulturhistorischen Rahmen zu diesem Thema geschrieben wurde. Die Kultur, die Erudition und die so selten gewordene verstandliche Gelehrtsamkeit die-

ses Buches erinnem sehr an den leider nicht mehr existierenden Geist von Eranos-Tagungen zu seiner Glanzzeit.

Zum SchluB ein Lob auf den Verlag: waren die Anmerkungen am Ende des

Bandes und nicht unter dem Text auf der entsprechenden

jemand das Buch lesen wollen. Viel zu viele Verleger haben sich leider aus Profitgrunden diese schlechte Sitte zu eigen gemacht. Dieser Luxus ist bei de

Der einstige

Prophet

wird zu einer Art popularer

ist, und dies hat Stausberg iberzeugend

das Umfangreichste,

das bisher

im

Sein Werk ist bei weitem

Seite, wurde kaum

Gruyter im Preis inbegriffen.

REGNI CHRISTI FRATER:

COUNT MICHAEL MAIER AND THE FRATERNITY R.C.

HEREWARD TILTON

On account of his leading role as apologist for the elusive Rosicrucian Order, the alchemist Count Michael Maier (1569-1622) came to be known as a man who not only sacrificed his time and fortune on the impossible claims of his art, but who also squandered his talents on the Rosicrucian “imposture”, as Newton would put it when reviewing the Order’s manifestos and Maier’s de- fence of them 1 . By the 18 th century the “Fraternity of the Rosy Cross” that had inspired the hopes and fears of early 17 th century Europe was widely con- demned alongside alchemy as a malicious fraud, and Maier was depicted as one of its chief victims, as the Biographie Universelle makes clear:

It is difficult to know if the society of the Brothers of the Rosy Cross existed elsewhere than in the imagination of some scoundrels, who used it as a means of extorting money from overly credulous people. The Brothers were believed to possess the power to change metals into gold, or to retain their health over many centuries, and to transport themselves with the rapidity of thought through all the lands of the world. This society commenced with a great deal of noise in Ger- many at the beginning of the 17 th century; and Michael Maier was certainly one of its initiates, or rather one of its dupes, since he had the inclination to write up their laws and customs, and took up their defence in his works 2 .

Despite the scepticism of later writers, certain documents from Maier’s time imply his entrance into the ranks of a secret society; most notably, the polemi- cal La Doctrine Curieuse des Beaux Esprits de ce Temps, ou Pretendus Tels (1623) of the Jesuit François Garasset, who speaks of Maier as the “secretary” of the Brethren 3 , and the 1624 Latin version of the Echo Colloquii Rhodo-

1 Macguire, Alchemy and the Occult, 348-349.

2 Biographie Universelle, 232: ‘C’est encore un problème de savoir si la société des frères de la Rose-Croix a existé ailleurs que dans l’imagination de quelques fourbes, qui en firent un moyen d’extorquer de l’argent à des personnes trop crédules. On leur attribuait le pouvoir de changer les métaux en or, de se conserver pleins de santé pendant plusieurs siècles, et de se transporter avec la rapidité de la pensée dans tous les pays de la terre. Cette société commença à faire du bruit en Allemagne au commencement du 17 e siècle; et Maïer fut certainement un des initiés ou plutôt une des dupes, puisqu’il a eu la bonhomie de rédiger leurs lois, leurs coutumes, et qu’il a pris leur défense dans un de ses ouvrages’.

3 Garasset, La Doctrine Curieuse, 83: ‘Nous apprenons du Pere Jean Robert Theologien de nostre Compagnie, au livre qu’il a faict contre Goclenius, qu’il rode par l’Allemagne une faction secrette de feneans, qui s’appellent Fratres R. C. c’est à dire, suivant l’exposition de tout le

4

HEREWARD TILTON

Staurotici, which suggests that Maier was made privy to the secrets of the Order shortly before his death 4 . Was Maier an initiate of an organised secret society, as these documents imply? Or was he indeed the dupe of an “impos- ture”? And given his suggestion that the appellation of the “Fraternity R. C.” does not refer to a rosy cross, just what did the initials R. C. refer to in Maier’s eyes? One of the most astute esoteric writers on the subject of Rosicrucianism, Arthur Waite, enumerated three different modes of reading the anonymous Rosicrucian manifestos: firstly, to regard the story of Christian Rosenkreutz and his founding of the Rosicrucian Fraternity as historically true; secondly, to consider both the society and its founder as purely mythical; and thirdly, to accept the existence of the Rosicrucian Fraternity as a secret society without accepting the historical existence of its supposed founder 5 . A cursory examina- tion of Maier’s apologetic “Rosicrucian” works would suggest that he adhered to the first of these interpretations; Waite adhered to the third, and despite the prevailing academic opinion that the Fraternity was a purely imaginative entity at its earliest stage of development, many writers – and most recently Åkerman – have devoted their time to uncovering a true secret society lying behind the manifestos.

Michael Maier’s “Rosicrucian” Leipzig manuscript

Whilst we shall soon find Waite’s categories wanting, one of the more perva- sive (and persuasive) of the traditions belonging to his third interpretative

monde, les Freres de la Croix de Roses, laquelle à ce qu’ils ont publié par un petit livret de la façon de Michel Maïerus, Secretaire de Confrerie, n’est pas une invention nouvelle, d’autant qu’il y a deux cens ans qu’elle estoit en vogue, mais qu’elle a l’espace de CL. ans faict comme l’Arethuse, se cachant soubs les replis des siecles pour paroistre en nos jours, et nous descouvrir un secret admirable, et un grand mystere d’iniquité’.

4 Benedictus Hilarion, Echo Colloquii Rhodo-Staurotici, hoc est: Resolutio sive Responsio ad nupero tempore editum trium personarum Colloquium Fraternitatem Roseae Crucis concernens, 167-168: ‘Equidem non abs re est, quod Silentium nostrum multos hactenus hom- ines in errorem praecipitaverit, illos tamen solummodo, qui tempus patienter expectare minime potuerunt. Inter quos tamen te non numeratum volumus, quod, una cum quibusdam, nobis bene notis piis, benevolis, ab initio, in hodiernum usque diem semper magis pro, quam contra nos extiteris: quemadmodum etiam illud ipsum orali defensione omni tempore apud ipsos, qui, crassa ex ignorantia, nobis infecti sunt, mascule praestitisti. Quemadmodum etiam Dominus Michael Majerus, tamquam vir Clarissimus, illud ipsum scribendo egregie praestitit, veluti ejus rei luculentum praebent testimonium, ipsius Silentium post clamores, Themis aurea, Verum inventum, Symbola aureae mensae, etc: quae scripta etiam a Domino Authore ipso non frustra scripta esse debent, sed illum, haud immerito, ante mortem ipsius, tam ingentibus honorariis, quam non minus singularium mysteriorum communicatione, beabimus’.

5 Waite, The Real History of the Rosicrucians, 217-218.

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paradigm, currently circulating in academic and esoteric circles alike, purports to derive from a manuscript of Michael Maier residing at the University of Leipzig, in which Maier is alleged to state that the Fraternity of his time was formed in 1570 by followers of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (1486-1535), the renowned German natural magician and alchemist whose black dog inspired the appearance of Mephistopheles as a poodle in Goethe’s Faust. Although he did not investigate the matter himself, Roland Edighoffer first cast the existence of this “Rosicrucian manuscript” into some doubt in his Rose-Croix et Société Ideale selon Johann Valentin Andreae (1982), in which he points to the insubstantial basis of Montgomery’s theory of 16 th century Rosicrucian origins 6 . In his Cross and Crucible: Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654), Phœnix of the Theologians (1973), John Warwick Montgomery (formerly of the Faculté de Théologie Protestante at the University of Stras- bourg) had spoken of ‘the claim of the Lutheran alchemist and Rosicrucian Michael Maier that the Rose Cross originated ca.1570 through conventicles reflecting the influence of the occultist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’ 7 . Al- though Montgomery tells us that he has not verified the manuscript from which this data originates, the idea that Maier ever made such a claim is never brought into question in his work. Montgomery’s misleading passage is derived from an article entitled ‘Historique du Mouvement Rosicrucien’ in a French Rosicrucian journal of 1927, Le Voile d’Isis. There the author, a certain Joanny Bricaud, speaks of the ‘community of mages’ organised in France at the beginning of the 16 th century by Agrippa von Nettesheim; he goes on to state that, upon arriving in London in 1510, Agrippa founded a secret society similar to that which he had organ- ised in France. The members of this society adopted secret signs of reconnais- sance (presumably à la Freemasonry) and thereafter founded corresponding “chapters” of their society throughout Europe devoted to the study of the oc- cult arts 8 . And – according to the “Rosicrucian” Leipzig manuscript of Michael Maier – it was this society of Agrippa’s that gave rise to the Brethren of the Gold and Rosy Cross around the year 1570 9 . Were it to exist, there can be no doubting the significance of such a manu- script of Maier’s, as it might provide good reason to push the origins of the Fraternity – as a true secret society rather than a virtual or literary entity –

6 Edighoffer, Rose-Croix et Société Ideale, Vol. 1, 222-223; Vol. 2, 591-592 n. 192.

7 Montgomery, Cross and Crucible, 210.

8 Bricaud, ‘Historique du Mouvement Rosicrucien’, 561.

9 Bricaud, ‘Historique du Mouvement Rosicrucien’: ‘Si l’on en croit un manuscrit de Michel Maïer conservé dans la bibliothèque de Leipzig, c’est cette communauté qui aurait donné naissance en Allemagne, vers 1570, aux Frères de la Rose-Croix d’Or’.

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beyond its academically accepted genesis in the imagination of the authors of the Fama Fraternitatis and Confessio Fraternitatis in the early 17 th century. The myth of the “Rosicrucian” Leipzig manuscript has been put to work by various writers in support of this agenda. Thus Åkerman speaks of Maier’s manuscript as evidence for the emergence of the Gold- und Rosenkreutz as a “two-tiered Hermetic society” embroiled in 16 th century French inter-confes- sional disputes 10 . Likewise, the “Rosicrucian” Leipzig manuscript myth has taken root in Freemasonic lore – in his Les Origines de la Franc-Maçonnerie:

Le Métier et le Sacré (1991) Naudon quotes Bricaud almost word for word as proof of the anteriority of Rosicrucianism (as a forerunner of Freemasonry) to the Rosicrucian manifestos 11 . More plausibly, the existence of such a manuscript might also point to a tradition concerning Rosicrucian origins stemming from the early 17 th century and adhered to by Maier. There is indeed a manuscript of Michael Maier’s residing at the library of the University of Leipzig, entitled De Theosophia Aegyptiorum 12 . Nevertheless, a thorough perusal of this tract does not reveal the slightest mention of the Rosy Cross, let alone Cornelius Agrippa and his supposed contribution to the foundation of the Order. Nor should such men- tion be expected, as it would be unusual for Maier to affiliate himself with an Order founded by a man who was – in Maier’s own opinion – an impoverished and fumbling failure in the alchemical art 13 . Furthermore, although Maier was distantly acquainted with the contents of the manuscript manifestos prior to their publication in print, it was only in 1616 that he began to consider the subject worthy of his attention (a fact we shall soon consider further when analysing the testimony of the Symbola Aureae Mensae). Contrary to accepted

10 Åkerman, Rose Cross over the Baltic, 181.

11 Naudon, Les Origines de la Franc-Maçonnerie, 269-270: ‘

Une autre société importante

dont l’action sur la Maçonnerie, du moins indirectement, est probable, est la Communauté des Mages. Elle fut fondée en 1510 par Henri-Corneille Agrippa, lorsqu’il arriva à Londres, sur le modèle de celle qu’il avait déjà créée en France. La Communauté des Mages était une société secrète groupant les maîtres de l’alchimie et de la magie. Les membres usaient de signes particuliers de reconnaissance, de “mots de passe”. Ils fondèrent alors, dans divers autres Etats de l’Europe, des associations correspondantes, dénommées Chapelies, pour l’étude des sciences “interdites”. Si nous en croyons un manuscrit de Michel Maîer (1568-1622), conservé à la bibliothèque de Leipzig, ce serait cette Communauté des Mages qui aurait donné naissance, en Allemagne, vers 1570, aux Frères de la Rose-Croix d’or, antérieurs par conséquent a la Fama Fraternitatis de Valentin Andréa’.

12 Maier, De Theosophia Aegyptiorum, Leipzig, Universitätsbibliothek MS 0396.

13 See, for example, Examen Fucorum Pseudo-chymicorum, 41: ‘Cornelius Agrippa testatur

alicubi, se potuisse ex auro hunc subtilem spiritum extrahere: Interim qualis vir hic fuerit, ex eius epistolis apparet, nempe egestate obrutus et obaeratus, cui hoc artificium, si id sciverit, nihil profuerit’; also Atalanta Fugiens, discourse 1; de Jong, Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens, 62-

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opinion, the De Theosophia Aegyptiorum is in fact a rough draft for Maier’s Arcana Arcanissima (1614), and therefore dates to Maier’s pre-Rosicrucian period 14 . There is no other manuscript of Maier’s to be found at the University of Leipzig; and whilst Åkerman adduces that no manuscript confirming the 16 th century Gold- und Rosenkreutz hypothesis has been found in Leipzig because ‘no effort has been made to locate it’, my own examination of other library catalogues in Leipzig also revealed no trace of a manuscript by Maier. This absence is hardly surprising, given that at least one element of this curious Rosicrucian myth is derived from the Reverend Craven’s work on Count Michael Maier. Writing in 1910, Craven discounts the mention of Maier’s “Leiden manuscript” made by John Yarker in his Arcane Schools (1909) as a mistake; having consulted the librarian of the University of Leiden, Craven was assured that there was no such manuscript residing in Leiden, and that Yarker had confused “Leiden” with “Leipzig” 15 . Evidently the Leiden li- brarian was aware of the existence of a manuscript of Maier’s at Leipzig, whilst not being aware of its contents. Craven believed the document at Leip- zig was the only manuscript of Maier’s to have survived the destruction of Magdeburg in 1631; thus the “Leiden manuscript” became the “Leipzig manu- script”, and this may ultimately be the reason why it appears as such in

14 Christoph Gottlieb von Murr, following Daniel Morhof, described the De Theosophia Aegyptiorum as a ‘thorough revision of the Arcana Arcanissima’ which was never published; Murr, Über den Wahren Ursprung der Rosenkreuzer, 45; Morhof, Polyhistor, 169, n. l: ‘Qui et idem Argumentum, diversa licet Methodo, denuo pertractavit, in Tr. de Theosophia Aegyptiorum ut antiquissima, sic abdita et Sacra, cuius MStum autoxafou in Bibliothec. Acad. Lips. Paulina superesse, Actorum Orbis Eruditi Lipsiensium Collectores, plura de eodem referentes, M. Jul. A. 1687 p. 393, 394 nos edocuerunt, Editionem etiam, Morhofii hortatu, uti ipsemet mihi retulit, moliti’. There are three facts mitigating against this assertion. Firstly, the contents are largely identical with the Arcana Arcanissima, and therefore contain very little to justify a reprint. Thus chapter 1 of the Arcana Arcanissima on Egyptian gods and hieroglyphics = De Theosophia Aegyptiorum, 8 recto ff.; chapter 2 on Jason and Atalanta = 36 verso ff.; chapter 3 on the genealogies of the gods = 59 recto ff.; chapter 4 on the ancient festivals = 21 verso ff.; chapter 5 on the labours of Hercules = 24 verso ff.; chapter 6 on the Trojan expedition = 49 recto ff. Secondly, there are certain references in note form to the De Theosophia Aegyptiorum on the back page of a manuscript of Maier’s dating from early in 1611, apparently written in his hand:

Kassel, Gesamthochschul-Bibliothek, 2° MS Chem. 11, 1, 64 verso. Thirdly, on the title page of the De Theosophia Aegyptiorum Maier writes ‘authore Michaele Meyero’, an earlier variation of his family name that does not occur in Maier’s printed or manuscript works after 1610. This surname is struck out by the same hand (that of the author), and replaced first with ‘Maiero’, which is struck out again and replaced with ‘Maÿero’ – the variation Maier decided upon when publishing his Hymnosophia, which dates from after September 1609 but before Maier’s depar- ture from the court of Rudolf II some time prior to the 4 th of August 1610.

15 Craven, Count Michael Maier, 4-5.

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Bricaud’s article – the Leiden librarian’s deduction being transmitted to later authors first by Craven and then by Waite. Yarker’s account of a “Leiden manuscript” in his Arcane Schools 16 – which Waite correctly identifies as a ‘tissue of inextricable reveries’, although he follows Craven in referring to an extant “Leipsic manuscript” with references to the Rose Cross and Agrippa 17 – is based upon the testimony of Hans Heinrich von Ecker und Eckhoffen in his work of 1782, Der Rosenkreuzer in seiner Blösse (The Rosicrucian Exposed) 18 . There the author, writing under the name of “Magister Pianco”, makes a disgruntled exposé of the secrets of the ‘so-called True Freemasons, or Golden Rosicrucians of the Old System’, an attack aimed in particular at ‘Brother Phoebron, General Director of the Supreme Order of the Rosicrucians in Germany’ (i.e. Bernhard Joseph Schleiß von Löwenfeld). The Gold- und Rosenkreutz to which he refers was an 18 th century Freemasonic offshoot, combining Masonic initiatory grades with al- chemical lore and practice. Having been expelled from this group a year prior to his book’s publication, and having founded his own rival grouping known as the “Asiatic Brethren”, von Ecker und Eckhoffen attempts to portray the “Golden Rosicrucians” as puppets of the Jesuits. In the course of his polemic he refers to the manuscript of Michael Maier of Rensburg, ‘one of the most notorious of the Rosicrucians’, to be found at the library of the University of Leiden 19 . In this supposed manuscript Maier is purported to describe the refor- mation of the Rosicrucian Order in 1510, by which the teachings of the Books of Moses and the Book of Revelations were brought into accord with the in- structions of the “old Magi”. As a sign of their reformation, the Brethren de- cided to rename themselves ‘Brethren of the Golden Rose Cross, True Free- masons, and True and Sincere Friends and Kindred of the Golden Rose Cross’ 20 . That this history is a fabrication, and does not derive from a true document of Maier’s, is confirmed by two important facts. Firstly, whilst Craven was led

16 Yarker, The Arcane Schools, 212: ‘There exists in the library of the University of Leyden a MS. by Michael Maier which sets forth that in 1570 the Society of the old Magical brethren or Wise Men was revived under the name of the Brethren of the Golden Rosy Cross’. Amongst other curious “facts” included in Yarker’s account are the ascription of a pre-Reformation date to the Fama Fraternitatis and the assertion that Maier ‘published the de Vita Morte et Resurrectione of his friend Robert Fludd’ (who was not in fact Maier’s friend – see Figala and Neumann, ‘Michael Maier (1569-1622)’, 45).

17 Waite, Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross, 330.

18 It should be noted that the authorship of this tract is also a matter of dispute. See McIntosh, The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason, 133.

19 Ecker und Eckhoffen, Der Rosenkreuzer in seiner Blösse, 82.

20 Ecker und Eckhoffen, Der Rosenkreuzer in seiner Blösse, 80-82.

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astray by the good advice of the Leiden librarian, he was correct in stating that no such manuscript exists – or is likely to have existed – at the University of Leiden. The university’s manuscript catalogue of the early 19 th century con- tains no trace of a manuscript under the names of Michael Maier, Meier, Meyer or Mayer, either as an acquisition or as a possession, nor have there been any major losses in the collection due to fire, war or other disasters. Nor is such a manuscript held by the library of the Museum Boerhaave in Leiden –

the other major 17 th century

Secondly, the term Gold- und Rosenkreutz does not appear in the literature until later in the 17 th century, and it is only firmly established as the basis for

the denomination of a later secret society with the appearance of Samuel Rich- ters Die Warhaffte und vollkommene Bereitung des Philosophischen Steins (1710) 22 . There is no mention of a “Gold and Rosy Cross” in the Rosicrucian apologetic works of Fludd 23 , as Åkerman asserts 24 . Nor does the allusion to ‘brothers of the golden cross’ made in the Aureum Seculum Redivivum (1625) of Adrian von Mynsicht suggest the existence of ‘a two-tiered Hermetic soci- ety’ known as the Gold- und Rosenkreutz: whilst the term was probably sug- gested to Mynsicht by the Rosicrucian Order’s appellation, he utilises fratres aureae crucis as an ornate but general means of addressing those amongst his readers who are affiliated with him by virtue of their alchemical proclivities 25 .

collection in that city 21 .

21 I must thank the current keeper of manuscripts at the University of Leiden, Mr. Anton van der Lem, for his investigations into this matter.

22 Such is affirmed by Peuckert, Die Rosenkreuzer, 85.

23 Fludd, Apologia Compendiaria, and Fludd, Tractatus Apologeticus. Both of these works set forth a defence of the Fraternity, natural magic and astrology against Libavius’ accusations of necromancy and diabolic magic; in the course of his apologies Fludd uses a number of variations on the ‘Bruderschafft des Hochlöblichen Ordens des Rosen Creutzes’ and the ‘Fraternitet deß R. C.’ given in the manuscript Fama Fraternitatis, such as ‘Fraternitas de R. Cruce’, ‘Fratres de Societate R. Crucis’, ‘Societas de Rosea Cruce’, ‘Fratres Societatis de Rosea C.’ and ‘Fraternitas R. C’.

24 Åkerman, Rose Cross over the Baltic, 181: ‘[In his Apologia Compendiaria Fraternitatem de Rosea Cruce] Fludd then declared that the movement actually draws on two schools, one of “Aureae crucis fratres” dealing with the supercelestial world and one of “Roseae crucis fratres” dealing with the sublunary world; these two schools create divergent theosophical and alchemi- cal traditions for the Golden and Rosy Cross’.

25 Mynsicht, ‘Aureum Seculum Redivivum’, 67-74. Mynsicht addresses his readers as ‘true brothers of the golden cross’ and ‘exceptional members of the philosophical fellowship in eternal affiliation’ in his foreword: ‘Weil deutlicher und klärlicher hiervon zuschreiben ernstlich und zum allerhöchsten in republica chymica verboten ist: trage aber ganz keinen zweiffel/ es werden all die/ so diß Tractetlein in warer Zuuersicht mit den innerlichen Augen des Gemüths/ so alles vermügen/ recht anschawen/ in denselben fleißig studiren, und darbey für allen dingen Gott inniglichen und von Herzen anruffen/ gleich mir/ die hierin verborgene Philosophische wundersüsse Früchte geniesen/ und derselben nach dem Willen Gottes theilhafftig werden. Und alsdann sein und bleiben sie/ ware Brüder des güldenen Creuzes/ unnd außerlesene Gliedmassen der Philosophi-

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Given this fact, the mention made by a certain mid-17 th century writer in Italy of ‘a company entitled the rosy cross or as others say the golden cross’ demon- strates the logic by which the Gold- und Rosenkreutz term first arose, i.e. from the conflation of tracts written under the aureae crucis and roseae crucis ap- pellations 26 . In short, it appears that the “inextricable reverie” that has grown up around the De Theosophia Aegyptiorum is extricated thus: Maier’s “Rosicrucian” Leipzig manuscript is an 18 th century myth arising within the Gold- und Rosenkreutz Freemasonic order, first “exposed” by “Magister Pianco”, then associated via Yarker with the tale of Agrippa’s secret society, and finally con- veyed by Craven – quite innocently – as a “Leipzig” rather than a “Leiden” manuscript. Assuming that it was not an intentional fabrication, the exact mechanism by which the Leipzig manuscript myth first arose cannot be traced; nevertheless, the subsequent development of the myth shows that the mere proximity in a conversational or textual source of two unrelated elements can lead to colourful results in the minds of the credulous. As the De Theosophia Aegyptiorum was undoubtedly the most prominent of the surviving manu- scripts of Maier, thanks to its mention in the Polyhistor of Morhof, it is in fact possible that von Ecker und Eckhoffen himself confused “Leipzig” with “Lei- den” in the course of his communications with “Brother Hosmopina Neberus” (on whose authority his story concerning the reformation of the Order in 1510 stands) 27 . Furthermore, as Paul Arnold points out in his Histoire des Rose- Croix et les Origines de la Franc-Maçonnerie, it appears that the Gold- und Rosenkreutz of the late 18 th century was determined to demonstrate its ante- riority to the widely discredited Rosicrucianism of the manifestos (although Arnold himself speaks of a ‘lost Leipzig manuscript’) 28 . The history of Rosicrucianism is littered with such spurious traditions; but if the purveyors of Rosicrucian lore through the centuries have delighted in pro- viding fellow occultists and academics alike with a veritable school of red herrings, then they are only following in the footsteps of the instigator of the Rosicrucian phenomenon – in all likelihood the Lutheran theologian Johann

schen gemeine in ewiger Verbündnuß’. The term is also utilised to describe Mynsicht himself on the frontispiece as well as in the closing paragraphs of the work. The ‘Güldener Tractat vom Philosophischen Steine’ of Johannes Grasshoff also appearing in the Dyas Chymica Tripartita of 1625 reiterates the same terminology, possibly in imitation of the preface to the reader given in the edition of Mynsicht’s Aureum Seculum Redivivum that follows it in the compendium.

26 The remark is apparently made in the 1656 Italian manuscript ‘La Bugia’ of the Marquise Massimiliano Palombara, Vatican Library, MS Reginensis Latini 1521; kind information of Susanna Åkerman.

27 Ecker und Eckhoffen, Der Rosenkreuzer in seiner Blösse, 81.

28 Arnold, Histoire des Rose-Croix, 80.

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Valentin Andreae. That the manifestos stem from the circle of Andreae is the majority opinion in the academic study of Rosicrucianism. Montgomery’s is perhaps the most prominent dissenting voice, but his opinion on the matter – that the manifestos stem neither from Andreae nor from his circle, but from the late 16 th century – not only draws on the myth of the “Rosicrucian” Leipzig manuscript we have just laid bare, but is also strongly coloured by his own ideological objections to the encroachment of humanism into (contemporary) Christianity 29 .

The virtual nature of the Brethren

Is it justified to name the “intimate league of friends” of Andreae and his men- tor Tobias Hess as the true “Brethren of the Rosy Cross”, as Schick 30 has im- plied? To answer this question we may turn to Andreae’s Turris Babel, sive Judiciorum de Fraternitate Rosaceae Crucis CHAOS (The Tower of Babel, or the Chaos of Judgments concerning the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, 1619). This work presents us with a series of three-way dialogues representing typical respondents to the manifestos, the third respondent representing the views of Andreae himself; in the thirteenth dialogue between Admirator (an admirer), Contemptor (a despiser) and Aestimator (an appraiser according to the intrin- sic value of a thing), Andreae as Aestimator gives the following revealing as- sessment of the furore provoked by the society:

The more I inquire into this fraternity, the more ingenious the game appears to me. For it possesses such a sum of human desires, that it inspires the appetite in pre-eminent intellects to obtain those things for which they have long exerted themselves. And truly, by this coming together of intellects, or by this society, if it consisted of the most select and perspicacious men, it would be possible to pro- duce things which surpass our comprehension. That it is indeed such a kind of society, they have not yet persuaded me, because they proffer up too much impru- dence or indeed baseness 31 .

29 Montgomery, ‘The World-view of Johann Valentin Andreae’, 152-169. In his passage com- posed under the sub-title of ‘The Gospel vs. Hermeticism’, Montgomery can hardly be referring to the good Lutheran Maier when he speaks of ‘the belief of the esoterists that man can become God by way of nature’, as Maier quite clearly states in the 9 th discourse of Atalanta Fugiens that eternal life can only be gained by the faithful through death, and not through an elixir. Further- more, for Andreae to swear by Church and Trinity that ‘he had always laughed at the Rosicrucian fable and inveighed against the curious little brothers’ by no means constitutes a denial of his role in the affair, particularly when one considers the connotation of fraterculus as a term of endearment for friends. For a sampling of Montgomery’s views on humanism and contemporary Christianity, see Crisis in Lutheran Theology.

30 Schick, Das Ältere Rosenkreuzertum, 69.

31 Andreae, Turris Babel, 37: ‘Quo magis in hanc fraternitatem inquiro, eo mihi lusus videtur artificiosior. Habet enim nescio quam epitomen humanorum desideriorum, quod erectioribus

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The crux of this passage is contained in its clear equation of the “concourse of intellects” brought together by the manifestos with the “society” itself; for it is clear from Andreae’s words that what is ingenious about the “game” is that a Rosicrucian society of sorts had indeed been constituted by those inspired to the defence of the Fraternity by Andreae’s utopian vision – or would have been constituted, if there were not so many vulgar opinions amongst those that flooded the printing presses in response to the manifestos. In this sense the manifestos did not simply constitute an invitation to the learned of Europe to eventually build a society akin to that outlined in the manifestos, but also formed a very present and cogent virtual arena for the furtherance of a Her- metic Protestant ideology. In light of this fact, Waite’s misleading alternatives of a “mythic” or a “real” secret society do not hold. That the tale of the opening of the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz given in the Fama Fraternitatis draws from alchemical allegory should have been clear enough to anyone as well versed in the alchemical literature as Maier 32 . We need only mention the fact that the discovery of the sepulchre and the Book I. found clasped in the hands of the perfectly preserved corpse of Father Chris- tian Rosenkreutz bears a close resemblance to the tale given in the Tabula Smaragdina, in which the Emerald Tablet is said to have been found in the hands of Hermes as he lay in state in his tomb 33 . Furthermore, Maier followed the lead of Andreae when composing the Allegoria Bella of his Symbola Aureae Mensae, in which he travels to Egypt and Arabia in search of the Phœnix – a journey to the source of the prisca sapientia which mirrors the phases of the alchemical work in similar fashion to the journey of Christian Rosenkreutz in Andreae’s Chymische Hochzeit 34 . Nevertheless, the evidence seems to overwhelmingly contradict the possi- bility that Maier was aware of the strictly virtual existence of the Brethren: for why did he expend such great energy not only in defending the existence of the

ingeniis salivam moveat ea impetrandi, in quibus jam dudum defudarunt [sic]. Et verisimile est, ingeniorum concursu sive societate, si ea ex selectissimis et perspicacissimis constet, aliquid tale posse exhiberi, quod captum nostrum superet. Talem vero jam esse, nondum mihi persuaserunt, tum quia nimis vel temeraria, vel humilia etiam proferunt’.

32 It is pertinent to note that Rosenkreutz’s return journey to Germany follows an important medieval conduit of Arabic science into Europe, i.e. via Fez, the intellectual capital of the Moorish empire, into Spain and beyond. In this sense the Fama Fraternitatis presents a parable for the entrance of occult Arabic wisdom into medieval Europe.

33 The tradition that the discoverer was Alexander the Great is given in a tract ascribed to Albertus Magnus, ‘Scriptum Alberti super Arborem Aristotelis’ (see pseudo-Albertus in the bib- liography that follows).

34 Maier’s contemporary, the alchemist Christoffer Rotbard (‘Radtichs Brotofferr’) issued a work at this time explaining the journey of Christian Rosenkreutz in the Chymische Hochzeit in laboratory alchemical terms: see Elucidarius Major.

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Fraternity as an organised secret society, but also in promoting the myth of Christian Rosenkreutz as historical fact? Indeed, at the end of his discourse on the Rosicrucians in the Symbola Aureae Mensae, Maier sets out a condensed version of the Order’s history given in the manifestos 35 . He goes on to depict in list form the membership of the Order through three centuries and generations, each being composed of eight Brethren; the first two generations (of the 15 th and 16 th centuries) are reconstructed in accordance with the members’ initials given in the Fama Fraternitatis – those given in the main narrative of the text, as well as those inscribed in the Book I 36 . The third generation includes Brother N. N., who according to the Fama Fraternitatis ‘by chance opened the vault of the sepulchre of Father C. R. in 1604 or thereabouts’ 37 ; it also includes “B. M. I.”, the author of the early Rosicrucian publication Assertio Fraternitatis R. C. (Vindication of the Fraternity R. C., 1614) who claimed to be one of the Order 38 , and the wonder-working herbalist-alchemist from Georg Molthers Gründtliche Relation von einer frembden Mannsperson, Welche inn jüngst verflossenem M. DC. XV. Jahr durch deß H. Reichs Statt Wetzslar gereißt (Thorough Report of a foreign man, who in the recently elapsed year of 1615 travelled through the town Wetzlar of the Holy Roman Empire) 39 . Despite this seemingly unequivocal evidence that Maier was convinced of the Fraternity’s historical existence, if there is anything which we may surely assert concerning the history of early Rosicrucianism, it is that things are not always as they first appear. In order to ascertain Maier’s true relationship to Rosicrucianism, it is necessary to approach his Rosicrucian works in strict chronological order, as they demonstrate the development of his response to the affair from one of initial disinterest, through the issuing of tentative rejoin-

35 The bulk of this history is derived from the Fama Fraternitatis, with the exception of the dates of the birth and death of Father C. R. (1378-1484), which are taken from the Confessio Fraternitatis.

36 It is unlikely that any of these initials refer to historical personages – for example, we are told that Brother I. O., who ‘cured a young Earl of Norfolk of leprosy’, did not live to see the death of Father C. R. in 1484; yet there were no Earls of Norfolk in the 15 th century, nor were there any cases of leprosy amongst the Mowbray and Howard families who held the dukedom of Norfolk during this period. Nor have there been any subsequent cases of leprosy in those families – kind information of Dr. John Martin Robinson, Librarian to Major-General His Grace the Duke of Norfolk.

37 Kooij and Gilly, Fama Fraternitatis, 89 ff.

38 B. M. I., Assertio Fraternitatis. The publisher of this tract, Johann Bringer, released a number of Rosicrucian tracts apart from the Gründtliche Relation and the Assertio Fraternitatis, including the 1615 Frankfurt am Main edition of the Fama Fraternitatis.

39 Molther, De quodam peregrino, and Molther, ‘Von einer frembden Mannsperson’. Molther also composed a Rosicrucian tract under the title E. D. F. O. C. R. Sen., Antwort, der Hoch- würdigen und Hocherleuchten Brüderschafft deß RosenCreutzes.

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ders to the Rosicrucian programme in his Jocus Severus (1617) and Symbola Aureae Mensae (1617), to a role as chief apologist for the Order through the publication of his Silentium Post Clamores (1617) and Themis Aurea (1618).

The Serious Jest

After his long sojourn in England following his departure from the imperial court, Maier returned to Germany in the summer of 1616, as we may gather from the preface to the Jocus Severus written in Frankfurt am Main in Septem- ber of that year. The home of a renowned six monthly book fair, Frankfurt was also a major publishing centre; and as Figala and Neumann suggest, Maier was probably attracted to the city in part by the proximity of his publishers, Johann Theodor de Bry and Lucas Jennis, who printed the majority of his publications in the following eight years 40 . Whilst visiting the autumnal book fair of 1616 Maier first became embroiled in the Rosicrucian affair; according to his ac- count in the Symbola Aureae Mensae, he had heard rumours during his stay in England concerning the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, but at that time he was occupied solely with the subject of chymia and considered the matter to be ‘obscure and unbelievable gossip’ (a fact overlooked by the writers who have followed Yates in describing Maier’s “Rosicrucian mission” to England). As it had been said that these Brethren were bringing an occult wisdom to Europe via Spain, he had associated them with contemporaneous reports of a certain prophet or ‘magician king’ named Abdela who had conquered the kingdom of Morocco with the help of occult powers, and he gave the matter no further attention 41 . Nevertheless, during the book fair by ‘fortunate chance’ he came upon the true source of the widespread rumours concerning the Brethren, the anonymous Rosicrucian manifestos. Having read these tracts his opinion was radically altered, and he held it to be a ‘great and almost unbelievable matter’ that had been set in motion by these strange Brethren; and if by ‘practice itself’ the programme of the manifestos might lead to results, he deemed it worthy of

40 Figala and Neumann, ‘Michael Maier (1569-1622)’, 45.

41 The tale of the ‘magician king’ that Maier had heard is related in a contemporary work, A True Historicall Discourse of Muley Hamets rising to the three Kingdomes of Moruecos, Fes and Sus. In the 15 th chapter of this tract it is said that in 1608 a certain ‘Abdela’ had defeated his more powerful brother ‘Muley Sidan’ in a battle, during which a contingent of 200 English mercenaries with 60 cannons refused to retreat and was routed – the reason, no doubt, for the currency of the rumours Maier heard in England. The role played by occult powers in the conflict seems to have been confused in these rumours, as it was Sidan who eventually wrested control of Morocco back from his brother some five months after his defeat through the good advice of his soothsayers (see chapter 17).

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being extolled and promoted with every effort 42 . In accordance with this decla- ration, during the two years that followed the chance encounter at the Frank- furt book fair Maier dedicated a number of tracts to the defence of the pro- gramme set out in the manifestos, and to the defence of a Brotherhood that remained as elusive as the goals it preached. This having been said, Maier’s first Rosicrucian work, the Jocus Severus or ‘Serious Jest’ of 1616, displays an ambivalent attitude towards the existence of the Fraternity as an organised secret society. The Jocus Severus is a rather charming satirical fable which takes the form of a court of judgment upon the bird of wisdom sacred to Pallas Athena, the Owl – in this instance embodying alchemy as the highest science. The Owl faces an assembly of squawking and cantankerous birds, who represent the various unlearned and impious critics of chymia, but she is eventually judged Queen of the Birds by the Phœnix, who symbolises the perfection of the alchemical art. In his dedication Maier makes it clear that the Owl signifies not only the true chymists of Germany, but spe- cifically the Brethren of the Rosy Cross – who are, to his mind, primarily concerned with the art of chymia and the production of the Universal Medi- cine. He writes:

I dedicate and bequeath this tract to all lovers of true chymia throughout Ger- many, known and unknown; and amongst them, unless Fame deceives us, to that ORDER OF GERMAN BLOOD, hitherto lying hidden, but manifested by the bringing forth of the Fama Fraternitatis, as well as by the admirable and pleasing Confessio Fraternitatis 43 .

42 Maier, Symbola Aureae Mensae, 290: ‘[Fama de Fr. R. C. ad exteros transiit.] FAMA ILLA dictae FRATERNITATIS, quae hic in plurimorum auribus oreque iampridem perstrepuit, adque exteras oras circum circa vagata latissimas regiones pervolavit, mihi quoque tum in Anglia agenti, reique Chymicae unice invigilanti, obscuris quibusdam rumusculis, incredibilibus, ipsa- que veritate longe maioribus insonuit, cui fidem, pro referentis fide, dubiam prima vice adhibui:

[A. C. 1613 Barbaria propheticus aut certe magicus rex multa admiranda fecit.] Eodem tempore ex Barbaria innovationes quaedam mirabiles ore referebantur, quomodo prope Marocum et Fes- sam quidam propheta ex sapientum numero surrexerit, nomine Mullei Om Hamet Ben Abdela, qui plurima occulta signa in se demonstrans, Regem istius regionis, Mullei Sidan, satis magno exercitu instructum, pene inermis, exigua manu aggressus profligavit et vicit, regnique sedem obtinuit. [Prima relatio incerto] Cum vero et hi fratres fama inconstanti ex Barbaria venisse per Hispaniam dicerentur, eiusdem artis et institutionis hi et ille Barbaricus propheta, existimati sunt: [Francf. nundi autumnal: A. 1616] Sed libro ipso de fama et confessione eorum edito, forte fortuna perlustrato, longe aliter de illis ferre iudicium informatus sum. Magna sane res est, quae ab illis agitatur, et pene incredibilis; quam si eventus expresserit, usuque ipso verissimam decla- raverit, habebimus satis per vitam, quod miremur, collaudemus et omnibus conatibus promo- veamus’.

43 Maier, Jocus Severus, 10: ‘Omnibus Verae Chymiae Amantibus, per Germaniam notis et ignotis, et inter hos, nisi nos Fama fallat, ILLI SANGUINIS GERMANICI ORDINI, adhuc delitescenti, at Fama Fraternitatis et Confessione sua admiranda et probabili, in genere manifestato, asscribo, dico et dedico’.

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The reference to deceiving “Fame” here is to the first Rosicrucian manifesto, the Fama Fraternitatis, and Maier’s words indicate that he initially hedged his bets concerning the existence of an organised secret Brotherhood. Neverthe- less, the word fama not only possesses the connotation of the English ‘fame’ with which it has been translated, but also that of “rumour” or “common talk”. Thus Maier seems to suggest that Fama might deceive because the ignorant masses are liable to understand chemical truths in a literal manner. He goes on to state that the anonymous members of the Fraternity are themselves like the Owl, because they shun the light of fame in order to avoid exposing the secrets of the alchemical Art. Maier counts himself amongst these owls, as he tells us that the Jocus Severus is a game he plays in the nocturnal hours in order to ‘escape the silence of Vulcan’s work’. So in his first Rosicrucian work Maier appears to be undecided as to the existence of an organised group behind the manifestos, but proceeds to treat the Brethren as exemplary of alchemists “known and unknown” throughout Germany.

The alchemists at the Golden Table

In his second work dealing with the Rosicrucian phenomenon, the Symbola Aureae Mensae completed some three months following the Jocus Severus, Maier continues to downplay the religious components of the manifestos, em- phasising instead their alchemical aspect. As in the Jocus Severus, the Symbola Aureae Mensae presents us with an allegorical arena of argument – in this case a banquet held in honour of the Virgin Queen Chemia and attended by the greatest alchemists from twelve different lands. In the course of the work Maier declares that the silence of the Fraternity is lawful, as their arcana are a gift from God and should not be exposed to the undeserving rabble. Such si- lence does not imply the non-existence of the Brethren, which was an oft- heard accusation given their failure to answer the many enthusiastic replies and entreaties for admittance provoked by the publication of the manifestos 44 . Again, it might be deduced from these arguments that Maier was convinced of the existence of an organised secret Fraternity lying behind the manifestos, and was thus victim rather than perpetrator of a ludibrium. Nevertheless, we find certain discrepancies and ambiguities in Maier’s account that bring such a judgment into question. Whilst discussing Albertus Magnus as the German representative at the banquet, Maier issues an invitation to the Rosicrucian Brethren to join their fellow alchemists at the golden banquet table:

44 Symbola Aureae Mensae, 289.

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Lest we the rearguard remain too long unbelieving, we declare: that praiseworthy German society, however many they are and wherever they may lie hidden amongst the living, are invited, called together, and led to this our Table, named Golden because of its golden guests, provided that they will be satisfied with quite simple dishes, which are the only courses we have to offer here (for the cook has been seized during his preparation by a hostile fever, sometimes cold, sometimes hot, and his breathing has been agitated, wherefore he is unable to serve up more splendid and opulent dishes of oxen) 45 .

It is clear from his words that Maier considers himself to be amongst a “rear-

guard” (post principia) of a similar ilk to the Protestant Hermeticists portrayed

in the manifestos; by inviting the Fraternity to the Golden Table he is calling upon those of his own persuasion to join together in face of their critics. The words “too long unbelieving” might indicate Maier was still uncertain con- cerning the status of the authors of the manifestos; nevertheless, it seems that he did not go to any great length to investigate the matter, given that he might have followed the same route that Friedrich Grick had taken to uncover their identity – the Frankfurt book fair 46 . Like other Rosicrucian apologists, Maier constructed his Rosicrucian writings as a rallying point for his own ideas, and

a call to realise an already-existing but dispersed and disorganised brother-

hood in Christ and Hermes. In this sense the words of the Symbola Aureae Mensae are not unlike the invitation that the manifestos themselves form. It is also evident that Maier’s “invitation” to the Fraternity is an attempt to demarcate the boundaries of true Rosicrucianism in accordance with his own proclivities; for those who would not be satisfied with the dishes served at the Golden Table are those with no interest in the practical work of alchemy and the production of chymical cures. Thus the puzzling allusion to the feverish cook refers to the labours of the alchemist, and the dishes he serves are the fruits of those labours. This allusion rests in part upon the traditional depiction of the alchemical process as a feverish man, to be found in the medieval Alle- gory of Merlin reprinted seven years prior to the Symbola Aureae Mensae 47 , or the strange tale of the duke dosed with sudorifics presented by the Allegory of

45 Symbola Aureae Mensae, 289: ‘Ne itaque et nos, post principia, nimis diu increduli rema- neamus, constituimus LAUDABILEM ILLAM SOCIETATEM GERMANICAM, QUOTQUOT ET UBI LATEANT APUD VIVOS, AD HANC NOSTRAM MENSAM, AUREAM DICTAM OB AURATOS CONVIVAS, invitare, convocare et adducere, si modo vulgaribus sint contenti missibus, (coquus enim certe dum in hac praeparatione tota occupatus fuit, quartano hoste nunc frigidum nunc calidum expirante agitatus lautiores bovis epulas apponere nequit) quos hic solos offerimus’.

46 Gilly, Cimelia Rhodostaurotica, 78.

47 See ‘The Allegory of Merlin’ and ‘Merlini Allegoria profundissimum Philosophici Lapidis arcanum perfecte continens’ under pseudo-Merlin in the bibliography below.

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Duenech and referred to in the 28 th discourse of Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens 48 . But Maier also suggests that he himself is the “cook” at the Golden Table; for this entire passage appears under the curious marginal heading, ‘The author has been fighting with the disease for four days (as the guests fought with Pyrgopolynices)’ 49 . Just what Maier is cooking up at the Golden Table is made evident by omission, when he states that the feverish chef is unable to serve the guests “opulent dishes of oxen”. This is not only a warning that those who wish to engage with the pleasures of the senses will not find their appetites satisfied at the Golden Table, but also an oblique reference to the temperance-imparting Universal Medicine Maier strove to produce, which is the “only course” on offer.

The ever-turning wheel of Rosicrucian apology

In the two works that Maier dedicates exclusively to the Rosicrucian phenom- enon, the Silentium Post Clamores of 1617 and the Themis Aurea of 1618, Maier stands with sovereign supremacy above the dispute concerning the true nature of the Brethren. This is despite the fact that he had no personal ac- quaintance with the Tübinger circle of Andreae 50 . The Silentium Post Clamo- res sets itself the task of explaining the silence of the Brethren with reference to various “philosophical societies” (amongst them the Druids, Brahmans and Egyptian priests), who exacted an oath of silence concerning their “chymical” secrets; whilst the Themis Aurea enumerates and elaborates upon the six laws of the Fraternity given in the Fama Fraternitatis. In the latter work Maier writes as if from the inside of the Order. Waite cited this fact as proof that Maier had entered into the ranks of an organised secret Fraternity; he also cited Garasset’s accusation that Maier was the “secretary” of the Brethren, and the testimony of the Echo Colloquii Rhodo-Staurotici we shall shortly exam- ine. But once the hypothesis of a tangible Order is dispelled, and hence the possibility that Maier was physically able to enter into the ranks of a secret

48 Atalanta Fugiens, discourse 28: ‘Duenech itaque a Pharut in Laconicum introducitur, ut ibi sudet, et tertiae concoctionis foeces per poros excernat: Est autem hujus regis affectus melancholicus seu atrabilarius, unde omnibus aliis principibus in minori authoritate et precio est habitus, dum Saturni morositate et Martis cholera seu iracundia fuerit taxatus: Ipse igitur aut mori aut curari voluit, si id possibile sit’.

49 Symbola Aureae Mensae, 289: ‘Authoris cum morbo (uti convivarum cum Pyrgopolynice, conflictu) quarto quoque die’. Pyrgopolynices, the braggart centurion from the Miles Gloriosus of Plautus, is the troublesome guest at the Golden Table; in Maier’s work he represents Queen Chemia’s adversary, whose objections to her laws are at each opportunity refuted succinctly by the gathered alchemists.

50 Schick, Das Ältere Rosenkreuzertum, 250.

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society, we are left with no other option but to accept Maier’s awareness of the virtual nature of the Order. Indeed, the Themis Aurea in particular demon- strates a conclusive shift in Maier’s thinking away from the possibility of the existence of an organised secret society – for if he had still entertained such a possibility, he could only have hoped to provoke the ire of the Fraternity as a non-initiate usurping their very laws. The preface of the Silentium Post Clamores also demonstrates that Maier was working beyond the interpretative paradigms proposed by Waite. There he states that the Fraternity prefer to bring their critics back to repose and a sounder state of mind, rather than stir up more passion by composing tedious responses – and true to his medical training, he uses the analogy of a doctor placating a delirious patient simply by displaying tranquillity 51 . In order to explain why he does not follow the serene example of the Brethren, Maier justifies his apology in the following way:

Even if the Brethren have no need of my protection or service – and I do not expect anything from them, except the goodwill which the virtuous offer to other good people – nevertheless I could not forbear to cast a white stone 52 on behalf of the truth, lest it might appear that truth is overwhelmed with malice by the cen- sure of ignorant people, rather than freed with righteousness by the fairness of the intelligent. For that censure is undoubtedly very similar to that illiterate com- moner, who did not recognise the face of Aristides, the most meritorious of the Athenian republic, and on that account followed the others in condemning him for being too just. But we relegate such people to their ploughs and hoes, not to writing and judgment; and we commend you to God, candid reader, who are not amongst them. Vale 53 .

In considering this address, Arthur Waite proposed two possible modes of reading Maier’s words; the first is to consider them as the expression of some- one whose ‘congenital credulity’ has led him to an ‘a priori belief in the actu-

51 Maier, Silentium Post Clamores, 4-5: ‘Sed quia ita mores hominum atque haec aetas ferunt, maledicos silentio suo potius ad quietem et saniorem mentem (ut Medici phreneticos) reducere conantur, quam responsionibus longioribus, quas sine dubio veridicas adferre possent, irritare ad affectum a bile augendum’.

52 The reference here is to stones used in antiquity for voting; a white stone was cast for assent or acquittal, a black for denial or condemnation.

53 Maier, Silentium Post Clamores, 5: ‘Interim, etsi nostro patrocinio aut officio non indigeant, nec ego quid ab illis, nisi benevolentiam, quam bonis boni ultro offerunt, expectem, tamen intermittere non potui, quin pro veritate calculum non nigellum iacerem, ne illa potius literam quoque Theta scribere ignorantium livore oppressa, quam recte sentientium candore absoluta videretur: Permultos enim esse illi cerdoni, qui Analphabetarius Aristidem optime de Repub. meritum, nec de facie agnitum, una cum caeteris ideo damnavit, quia nimis iustus esset, in hoc censu similes, non est dubium: Sed hos ad ligones et aratra, non ad literas et tribunalia destinatos ut novimus, sic relegamus, ac te, Candide lector, ex eorum numero exemptum Deo commendamus. Vale’.

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ality and honesty of the Order, because its claims are, from his standpoint,

without offence to possibility’ 54 . From this perspective the Silentium Post Clamores constitutes an open declaration of Maier’s desire for admission into the Order, analogous to the many other entreaties that emerged in the wake of the manifestos’ publication. The second possible interpretation given by Waite – and the interpretation he settled for – is that Maier’s words constitute ‘a defence issued from within the occult circle, which – while advancing what it can on its own behalf – is determined to remain anonymous and requires its

champions to dissemble’ 55 .

Whilst his remarks concerning Maier’s “congenital credulity” may not be so far wide of the mark, the inadequacy of Waite’s underlying assumptions is revealed in the elaborate classical allusions which Maier utilises in the course of his preface to the Silentium Post Clamores. We have seen that he refers to Aristides, the just Athenian patriot from the work of Plutarch bearing his name, who was ostracised by the citizens of Athens on account of their envy of his fame; during the ballot of ostracism a “clownish” illiterate approached Aristides, and, imagining him to be an ordinary citizen, asked him to write his own name on the ballot-sherd – with which request the disgusted Aristides complied. Here Maier again expresses his occultist elitism, and his disap- proval of certain parties writing under the name of the ‘just’ Fraternity who have impugned true Rosicrucianism by giving forth ‘calumny and viperous language’ 56 . Similarly, Maier contends that those who deceitfully write in the Fraternity’s name have brought forth monsters in the manner of Ixion, who attempted to mate with Juno, the “goddess of riches”; according to the Greco- Roman myth, Jupiter substituted for his wife an image of cloud, by which Ixion begat the Centaurs. The unhappy fate of the would-be adulterer was to be strung to an ever-turning wheel by Jupiter, which might be seen as an appropri- ate analogy for the seemingly endless dialectic set in motion by Andreae. The allusion Maier makes to the myth of Ixion demonstrates at least a partial awareness of the virtual nature of the Rosicrucian affair, for he tells us that the cloud with which the calumniators have mated is the ‘cloud of frenzied opin- ion’ that has grown up around the manifestos, leaving the true Fraternity as the ‘unhappiest of parents’ 57 .

54 According to Waite, ‘the will to believe was obviously much too predominant in Michael Maier for him to see that there was another point from which it might be possible to approach the subject, namely, that statements in anonymous documents which offer no evidence and cannot be checked otherwise can at most be left only as open questions and are certainly not justified by the appeal to an alleged possibility of things’. Waite, Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross, 321.

55 Waite, Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross, 320.

56 Silentium Post Clamores, 3.

57 Silentium Post Clamores, 3.

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Maier again refers to the Order as the surrogate parent of a vile offspring by comparing the calumniators to Autolycus, the son of Mercury who deceived and robbed his victims by using his inherited ability to transform himself into manifold forms. According to Maier’s allusion it is Mt. Parnassus itself, throne of the Philosophers, that the “Rosicrucian” impostors have sought to assail with the power they have usurped 58 . It is significant that the Fraternity is por- trayed here as Mercury, who has lent his shape-changing power to an unworthy child – a suggestion that the Order itself partakes of a mercurial nature. At the very least, the evidence of Maier’s preface indicates that his primary interest did not lie in admission to a secret Order; he was less concerned with the existence of a “real” secret Fraternity, and more concerned to distinguish true Rosicrucianism from false and establish himself as the chief spokesman of the former.

The initials R. C. as alchemical cipher

That Maier was unwilling to expose in writing his true opinion concerning the Brethren, and thus compromise the potency of the Rosicrucian myth, is made clear by a manuscript written some time after April of 1618 to his Calvinist patron, Moritz the Learned of Hessen-Kassel, who commissioned the first printing of the Fama Fraternitatis at Kassel. In that manuscript Maier simply writes:

What I have come to learn concerning the Philosophers R. C. I have already

whispered in the ear of your highness. My opinion appears to have been con-

firmed by reason and experience 59 .

This brief statement seems to indicate that Maier’s knowledge concerning the Brethren belongs to an occult class of information destined only for a privi- leged few, like the alchemical memoranda that fill the rest of the manuscript in question. We may ask what exactly he knew about the Philosophers R. C. that should remain hidden from the unwashed masses – could it have been that he knew the identity of the perpetrators of the manifestos by this point? Whilst it is possible that Maier became privy to this information after his entrance into the court of Moritz, the fact that the “opinion” he once shared with his patron

58 Silentium Post Clamores, 3: ‘Hinc tot in eam Calumniae et viperinae linguae exercentur, quibus pro deceptoribus Ixionibus seu monstrorum, dum cum nube insanae opinionis, vice Iunonis, Divitiarum deae, coiverint, parentibus infelicissimis, et Autolycis, qui proxima Parnasso loca furtis infestarint, habentur et proclamantur’.

59 Kassel, Gesamthochschul-Bibliothek, 2° MS Chem. 19, 1, 280 verso: ‘Quantum mihi cognitum sit de Philosophis R.C. iam ante in aurem Serenituri. V:ae dixi, in qua opinione a ratione et experientia stabilitus et confirmatus videor’.

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had been “confirmed by reason and experience” (the touchstones of alchemi- cal endeavour) seems to indicate that he is not referring here to the identity of the perpetrators of the manifestos. Rather, it appears that he had made a more general conjecture as to the very nature of the affair, and – in accordance with his tendency to find alchemical arcana under the cover of every myth and sym- bol – had chosen to interpret the title of the Fraternity as a veiled reference to the pious alchemists of Protestant Germany. Given his own predilection for literary conceits and “serious jests”, Maier’s public insistence on the reality of the Rosicrucians as an organised secret society is better understood as his means of playing the “game”, and of claiming authority for his own alchemy by adopting the mantle of the Order. That Maier became an insider to the true status of the Brethren is also sug- gested by the passage in his Themis Aurea in which he cryptically states that the letters R. C. do not in fact refer to the “rosy cross” 60 . In considering this passage Figala and Neumann have suggested that Maier understood the letters R. C. to refer to res chymica 61 ; and whilst their interpretation is ingenious and fully in accord with Maier’s ethos, Maier himself suggests a number of possi- ble terms conforming to the initials in the course of his Rosicrucian writings. Thus in the Symbola Aureae Mensae Maier sets forth the following enigma:

For me R. refers to the sea, In which fish are being hunted at three different times:

The first when Cancer thrust forth his claws, The second under the righteous judgment of Libra, The third when Aquarius pours forth wet waves:

Tell me, of which fish do I speak, and of which waves of the sea? 62

The reference here to fish in a sea appears to be an allusion to the alchemical allegory concerning “the little round fish in our sea” to be found in the enigmas of the Visio Arislei 63 . In the context of this allegory, the sea may be understood as the Mercurial Water, a universal solvent used to extract the “miraculous power” from the base metals or primary subject (the “fish”) within the al- chemical vessel. In the 22 nd discourse of his Atalanta Fugiens Maier follows Paracelsus in referring to the alchemical fish as trout, as it was believed that trout hold within themselves traces of the river gold they swallow (and hence,

60 Maier, Themis Aurea, 159.

61 Figala and Neumann, ‘Michael Maier (1569-1622)’, 49.

62 Symbola Aureae Mensae, 302: ‘R. mihi adest aequor, pisces captantur in illo/ Tempore tres vario, primus cum brachia Cancer/ Exerit, atque alter sub iusto examine Librae,/ Tertius humentes cum fundit Aquarius undas:/ Dicite, quos pisces statuam quas Aequoris undas?’

63 ‘Aenigmata ex Visione Arislei Philosophi’, 162. The vision of Arisleus and its enigmas were issued in 1572 and reprinted in 1610.

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according to Maier’s alchemical cosmology, they are a model for the divine power of the Sun, the seed of gold, lying at the heart of all metals) 64 . It follows that the “three different times” at which the fish are hunted represent three different phases of solution in the lengthy alchemical process, as dictated by astrological law; the first when the sun is in Cancer (from June 22), the second in Libra (from September 23) and the third in Aquarius (from January 20). These signs of the Zodiac correspond to summer, autumn and winter, giving spring as the time of the work’s completion – and perhaps Easter, in accord- ance with Maier’s first alchemical experiment detailed in the De Medicina Regia 65 . In the same place in the Symbola Aureae Mensae Maier offers up one of his interpretations of the initial C.:

C. gives you the sublime laws of a fortress; and there is No other bird who has more power with threatening wings and eyes Than the winged being thought to be yours. By that bird’s command a nest has been constructed in a tree, Which some time ago produced a series of gold-born chicks 66 .

On the one hand we may understand the fortress to be the alchemical vessel itself; it is analogous to the nest of the bird of the Rosicrucians, which, from the references given in another enigma in the Symbola Aureae Mensae, we

as Maier’s beloved Phœnix 67 . From its nest, unassailable in the

heights of an oak-tree, new life is born through a process of fiery destruction (the black phase of the work) and re-creation. On the other hand, the “nest” and “fortress” possess a significance beyond the vagaries of laboratory work. They are also a symbol for Protestant Germany, the heart of the spiritual regen- eration of Europe, and the womb that has brought forth the generations of the Fraternity, as Maier puts it in his Themis Aurea 68 . Thus in Maier’s preamble to

may identify

64 Atalanta Fugiens, discourse 22. On this subject see de Jong, Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens, 179-180.

65 Maier, De Medicina Regia, Ci recto - Ci verso.

66 Symbola Aureae Mensae, 302: ‘C. vobis Castri sublimia iura dat, et non/ Inter aves est, quae valeat pernicibus alis/ Aut oculis ante hanc volucrem, quae vestra putatur,/ Et cuius nutu est constructus in arbore nidus,/ Qui pridem Aurigenos produxit in ordine pullos’.

67 The 5 th enigma of the ten offered by Maier describes the nest of the Phœnix built high in a

gnarled oak where it rears its chicks; the bird is to be found in the remote Arabian forests of Sheba, where it prepares for its long flight through all the world: ‘Iovis volucris olim/ Quercu plicasset alta/ Nidos, suos penates,/ Pullos ut educaret:/ Rerum feracitate/ Estque apta visa sedes./ Quod cum Sabae remotis/ Sylvis eo propinquans/ Phœnix videret, inquit,/ Hic est quies parata/ Vola- ’

tuum labori,/ Qui factus est per annos/ Tot, integrum per orbem

Symbola Aureae Mensae, 299.

68 Themis Aurea, 123-124: ‘De Loco huiusce congregationis, aut legum promulgationis ne quoque quis sit nimis curiosus in indagando, videndum erit: Non enim hoc utile est sciri ab

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the Symbola Aureae Mensae enigmas, he tells us that ‘the defences of the high wall’ have been built around the ‘place of truth’ – and although the wall crum- bles before those that assail it, nevertheless the ‘artisans’ within rush forward to build it up again, ‘in order that, by the command of God, the threats may cease’ 69 . Two other enigmas in the Symbola Aureae Mensae give R. as “war and the pugnatrix” (a reference to the alchemical fire which is also alluded to in the Themis Aurea cryptogram deciphered by Borelli in his Bibliotheca Chimica 70 ), whilst C. is the waning moon (a symbol of cyclical decline and regeneration) – ‘for just as the waning moon foretells the darkness of shady night, thus also by and by the clouds are put to flight, as your Confessio prom- ises’ 71 . The terms Maier applies to the initials R. C. are various because the insignia impressed in Nature 72 may be represented in many different ways – thus Maier’s warning in the Atalanta Fugiens that the alchemists have applied the same words to different things and different words to the same 73 . And

omnibus, sed sufficit si a solis confoederatis et electis agnoscatur: in Utopia non est, ut opinor, nec apud Tartaros aut Lappones, sed forte in umbelico Germaniae, cum Europa forma virginem, et Germania in ea ventrem referre dicatur: Non convenit virgineos sinus patefacere vulgo, ne meretrix potius, quam virgo, vidatur: Satis est scire, eam non esse infoecundam, sed in utero suo (ut Themis ex Iove) hanc Eunomiam concepisse, aut hos Palycos fratres, tanquam ignotos et ex terra natos, (ut Thalia ex eodem) protulisse: Venter hic quidem virgineus est, at permultas artes et scientias, ante incognitas, edidit, GERMANIAM dico et intelligo, quae germinat nunc perpetuo ROSIS ET LILIIS, quae nec hyemem nec aestum ignis reformident, et in Philosophicis hortis seu Rosetis conservantur, ne petulca manus tenellos flosculos laedat aut carpat’.

69 Symbola Aureae Mensae, 291: ‘[Mina muri extant.] Minas extare alti alicuius muri cum ipsis fatemur, ex quarum lapsu concursuros opifices ad eas erigendas, at ita erigent, ut minae esse desinant, ex Dei nutu: Nullus enim timor aut minae apud veritatis amantes locum inveniunt ’

70 In his Bibliotheca Chimica, 156, Borelli gives the enigma on page 213 of Maier’s Themis Aurea and its solution under the heading of Aenigma Majerianum: ‘Clode No Marri in ium dicsit udaoltan plesaritto, Jeait os uperrimit cegmusiemon tus polcopitto, im oc igmon cemslu musalun, im hec musalurou os immusaluron. / Credo me nulli in iam dictis adversum protulisse, Jovis et Apollinis cognationem sat percepisse, in eo ignem contra naturam, in hoc naturalem, et innaturalem’. The simple cryptographic substitutions are revealed as: a = u, b = ?, c = c, d = d, e

= o, f = ?, g = g, h = ?, i = i, j = j, k = ?, l = r, m = n, n = m, o = e, p = p, q = ?, r = l, s = t, t = s, u

= a; hence the ‘Tusalmat’ appearing in Maier’s manuscripts gives ‘Saturnus’, as Newton sur- mised.

71 Symbola Aureae Mensae, 300-301: ‘En mediata vobis/ Luna resplendet radiis, hinc quoque C. dicata est,/ Cornua namque Phoebes/ Ceu monent decrescere noctis tenebras opacae,/ Sic ’

quoque mox fugandas/ Esse nubes, publica confessio vestra spondet

of this verse of Maier’s is unmistakable.

The millennialist aspect

72 Maier utilises the phrase insignia impressa rather than the largely synonymous Paracelsian term, signatura; both refer to ‘signatures’ in Nature pointing towards her divine origins. Silentium Post Clamores, 18.

73 Atalanta Fugiens, discourse 11.

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whilst Maier denies that R. C. refers to a “rosy cross” in the Themis Aurea, he goes on to imply that a more correct interpretation would be the “crossed rose” – for although the letters represent “sweetness and bitterness”, the former is the substantive, and the latter only a passing adjective 74 . In this typically enig- matic manner Maier elaborates upon the traditional alchemical correspond- ence between the “crossed rose” of Christ and the lapis philosophorum, ‘in the beginning of which there is misery with vinegar, but in the end of which there is truly joy with gladness’ 75 . In short, the question of an organised secret society lying behind the mani- festos was of secondary importance to Maier, and although in time he appears to have answered this question in the negative, his primary interest was always to exploit the Rosicrucian phenomenon as an arena for the promotion of his own alchemical ideas. Whilst it is true that Rosicrucianism figured promi- nently as a focal point for Protestant Hermetic thought in the period preceding the Thirty Years War, contrary to the thesis of Yates Maier played a peripheral role in the politics of his time – a fact to which the surviving intelligence report from Maier to Moritz the Learned testifies. There Maier warns his patron of Spanish threats to force passage through Hessen-Kassel to reach Bohemia, although the fact that he opens his letter with the self-depreciating admission that he hasn’t any good reason to write suggests this item of news was not new to Moritz 76 . The remainder of Maier’s letter deals with articles of hearsay and prophecy concerning the comet of 1618 and other strange celestial events, which highlight the millennialist anxieties inspired by the deteriorating state of the Empire, but which would have been of little practical use for Moritz (who dispensed with Maier’s services shortly thereafter). The fact that Maier sug- gests certain of these portents should be heeded shows that he, too, was deeply imbued with the spirit of foreboding preceding the Thirty Years War – and his musings on the “waning moon” in the enigma cited above reveal glimpses of a distinctly “alchemical” understanding of social conflict and transformation. Nevertheless, it should also be remarked that when adopting the mantle of the Fraternity Maier had no interest in advancing theological or political argu- ments, although his sympathy clearly lay with the heterodox Lutheran sensi- bilities of the manifestos, and he sought to distinguish the true Rosicrucians from those ‘Anabaptists and Enthusiasts’ who disturb ‘all order and law’ by

74 Themis Aurea, 159.

75 Symbola Aureae Mensae, 568: ‘Esse in Chemia nobile aliquod corpus, quod de domino ad dominum movetur, in cuius initio sit miseria cum aceto, in fine vero gaudium cum laeticia, ita et mihi eventurum praesupposui, ut primo multa aspera, amara, tristia, taediosa gustarem, perferrem et experirer, tandem omnia laetiora et faciliora visurus essem’.

76 Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg, Bestand 4g, Paket 57- 1619, 1-2.

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publishing their foolish dreams under the good name of the Fraternity 77 . To Maier’s mind, the ideal Rosicrucian Brother was a man like himself, absorbed in the practical labours of alchemy and the procurement of a medicine of piety, which restores the balance of humours in the human body just as it harmonises the four elements and two principles in imperfect metals 78 . Maier’s agenda seems to have borne some fruit, given Father Garasset’s remarks, and given the largely alchemical bent of later Rosicrucianism 79 . Furthermore, the fact that Maier chose not to use a pseudonym when publishing his works must have raised his profile in Germany considerably, as we find his tracts are given a good deal of publicity in the subsequent debate concerning the true identity of the Brethren.

Lucas Jennis and Maier’s “entrance into the Order”

Perhaps the final word on Maier’s relation to Rosicrucianism should be given to his publisher, Lucas Jennis, a man who was in a better position than any of us to understand the true, virtual nature of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. Two of those tracts which make favourable mention of Maier’s labours with regard to the Rosicrucians are the Colloquium Rhodo-Stauroticum and its rejoinder, the Echo Colloquii Rhodo-Staurotici, which Jennis published alongside Maier’s own Ulysses some two years after the alchemist’s death. The Colloquium is probably the work of Daniel Mögling, personal physician of the Calvinist Landgrave Philipp von Hessen-Butzbach; in the course of his theosophically- orientated apology the author cites the Symbola Aureae Mensae, the Themis Aurea and the Silentium Post Clamores as evidence that knowledge of the lapis philosophorum had been passed to the Brethren quasi de ore ad ora through many centuries 80 . These references seem to have inspired the peculiar

77 Themis Aurea, 233. These sentiments lie in accord with the Fama Fraternitatis, which rails against all ‘enthusiasts, heretics and false Prophets’. Kooij and Gilly, Fama Fraternitatis, 97.

78 Contrary to various writers who have described him as a Paracelsian, Maier adhered to the medieval sulphur-mercury theory rather than the tria prima, although he believed that just as Luther had ‘purged the papist faeces’ from German theology, so Paracelsus had undertaken a similar commendable task in the realm of Medicine. Maier, Verum Inventum, 210-211, 214.

79 As McIntosh and Peuckert have argued, above all other authors it was Maier who effected a definitive binding of alchemy with the Rosicrucian tradition, as alchemy had formed only a part of the message of the original manifestos and their rejoinders. McIntosh, The Rosicrucians, 54- 56; Peuckert, Pansophie, 152.

80 C. I. B. F. Colloquium Rhodo-Stauroticum trium personarum, per Famam et Confessionem quodammodo revelatum, de Fraternitate Roseae Crucis, 138: ‘Si enim illa incredulis Ethnicis, qui de Deo, neque eius verbo atque voluntate certi aliquid sciverunt, tali modo largitus est, quod etiam, veluti Dominus Michael Mayerus, in suo Silentio post Clamores, eius rei meminit, integra Collegia huius professionis inter ipsos fuerint, in quibus naturae mysteria summo studio agitata,

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allusion to Maier made in the Echo Colloquii Rhodo-Staurotici, which as we have mentioned was taken by Waite as evidence for Maier’s “entrance” into the order “ere he died”. The author of the Echo is one Benedictus Hilarion – and the “joviality” implicit in his surname should immediately arouse our sus- picions concerning the authenticity of his claim that the work was issued ‘ac- cording to the mandate of the superiors’ of the Rosicrucian Order, in imitation of certain passages in the Colloquium 81 . In the opening paragraphs of the 1622 German edition of the work, “Benedictus Hilarion” addresses the author of the Colloquium as ‘well-known friend Anonymous’, and states that the identity of this ‘well-beloved and highly trusted’ man is in fact known to the Order. He goes on to write:

It is quite accurate that our silence has hitherto made many people crazy, never- theless only those who cannot wait in patience for the time. However, you should not be counted amongst those people, because you have always been more for than against us, together with some other good-hearted people known to us: as you have shown in many ways with your verbal defence against those who, by their great ignorance, have proved to be full of hatred towards us. Being an edu- cated man, Master Michael Maier also did the same in writing, as he proved in a worthy and reasonable manner in his Silentium Post Clamores, Themis Aurea, Verum Inventum, Symbola Aureae Mensae, etc. Which writings from him shall not have been written in vain 82 .

Unfortunately for Waite’s hypothesis, it must be noted that the 1624 Latin translation from which he quotes elaborates a little on the original German, stating in tandem with the original that Maier shall not have written his de-

et multis seculis quasi de ore ad ora, posteris suis, quos ex aliis Philosophis elegerunt, ista

reliquerint’. Curiously, C. V. A. I. B. F. are given as the author’s initials in the original German edition, Colloquium Rhodo-Stauroticum, Das ist: Gespräch dreyer Personen/ von der vor wenig Jahren/ durch die Famam et Confessionem etlicher massen geoffenbarten Fraternitet deß Rosen Creuzes. 81 As Schick once wrote, ‘Brother’ Benedictus Hiliarion ‘banters with the author of the Collo- quium with impish ease, and takes the public for a ride’; Schick, Das Ältere Rosenkreuzertum,

189.

82 Benedictus Hilarion, Echo Colloquii Rhodo-staurotici, Das ist: Wider-Schall/ oder Antwort/ auff das newlicher zeit außgegangene Gespräch Dreyer Persohnen, 7-9: ‘Nicht ohn ist es zwar/ daß unser Silentium oder Stillschweigen bißhero/ viel Leuth irre gemacht/ jedoch nur die jenigen/ so der zeit nicht mit Gedult erwartten können. Unter welche du für deine Person gleichwol nicht solst gezehlet seyn: dieweil du sambt noch etlichen uns wolbekandten feinen guthertzigen/ jederzeit mehr pro als contra nos gewesen. Wie du dann dasselbige mit mündlicher Defendirung/ alleweg bey den jenigen/ so uns/ auß grober Unwissenheit/ gehässig/ sehr wol erwiesen. Deßgleichen dann auch Herr Michael Mayer/ als ein Gelehrter Mann/ solches Schrifftlich verrichtet und gethan hat/ wie dasselbige vernünfftig unnd wol außweisen/ sein Silentium Post Clamores, Themis, Verum Inventum, Symbola Aureae Mensae etc. Welche Scripta dann auch von ihme dem Domino Authore nit umbsonst oder vergebens sollen geschrieben seyn’.

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fences of the Order in vain, but adding that ‘we will deservedly reward him before his death, as much with great honours as with communications of singu- lar mystery’ 83 . Strangely enough, that Latin translation was made by Lucas Jennis himself. In his foreword to the Ulysses Jennis states that he has trans- lated and published the Colloquium and the Echo partly out of love for the departed Maier, partly out of Christian duty, partly out of politics, and all for the service of humanity; and whilst the Echo may be a ‘work of vexation’, nevertheless it is one which Maier would also have commended 84 . These words seem to indicate that Maier was more closely bound up with the origins of the Colloquium and the Echo than Jennis reveals: a suspicion which be- comes greater when considering Hilarion’s peculiar description of Maier as a person who has defended in writing that which the author of the Colloquium has defended “verbally”. Nevertheless, it must be said that whilst the theo- sophical orientation of the two tracts does not run counter to Maier’s ideals, it is out of character with the alchemical emphasis in the rest of his printed Rosicrucian works, and mitigates against the possibility that Maier himself was the author either of the Colloquium or its Echo. Whatever the case may be, it would appear that Jennis was paying his own respects to the memory of Maier when he elaborated upon the German original of the Echo with his statement that Maier would be “rewarded” by the Frater- nity before his death. In his foreword to the Ulysses Jennis appears to refer to his very own fabrication when he asks if the reader would be happy to hear that Maier had been accepted into the Order before his death. He goes on to write that he does not know if this is true, although he knows very well that Maier has been associated with the Order ad extremum. Furthermore, it is well- known that Maier was ‘a brother of the kingdom of Christ’ (i.e. a Regni Christi frater, or ‘Brother R. C.’) 85 .

83 See n. 4 above.

84 Maier, Tractatus Posthumus, 5-6: ‘Itaque partim ex amore, erga proximum meum, Christiano, et simul politico, omnibus pro virili inserviendi desiderio (praesertim cum cognoverim, quod etiam externae nationes de fraterna ista societate jam primum majori Studio inquirere incipiant) intermittere nec potui, nec volui, quin res istas hisce simul conjungerem Colloquium Rhodo-Stauroticum (in quo cunctis de rebus Fraternitatem concernentibus tractatur) et ad illud pertinens Echo. Quae cum nulla alia, quam in vernacula (uti quidem recordor) typis impressa viderim, ea propter illa, in tui benevoli Lectoris gratiam, in Romanam linguam transferri curavi. Quo de meo instituto et jam pro lubitu tuo nunc ipse judicare poteris. Pro mea tamen persona commemorata ista opuscula non adeo inconcinna mihi videntur, praesertim autem Echo. An vero a Fraternitate forsitan suam trahat originem, vel saltim figmentum, et scriptum vexatorium sit, quorum similia multa hactenus sunt edita illud ipsum cuiusvis nunc relinquo judicio’.

85 Maier, Tractatus Posthumus, 7-8: ‘Quoniam etiam, peramice Lector, mox ab initio Domini Doctoris Majeri aliquoties mentionem fecimus, forsitan libenter scires, an videlicet ille ipse

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Although Jennis’ statement clearly takes the virtual nature of the Brethren beyond the realms of a trifling literary conceit, would Maier have approved of such a denomination given his own alchemical interpretation of the initials R. C.? In answering this question, we may note that Christian piety was a main- stay of Maier’s alchemy, and the lapis he laboured to produce was a gift of God to the faithful. Furthermore, in the course of his Symbola Aureae Mensae Maier answers certain critics who doubt that Paracelsus (1493-1541) had read the Book M. which had been sealed in the Rosicrucian tomb in 1484; Maier responds that it matters little whether Paracelsus had read this or that book, as the Book M. is in fact ‘the liber mundi, or the book of things existing in this world and their properties, or indeed the book of natural magic’ 86 . The reading of the divine “insignia” impressed in the “book of the world” by the Creator was the central concern of Maier’s alchemy, and like many alchemists before him he laboured above all to discern in Nature that venerable pattern ex- pressed in the Passion and crucifixion of the Saviour – the mystery of death and resurrection. For Maier the Order was no mere ludibrium; on the contrary, the Brethren (i.e. the pious alchemists of Germany, known and unknown) were linked by incorporeal bonds, and those who were able to see with the ‘little eye of the soul’ 87 had already been accepted into their timeless ranks.

Hereward Tilton (England, 1968) is a lecturer in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Queensland, and has recently completed his doctoral thesis entitled “The Quest for the Phœnix: Spiritual Alchemy and Rosicrucianism in the Work of Count Michael Maier (1569-

1622)”.

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Molther, Georg, De quodam peregrino, qui anno superiore MDCXV imperialem Wetzflariam transiens, non modo se fratrem R. C. confessus fuit verum etiam multiplici rerum scientia, verbis et factis admirabilem se praestitit, Frankfurt am Main: Johann Bringer 1616. ——, ‘Von einer frembden Mannsperson/ Welche inn jüngst verflossenem M. DC. XV. Jahr

durch deß H. Reichs Statt Wetzslar gereißt/ und sich nicht allein für ein Bruder deß Ordens deß Rosen Creuzes außgegeben/ sondern auch durch vielfältige Geschickligkeit/ unnd allerhand Sachen Wissenschafft/ mit Worten unnd Wercken sich also erzeigt hat/ daß man sich ab ihme verwundern müssen/ Gründtliche Relation’, in: Fama Fraternitatis, oder

Sampt dem

Sendtschreiben Iuliani de Campis, und Georgii Moltheri Med. D. und Ordinarii zu Wetzlar Relation/ von einer diß Ordens gewissen Person, Frankfurt am Main: Johann Bringer 1617. Montgomery, John Warwick, Crisis in Lutheran Theology, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House 1973. ——, Cross and Crucible: Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654), Phoenix of the Theologians, Vol. 1, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff 1973. ——, ‘The World-view of Johann Valentin Andreae’, in: Gilly, Carlos (ed.), Das Erbe des Chris- tian Rosenkreutz, Amsterdam: In de Pelikaan 1988, 152-169. Morhof, Daniel Georg, Polyhistor Literarius Philosophicus et Practicus, Lübeck: Peter Böchmann 1714. Murr, Christoph Gottlieb von, Über den Wahren Ursprung der Rosenkreuzer und des Freymaurerordens, Sulzbach: Johann Esaias Seidel 1803. Mynsicht, Adrian von (Hinricus Madathanus), ‘Aureum Seculum Redivivum’, in: Dyas Chymica Tripartita, das ist: Sechs Herzliche Teutsche Philosophische Tractätlein, Frank- furt am Main: Lucas Jennis 1625, 67-87. Naudon, Paul, Les Origines de la Franc-Maçonnerie: Le métier et le sacré, no place given:

Dervy 1991. Peuckert, Will-Erich, Die Rosenkreuzer: zur Geschichte einer Reformation, Jena: Eugen Diedrichs 1928. ——, Pansophie: ein Versuch zur Geschichte der weissen und schwarzen Magie, Stuttgart:

Kohlhammer 1936. pseudo-Albertus Magnus: ‘Scriptum Alberti super Arborem Aristotelis’, in: Theatrum Chemicum, Vol. 2, Straßburg: Zetzner 1659, 458. pseudo-Merlin, ‘Merlini Allegoria profundissimum Philosophici Lapidis arcanum perfecte continens’, in: Artis Auriferae, Vol. 1, Basel: Conrad Waldkirch 1610, 252-254. ——, ‘The Allegory of Merlin’, British Library MS Sloane 3506, 74-75. Rotbard, Christoffer (Radtichs Brotofferr), Elucidarius Major, Oder Erleuchterunge uber die Reformation der ganzen weiten Welt/ F. C. R. auß ihrer Chymischen Hochzeit- und sonst mit viel andern testimoniis Philosophorum/ sonderlich in appendice/ dermassen verbessert/ daß beydes materia et praeparatio lapidis aurei/ deutlich genug darinn angezeigt werden, Lüneburg: bey den Sternen Buchf. 1617. Schick, Hans, Das Ältere Rosenkreuzertum: Ein Beitrag zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Freimaurerei, Berlin: Nordland Verlag 1942. Waite, Arthur Edward, Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross, London: Rider and Sons 1924. ——, The Real History of the Rosicrucians, founded on their own manifestos, and on facts and documents collected from the writings of initiated brethren, New York: J. W. Bouton 1888. Yarker, John, The Arcane Schools; a Review of their Origin and Antiquity; with a General History of Freemasonry, and its Relation to the Theosophic, Scientific, and Philosophic Mysteries, Belfast: William Tait 1909.

Entdeckung der Bruderschafft deß löblichen Ordens deß Rosen Creutzes

REGNI CHRISTI FRATER

33

“Regni Christi Frater”: Graf Michael Maier und die Bruderschaft der Rosenkreuzer Im Gegensatz zu solchen Interpretationen, die die Gründung der “Bruderschaft R.C.” als organisierter Geheimgesellschaft im 16. Jahrhundert mit dem Leipziger Manuskript Michael Maiers, angeblich einer rosenkreuzerischen Schrift, meinen belegen zu können, bildeten die im frühen siebzehnten Jahrhundert im Umkreis von Johann Valentin Andreae entstandenen rosen- kreuzerischen Manifeste vielmehr die wirkungsvolle, dabei jedoch ganz und gar virtuelle Plattform für die Verbreitung einer protestantischen hermetischen Philosophie. Wenn Michael Maier sowohl die Programmatik dieser Manifeste als auch die historische Existenz des Rosenkreuzerordens und seines Gründers ausdrücklich verteidigt hat, muß er dann konsequenterweise als betrügerischer Verfasser von Fälschungen betrachtet werden, als den spätere Autoren ihn gebrandmarkt haben? Eine Untersuchung zu der Art und Weise, wie er in seinen rosenkreuzerischen Schriften enigmatische Darstellungsmodi, Allegorien und Mythen einsetzt, führt zu einem anderen Bild. Nicht nur war es Maiers Hauptanliegen, die Sache der Rosenkreuzer für sich zu nutzen, indem er unter dem Deckmantel des Ordens wirkte und das Programm des Ordens in die Begrifflichkeit der Alchemie, die sein bevorzugtes Tätigkeitsfeld bildete, übertrug, sondern das Zeugnis des Herausgebers seiner Schriften, Lucas Jennis, legt zudem nahe, daß im Kreis um Maier ein spirituelles Verständnis des Ordens, gerade aufgrund seiner virtuellen Existenzform, überwogen hat. Gemäß dieses Verständnisses sind die Geheimnisse des Rosenkreuzerordens für diejenigen, die Augen haben zum Sehen, völlig offenbar; und fromme Erforscher der Geheimnisse der Natur wie Michael Maier sind schon in die zeitlosen Ränge des Ordens aufgenommen worden. So entdeckte Maier in den Initialen der Bruderschaft ein Zeichen für die alchemischen Gesetze der Natur als ganzer; das Entziffern dieser göttlichen “insignia”, die der Schöpfer in den liber mundi eingravierte, war das Hauptanliegen von Maiers Alchemie, und er widmete sich vor allem anderen der Aufgabe, in der Natur selbst das ehrwürdige Muster wiederzuerkennen, das im Leidensweg und in der Kreuzigung des Heilands dargestellt ist – das Mysterium von Tod und Auferstehung.

THE ROTTERDAM SYMPATHY CASE (1696-1697) A WINDOW ON THE LATE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY PHILOSOPHICAL DISCOURSE *

JULIETTE VAN DEN ELSEN

Alcippe te surprend, sa guérison t’étonne ! L’état où je le mis était fort périlleux, Mais il est à présent des secrets merveilleux. Ne t’a-t-on point parlé d’une source de vie Que nomment nos guerriers poudre de sympathie? On en voit tous les jours des effets étonnants. 1

Introduction

The late seventeenth century witnessed a paradoxical coexistence of science and magic, particularly in medicine. A striking example of this concerned the curing of wounds at a distance, otherwise known as the “sympathetic” cure. Since the sixteenth century, natural philosophers and physicians had increas- ingly drawn attention to this method of wound treatment, which originated from an age-old folk belief 2 . In the 1570s, a pseudo-Paracelsian book had ap- peared under the title Archidoxis magicae. Its author had composed a recipe for the anointment of weapons, by which any cut could be cured at a distance. This medication was not to be applied to the patient’s wound, but rather to the weapon that had caused the injury. During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the number of publications on this weapon-salve rapidly increased. At a time when the inter- action of substances was frequently explained in terms of sympathetic rela- tions, there was nothing awkward about accepting a sympathetic connection between the blood on a weapon and the body from which the blood originated. The renowned physician and alchemist Johan Baptista van Helmont (1577- 1644) wrote an enthusiastic study on this treatment, in which he related it to magnetism, a subject of great scientific interest at the time 3 . Although the idea

* Research for this publication was financially supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific research.

1 Corneille, Le Menteur, acte IV, scene 3.

2 The idea of sympathetic healing can be found in several cultures and periods in the history of humanity. See for example Frazer, The Golden Bough.

3 Van Helmont, De magnetica vulnerum curatione.

THE ROTTERDAM SYMPATHY CASE

35

of sympathetic powers was widely accepted, however, it was certainly not un- disputed. The growing recognition of the sympathetic cure was faced with keen criticism 4 . In various publications, Rudolphus Goclenius (1572-1628) and Jean Roberti (1569-1651) untiringly crossed swords over the issue (1608- 1625). Goclenius was firmly committed to natural magic, which he conceived of as a kind of natural philosophy, while Roberti considered all forms of magic to be the devil’s work 5 . Van Helmont came into serious problems with the Spanish Inquisition after having published his treatise on the weapon-salve 6 . In England, the sympathetic wound treatment was introduced by Robert Fludd (1574-1637). Van Helmont and Fludd both cherished a Neoplatonic- Paracelsian view of the universe. They saw the cosmos as a vital unity in which all things corresponded with one another by sympathy and antipathy. Magnetic remedies were an obvious implication of the existence of hidden natural pow- ers operating in such a vitalistic universe 7 . Since such sympathetic phenomena allowed scientists to discover the universal forces of nature, scrutiny of vari- ous properties of motion at a distance was considered of great importance to an adequate understanding of the universe. Knowledge of this powerful sym- pathetic chain, by which the whole universe was bound together, would prove the key to unlock all the secrets of nature. Although Fludd had introduced the sympathetic cure in England, it was his fellow countryman Kenelm Digby (1603-1665) who had popularized the use of the so-called sympathy powder. As a result of this, sympathetic treatments became very fashionable in England during the mid-seventeenth century 8 . In his defense of this new medicine, Digby referred to the existence of minute particles of matter in the atmosphere, which he usually called “atoms”, but at times also called “spirits” or “subtle essences”. The action of these particles, he believed, was caused by an “inner and outer fire”. External fire (sunlight) attracted air from the “pores” of physical objects, as well as the airborne parti-

4 Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science, VII, 503-505.

5 Pagel, Joan Baptista Van Helmont. Reformer of Science and Medicine, 8-9.

6 His defence of the weapon-ointment was convicted as heresy, which even landed him in prison in 1634.

7 Debus, ‘Robert Fludd and the Use of Gilbert’s De Magnete in the Weapon-Salve Contro- versy’, 389-417.

8 Digby had expounded his theory on the operation of the sympathetic powder in various books. His Two Treatises appeared in Paris in 1644. A Lecture he had given in 1657 in Montpellier was released in London in 1657 under the title of Of the Sympathetick powder. A discourse in a solemn assembly at montpellier. The original Latin version of his Theatrum Sympatheticum had appeared in Nürnberg in 1660. I have used a Dutch translation, published in Amsterdam in 1681 under the title of Theatrum Sympatheticum ofte Wonder-Toneel des Natuurs Verborgentheden.

36

JULIETTE VAN DEN ELSEN

cles. Internal fire, in contrast, expelled atoms and air from the pores of the so- called “hot” substance (for instance, the blood left on a weapon or on a piece of bandage). Immediately, the empty spaces were filled with new atoms and air, which in turn were attracted by the light or expelled by the inner fire, so that other particles would occupy the place of the former ones. In this way, Digby thought that there would be a permanent stream of atoms in and out of the pores. If the attracted air contained particles of a similar substance to that of the body to which they were moved, the attraction would be even stronger. According to Digby, it was exactly this relation that allowed the therapy to work at a distance. The sympathy powder, which was made of vitriol, accom- plished the cure; powder of vitriol was often applied to wounds so as to stop the bleeding. The particles of vitriol were mixed with the blood-particles, which, having a natural inclination to their source, brought about the transfer of the medicine to the wound 9 . Thus, according to Digby, the sympathetic ac- tion occurred as follows: the external fire and the wound’s “hot and fiery spir- its” allowed the air to flow continuously to and from the pores of the body; along with the air the diffused particles of blood and vitriol would in the end reach the original place of the blood, namely the wound that had to be cured 10 . Blood was not the only substance that could effect a sympathetic healing. Urine, for instance, to which the sympathy powder had been added, could do so as well.

Henricus Georgius Reddewitz: fraud or genius?

With the entry of new rationalist and empiricist views into the natural sciences at the end of the seventeenth century, treatises based on the principles of sym- pathetic magic had lost much of their credibility among physicians and natural philosophers. The repute Digby had enjoyed among his contemporaries had faded; the problem of sympathy scarcely attracted attention anymore. Never- theless, in 1697 the issue reentered the Republic of Letters, due to the opera- tions of a certain Henricus Georgius Reddewitz de Rodachbrun 11 , a miracle doctor residing in Rotterdam. He had apparently cured people at a distance,

9 King, The Road to Medical Enlightenment, 100-145; Histoire des Ouvrages des Savans, May 1697, 410-411.

10 Digby, Theatrum Sympatheticum, 90-98; Digby, Two Treatises, 76-79, 164-5.

11 Though in the journal De Boekzaal van Europe he is named George Henrik van Rettwich, I will in this article name him Reddewitz, the name under which he obtained his doctorate in September 1697 with a dissertation entitled De Vero Catharticorum Usu. See Schutte, Het Al- bum Promotorum van de Academie te Harderwijk, 88.

THE ROTTERDAM SYMPATHY CASE

37

, ing but working daily, in the absence of the patient, on his piss 12 .

by a sympathetic secret

; without cutting or … medicine

and by [doing] noth-

Not only did the German doctor pretend to heal wounds by stirring ‘a certain powder’ into the patient’s urine, but he also claimed to cure other ailments, such as kidney stones, gout and falling sickness. Pieter Rabus (1660-1702), the editor of the Rotterdam periodical De Boekzaal van Europe (The Library of Europe), was the first to have dedicated an article to this curious case, after it had been brought to his attention by his publisher Pieter vander Slaart 13 . Reddewitz’s sympathetic treatment had successfully healed an abscess on his thigh, which had been thought irremediable without surgery. Rabus printed the publisher’s testimony in the January/February 1697 issue of the Boekzaal, un- der the headline of ‘Overzeldzame genezingen’ (Highly exceptional cures). In the same article, Rabus had included another notarial testimony, which had been drawn up by Jacobus du Pré and Floris Joosten, two Rotterdam citizens who had been cured by the same doctor 14 . Although such medical treatment was not universally applauded, the Ger- man doctor had created enough commotion so as to provoke the publication of various tracts and pamphlets, some of which were printed or reviewed in the periodicals for savants 15 . In the same issue of the Boekzaal as that containing the testimonies mentioned above, a letter written by the Rotterdam city doctor Herman Lufneu (1657-1744) 16 was printed, which was addressed to the French Huguenot Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) 17 . In this letter, entitled ‘Over de

],

niet alleen zonder snijden, of eenig manuaal [

eenig medicament in te geven, en door niets anders, dan door dagelijks, in absentie van den

Lijder, op zijn pis te werken”.

werkstellig te maken, maar zelf zonder hem

12 Boekzaal van Europe, January/February 1697, 69: “door een Sympathetisch geheim [

]

13 Abels and Wouters, ‘Pieter vander Slaart, boekdrukker en boekverkoper in Cicero’, 327-

363.

14 Boekzaal van Europe, January/February 1697, 67-76.

15 Information about this case can also be found in Thijssen-Schoute, ‘Hermanus Lufneu, Stadsarts te Rotterdam’, 180-227; Thijssen-Schoute, Uit de Republiek der Letteren, 141-172; Van der Saag, ‘Pieter Rabus en Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in de Boekzaal van Europe’, 362-366; De Vet, Pieter Rabus, 194-199. In these works mainly the scientific status of the sympathetic cure had been discussed. The philosophical dimension of the sympathy-discussion has been analysed only partially. See also note 20 of this article.

16 Thijssen-Sschoute, ‘Hermanus Lufneu’, 180-227; Thijssen-Schoute, Uit de Republiek der Letteren, 141-172.

17 Lufneu frequently exchanged thoughts with Bayle, whom he had met in the Rotterdam circle of refugiés, about contemporary philosophical issues. Two of Lufneu’s physical treatises had appeared in Bayle’s Nouvelles de la République des Lettres: in the issue of April 1685 Bayle had printed the ‘Mémoire communiqué par M. Lufneu, Medecin de Rotterdam, sur une expé- rience curieuse d’Hydrostatique’ and in the number of February 1686 he had published the ‘Mé- moire communiqué par M. Lufneu Médecin de Rotterdam, touchant une fermentation singu- liere, dont il a fait l’experience, & dont il explique la cause’, concerning a fermentation, caused by the mixing of antimony, silver and mercury.

38

JULIETTE VAN DEN ELSEN

onmogelijkheid der zoo genaamde sympathetische werkinge’ (On the impossi- bility of the so-called sympathetic action) 18 , the author claimed that the ab- scess on Rabus’ publisher’s thigh had most probably disappeared simply by itself. Vander Slaart’s recovery, he said, had nothing to do with the alleged virtue of the so-called sympathy powder. In order to show the impossibility of this medical treatment at a distance, Lufneu quoted three fundamental princi- ples of the Cartesian doctrine of motion:

I. That a Body, being at rest, will never move naturally, unless another body,

, sets it in motion.

II. That a Body, being in motion, can not increase its speed, unless another

body lends more degrees of motion to it.

III. That a Body, being in motion, an object that can make it turn 19 .

, will not change its course, unless it meets

Even if the particles of this secret substance in the urine were transferable – for after all, they could not move of their own accord – they would be obliged to move in a straight line towards the patient. Lufneu, for his part, considered this impossible due to the resistance such particles would encounter. And even if they were to force their way through walls and other obstacles, why should they then stop at the foot of the patient? Van Helmont had tried to solve this by ascribing a certain intelligence to the particles found in the sympathetic mate- rial, but this was brushed aside as “twaddle”. According to Lufneu’s Cartesian principles, physical bodies simply did not possess mental faculties or a soul, the human body being the only exception to this rule. The Rotterdam physician Jan Schilperoort rejected Lufneu’s thesis that Reddewitz’ so-called miraculous art was nothing but quackery and fraud 20 . According to Schilperoort, the claim that Vander Slaart’s abscess had vanished spontaneously, was wrong 21 . Pieter Muis, Vander Slaart’s surgeon, had said himself that such was impossible. Schilperoort found Lufneu’s further remark, that suggestion or autosuggestion could have also healed the wound, utterly

18 Boekzaal van Europe, January/February 1697, 123-140. This letter had been written in French, but Rabus had translated it into Dutch.

19 Boekzaal van Europe, January/February 1697, 124: ‘I. Dat een lichaam, in rust zijnde, zig

nooit natuerlijker wijze zal bewegen, ten zy een ander lichaam, [

II. Dat een lichaam in beweging zijnde zijn vaart niet kan vermeerderen, ten zy een ander het

zelve meer [

veranderen, ten zy het ontmoete een voorwerp, dat het kan doen wederkeeren’. Cf. Descartes, Principia Philosophiae, II, art. 37-42.

20 The several studies on the Rotterdam sympathy case I have mentioned in note 15 are mainly focussed on Lufneu’s contribution to the discussion. Schilperoort’s ideas have been almost en- tirely neglected.

21 Schilperoort, De aloude bekende mogelijkheid van de sympathetische werkinge, 28-29.

zijn koers niet zal

]

het zelve in beweging brengt.

]

beweging byzette. III. Dat een lichaam, in beweging zijnde, [

]

THE ROTTERDAM SYMPATHY CASE

39

ridiculous. For if such severe wounds could indeed be healed by the imagina- tion, why did not all doctors just employ this easy method? Why then did they torture their patients by unnecessarily subscribing excruciatingly painful cures? Moreover, Schilperoort stated, Lufneu contradicted himself by propos- ing suggestion as the probable cause of recovery. After all, his three Cartesian principles of motion precluded such a solution. Schilperoort found that Lufneu’s philosophical reasoning was insufficient to counterbalance the empirical evidence confirming the sympathetic treat- ment’s validity. Although the cause of the sympathetic healing was still un- known, the effect of the treatment could not be denied. Schilperoort consid- ered this attitude as being a sign of laziness pertaining to ‘such folk as Mr. Lufneu, who, because they fail to understand something, directly proclaim in public writings that the thing is false’ 22 . Ever since antiquity, Schilperoort said, prominent scholars and natural philosophers have confirmed the truth of sym- pathetic action. He mentioned a long series of names, including Hermes Tris- megistus, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Arnald of Villanova (1240-1311), Theophrastus Paracelsus (1493-1541) and Cornelis Drebbel (1572-1633).

But as they are full of analogies, disguised and mysterious words, riddles and garnished ways of speaking, which nobody can understand without contemplat- ing and knowing the law of nature, many [of their readers] find themselves em- barrassed with them, as much as with the sympathetic force, which they therefore declare false, like Mr. Lufneu does 23 .

According to Schilperoort, Lufneu’s arguments against the possibility of a sympathetic action were false. However, Schilperoort did agree with Lufneu’s rejection of Digby’s corpuscular explanation of the sympathetic force, for he himself also considered the theory of a subtle matter as being subject to objec- tion. In his view, matter could not possibly work at a distance. The wind would scatter the particles emitted from the body in all directions. The weather condi- tions would influence the course of the atoms, as a result of which the number of particles arriving at the right place would be so small as to minimalize their effect. Therefore, Schilperoort identified the mistake in Lufneu’s argument not

22 Schilperoort, De aloude bekende mogelijkheid van de sympathetische werkinge, 6.

23 Schilperoort, De aloude bekende mogelijkheid van de sympathetische werkinge, 8. As much as possible, I have tried to leave Schilperoort’s awkward syntax and idiom untouched. The original passage runs as follows: ‘Maar dewijl die vol van gelijkenissen, verbloemde en duistere woorden, raadzels, en verzierde spreekwijzen zijn, dewelke men zonder een gansch afgezon-

derde bespiegelinge en kennisse van de wet der natuere niet kan verstaan, zoo is het, dat vele van derzelver lezers en onderzoekers zig daar mede ruim zoo veel als met de sympathetische

40

JULIETTE VAN DEN ELSEN

so much in his refutation of Digby’s corpuscular ideas, but rather in his purely materialist approach to nature. According to Schilperoort, sympathy was not a material or physical action, but rather a force comparable to thought-activity. Like thought, sympathy could reach any distant thing. Physical phenomena, such as weather conditions or solid objects, could therefore not disrupt a sym- pathetic or mental link 24 . In order to demonstrate that sympathetic motion was based on spiritual causes, Schilperoort made use of the same Cartesian principles of motion to which Lufneu had appealed in order to reject the sympathetic cure. According to Schilperoort, the only thing that followed from the first axiom – which stated that matter is not able to move of its own accord – was that matter could not be the cause of motion. This meant that sympathetic motion could not have a material cause. However, it would be too rash a conclusion to infer from this that sympathy was impossible. One could only deduce from it that the three material principles of motion put forward by Lufneu were not actually laws of nature, on which causal explanations of motion could be based, but rather that these three principles of motion were more likely to be consequences of more fundamental laws of nature. Schilperoort commented:

For the bodies and their motions do not constitute laws of nature; something precedes the body that is moved, namely the cause of the being moved; and since all bodies are resolved into that from which they have come, it follows that that from which they have come cannot be a body, because the cause is different from what is generated, and therefore the laws of nature that concern generation are not physical, and neither is the sympathetic cure, because the patient has not recov- ered yet, he still has to be cured 25 .

Vander Slaart published Schilperoort’s defense of the German miracle doctor under the title of De aloude bekende mogelijkheid van de sympathetische

(On the age-old possibility

of sympathetic action, presented in a letter to Mr…), in May 1697. Soon after,

werkinge, voorgesteld

in een brief aan den Heere

24 Schilperoort, De aloude bekende mogelijkheid van de sympathetische werkinge, 10-14.

25 Schilperoort, De aloude bekende mogelijkheid van de sympathetische werkinge, 9: ‘Want de lichamen en derzelver bewegingen maken geen wetten van de natuur; daar gaat iets voor het lichaam dat bewogen word, namentlijk de oorzaak van het bewegen tot worden: ende alzoo alle lichamen ontbonden worden in dat gene waar van ze gekomen zijn, zoo volgt het, dat het gene waar van ze gekomen zijn geen lichaam kan wezen, om dat de oorzaak van het gewrochte verschillende is, en by gevolge zijn de wetten van de natuer omtrent de voortbrenginge niet lichamelijk, gelijk de sympathetische genezinge ook niet en is, want de zieke is nog niet genezen, hy moet nog genezen worden.’ The reasoning here is this: Cause (laws of nature, among which the principle of sympathy) and effect (recovering body; moving matter) are of a different order. The effect (the recovery of the patient’s body) is physical, therefore the cause (the sympathetic cure), being from a different order, cannot be physical.

THE ROTTERDAM SYMPATHY CASE

41

in June 1693, Barent Bos 26 , who was Vander Slaart’s sworn enemy, published

a Dutch translation of Lufneu