Alchemy and secret writing

Alchemy and secret writing

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.

Caption: Illustration from the Ordinall of Alchimy by Thomas Norton of Bristol, a 15th century Alchemist. The picture depicts a tenet of alchemy; that no-one should write down all its secrets in one place lest clerks gain the knowledge of it. Multiply sources of information must be consulted. Norton claims to have arrived at the Elixir of Gold & to have had it stolen by a servant. He then turned to the Elixir of Life, only to have it stolen by a woman. This tract is one of three written by Norton, & the only one to be published. It is an account of his alchemic studies under George Ripley & includes remarks on the ethics of Alchemy & obscure information on chemistry.

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Keywords: 15th century, 15th century alchemy, alchemist, alchemy, artwork, ethics, historical, history of science, illustration, industry, norton, ordinall of alchimy, pseudo-science, tenet, thomas

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