Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens

Michael Maier’s alchemical emblem book Atalanta fugiens was first published in Latin in 1617. It was a most amazing book as it incorporated 50 emblems with epigrams and a discourse, but extended the concept of an emblem book by incorporating 50 pieces of music the ‘fugues’ or canons. In this sense it was an early example of multimedia.

But a doubt may [be] raised how the Earth may be said to be the NURSE of the Philosophical Infant, seeing it is the Element which is most dry & void of Juice, insomuch that Dryness appertains to it as its proper quality. It may be answered that Earth Elemented is to be understood, & not the Element of Earth, whose Nature we have fully explained in the first day of our Philosophical Week. This Earth is the Nurse of Caelum or Heaven, not by opening, washing, or moistening the Infant, but by coagulating, fixing, coloring and converting it into more Juice & Blood. For Nutrition implies an Augmentation in length, breadth & Depth which extends itself through all the Dimensions of a Body, & seeing this can be afforded & administered to the Philosophical Infant by Earth only, it can in no wise be improper to call the Earth by the name of his NURSE. But this admirable Juice of Earth has a quality different from other kinds of Milk which are converted & do not convert for this by reason of its most efficacious Virtue does mightily alter the Nature of the thing Nourished, as the Milk of the Wolf is believed to have disposed the Body of Romulus to a Nature that was Magnanimous & prepense to War.


2 Responses to “Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens”

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Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans Profesor Alvaro Moreno Hoffmann

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