Auriferae Artis, quam Chemiam vocant, volumen secundum. Quod continet Morieni Romani scripta de re metallica [...] atque de occultae summaque antiquorum medicina, cum aliis authoribus

Autore: GRATAROLI, Guglielmo, ed. (1516-1568)

Tipografo: Peter Perna

Dati tipografici: Basel, 1572

8vo (165x98 mm). 468 [i.e. 560], [32] pp. Collation: aa-zz8 Aaa-Ooo8. With 20 half-page woodcut vignettes in text (ll. pp2r, pp6r, qq2r, qq7r, rr3v, rr8r, ss4r, tt3r, tt7r, uu4r, xx2r, xx8r, yy5r, yy7v, zz6r, Aaa2v, Aaa7v, Bbb3r, Bbb7v, and Ccc4v). Printer's device on title page. Contemporary limp vellum with overlapping edges and inked title on spine. On the title page ownership's inscription “vauquelin Des yueteau”. Two small ink stains on l. Hhh3, light damp stain to the upper margin of the final 100 leaves of the volume, but all in all a good, genuine copy.


Volume two (of two) of this collection of alchemical texts, entitled Auriferae artis, quam Chemiam vocant, antiquissimi authores, siue Turba philosophorum and edited by Guglielmo Grataroli for Peter Perna. Both volumes are very rare and are often found separately.

“No one man in the sixteenth century did more to circulate and to perpetuate a varied selection of curious works, past and present, in the fields of medicine, natural science and occult science than did Guglielmo Gratarolo or William Gratarolus […] He published the large folio alchemical miscellany known as Verae alchemiae … doctrina, separated the work of John of Rupescissa on the fifth essence from its Lullian perversion and contamination, issued the dialogue on alchemy of Giovanni Bracesco in Latin translation, and from the French turned into Latin what purported to be a narrative by Bernard of Treves. Thus he bridged the gap between the medieval period and his own time, and also did much to further the transit and dissemination of recent Italian works beyond the Alps […] The alchemical publications of Gratarolo may be viewed as constituting a transition from the alchemical works of the first half of the century […] to those of the Paracelsan revival […] In the same year [1561] Gratarolo published a much bulkier alchemical collection to which we shall refer by the first two words of the title, Verae alchemiae. It included four works by Geber, five by Arnald of Villanova, eight ascribed to Raymond Lull, several by authors since 1500, many more from the period before 1500, and a large number of the miscellaneous recipes and extracts which are so common in alchemical manuscripts. Indeed, the treatises just mentioned were already found together in a single large and very important manuscript which many learned men had urged Gratarolo to publish […]” (Thorndike).

The present edition is a reissue, in two 8vo volumes and under a new title, of the Verae alchemiae. We offer here volume two, which contains: Bernadi Trevisani responsio ad Thomam de Bononia de Mineralibus, & Elixiris compositione; Liber de artis Chimia incerti authoris; Scala philosophorum; Ludus puerorum; Rosarium; three works by Arnaldus of Villanova; and Rogerius Bacho Anglius de mirabilia Potestate artis & naturae.

Guglielmo Grataroli (or Gratarolo or Gratarol) was born at Bergamo. After completing his medical studies in Padua, he returned to his native city to practise medicine. In 1546 he underwent a conversion to Protestantism and after suffering persecution by the local inquisition he fled to Basel, where he practised as a physician and taught at the university. In 1552 he published an unusual pamphlet in which he expressed his own religious beliefs, including a millenarian admonition to the fauthful (Confessione di fede, con una certissima et importantissima ammonitione). He entered in contact with Calvin in Geneva and associated with printing circles in Basel and Strassburg. He compiled an index to the Basel edition of Galen's works and produced a number of small tracts on medical topics intended to constitute a sort of self-help encyclopedia for educated laymen. But Grataroli is also remembered as the maker of his compatriot's, Pietro Pomponazzi, international reputation in publishing the latter's works, and for introducing Girolamo Cardano to the Basel publishers (cf. A. Pastore, Grataroli, Guglielmo, in: “Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani”, LVIII, 2002, s.v.).


VD16, A-4354; Caillet, 551; Duveen, p. 29; Ferguson, I, pp. 51-52 (note); Thorndike, V, pp. 600-602; P. Bietenholz, Der italienische Humanismus und die Blütezeit des Buchdrucks in Basel, Basel und Stuttgart, 1959, pp. 159-160.