4) Raimundi Lulli Testamentum novissimum. In Mangets Bibliotheca chemica curiosa. Basiliae 1572. Vol. 1, p. 792 and 808.
5) Henrici Christiani Senckenberg Selecta juris et historiarum. Franco-furti 1734. Tom. 1. p. 44.
6) J. Baader, Niirnberger Polizeiordnungen aus dem 13. bis 15. Jahr-hundert. p. 264.
7) Joh. Beckmann, Beitrage zur Geschichte der Erfindungen. Leipzig 1786 - 1795.
About the middle of the sixteenth century a distinction was made in German apothecary shops between the stronger Spiritus vini rectificatissimus and the weaker Spiritus vini rectificatus simplex, also between both and brandy (aqua ardens)5). During the second half of the sixteenth century Italy, more particularly Modena and Venice, appear to have supplied the more northern countries with spirit of wine6).
The familiarity with which spirit of wine was used as early as the first half of the sixteenth century, becomes apparent from the "Coelum phi/osophorum"7), by Philipp Ulstad, professor of medicine in Nuernberg. It was used for the preservation of meat, for the improvement of stale wine, for the extraction of spices and other parts of plants, hence for the preparation and utilization of alcoholic solutions of volatile oils, aromatic resins, and balsams.
From the thirteenth century on distilled aromatic waters were used more extensively as medicaments. The separationof oils both at the surface and beneath the aqueous distillate was observed, but apparently received but little attention. Owing to the practice of using alcohol in the preparation of many of these aromatic waters, the oil must frequently have remained in solution wholly or in part. Thus, e. g. the plants or plant products to be distilled were moistened with wine or aqua vitas before distillation; or, steeped in water, they were first allowed to undergo fermentation. Moreover, both alcohol and volatile oil were lost, in part at least, by submitting the plant products to a process known as circulation, a preliminary operation consisting of more or less prolonged digestion. In this manner inferior distilled or burnt waters were obtained.
1) Joh. F. Gmelin, Geschichte der Chemie. Gottingen 1797. vol. 1, p. 360.
2) Christophoro a Vega, De arte medendi. Lugduni 1564. Pars 2. Cap. 2, p. 237.
3) Joh. Beckmann, Beitrage zur Geschichte der Erfindungen. Leipzig 1786-1795.
4) P. Bergius, Tal om Stockholm for ar sedan och Stockholm nu fortiden. p. 100-101. B. Bergius, Tal om lakerheter. T. 1, p. 32-33.
Joh. Beckmann, Beitrage zur Geschichte der Erfindungen. Leipzig 1786-1795.
5) Mohsen, Geschichte der Wissenschaften. 1810. p. 488-498.
6) Alex. Tassoni Pensieri diversi. Venezia 1676. pp. 317 and 352.
A. Baccius, De naturali vinorum historia et vinis Italiae et conviviis antiquorum. I. vii. ace. de facticiis vinis et cerevisiis, de omni vinorum usu. Roma 1596 and 1598.
) Philippi Ulstadii Coelum philosophorum, seu liber de secretis natures, id est, quomodo ex rebus omnibus quinta essentia paretur. Argentorati 1528 et 1562 - - Augustae Trebocorum 1530 - Lugduni 1540 and 1553 - Parisii 1543 - Francofurti 1600.
Nevertheless, several of the more important experimenters and writers of that period knew and described volatile oils. In addition to the oils of turpentine and rosemary already mentioned, Arnoldus Villanovus1) and Raymundus Lullus2) describe the distillation of oil of sage; Sancto Amando3) that of bitter almond oil, oil of rue and oil of cinnamon; Saladinus of Aesculo4) that of oil of rose and oil of sandalwood. The writings of their contemporaries also reveal a knowledge of these and other distilled oils without, however, making mention of their use in medicine or the arts.
The epoch-making inventions and discoveries of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries wrought great changes in the natural sciences and their application. The discovery of the new world, made possible by the rediscovery of the compass, and the circumnavigation of Africa to the East Indies widened the horizon of the people. The period of the Renaissance and the Reformation assisted in doing away with the blind faith in authority, not only in theology but in the natural sciences as well, more particularly in medicine and alchemy. The founding of universities to the nord of the Alps during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the invention of printing with type toward the close of the fifteenth century, which followed wood engraving invented in the previous century, assisted largely in revealing anew the literary treasures of the past.
1) Arnoldi Villanovi Opera omnia. Veneti 1505. Liber de vim's, fol. 589-590.
2) Raimundi Lulli Experimenta nova. In Manget's Bibliotheca chemica curiosa. Geneva 1702. Vol. 5, fol. 829.
3) Expositio Joannis de Sancto Amando Supra Antidotarium Nicolai incipit feliciter. In the same edition with the works of Mesue. Veneti 1502. fol. 228 and Additiones fol. 85, 86, 87.
4) Compendium aromatiorum Saladini, principis Tarenti dignissimi, medici diligentis, correctum et emendatum. Bononae 1488. Editio Veneti 1471, 1488 and 1502. fol. 349 b.
Up to this time all treatises had to be multiplied in manuscript form. Presumably, therefore, many discoveries were known only to small circles and by no means to all scientists and investigators. No doubt, much disconnected work was done by some that was long known to others. As a result, the first discovery e. g. of a process or product, has never been traced. Moreover, as a result of tradition from one generation to another, from one country to another, much was lost1) even though recorded in manuscripts. Or, if inadequately recorded, it was not understood. Furthermore, it was the practice among alchemists, to use an allegorical language for the purpose of surrounding their treatises with a mysticism suited to their spagyric art and science. Hence these treatises were comprehensible only to the initiated. There was still another reason why the seeking for the lapis philosophorum was surrounded by a mystic language. It was done partly to cover up the alchemist's own uncertainties, partly to render it more difficult for others to find the much coveted solution to the secret. At the same time each adept, experimenting in his own secluded laboratory, supposed that the others already possessed the secret.