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Ludovico Albertini - author of the VMS?

Hi everyone,

More Caterina Sforza-related notes:-

It appears that she was well-versed in kabbalah and hermetic thought: her alchemical mentor was the "mysterious" (it says here) speziale ("apothecary") from Forli called Ludovico Albertini.

She also known a lot about astrology: Lucio Bellenti's 1498 incunabulum "De Astrologica Veritate..." (which John Dee had a copy of) is dedicated to her (I haven't seen it myself, but the Dibner Library has a copy) is a defence of astrology typical of the turbulent 1490-1500 period. Bellenti died in 1499 - possibly burned at the stake? (Well, that's my guess, anyway). :-/

Catherine Sforza also worked on her herbal over a twenty-year period, applying many potions (ie, toothpaste etc) on herself, such that the doctors who examined her body shen she died could scarcely believe her youthful looks, soft hands and skin, white teeth etc - some 15 or more years less than her physical age.

It might be an interesting exercise to analyse her potions and her cause of death, to see if any of them were inadvertantly exposing her to some cumulative toxin. :-/

Unsurprisingly, her ghost is still frequently reported in many of the Sforza castles and buildings in Northern Italy. :-/

Anyway, back to the VMS: if the herbal images are anything to go by, she seems to have been an empiric herbalist rather than a theoretical one - so the sections on astrology and cosmology in the VMS seem a *slightly* curious juxtaposition (even given the proposed link with astrological birth prediction). (Note that she did have many more sons than daughters...)

So my theory du jour is: the VMS was actually owned and created by *Ludovico Albertini*, Catherine Sforza's alchemical mentor. The herbal and pharmaceutical sections, then, were probably copied directly (ie, textually & structurally intact) from her herbal & pharma notebook(s), whereas the other data in the VMS was copied from a separate source - perhaps from Lucio Bellenti (though the jury's out).

Can anyone point me to any books or papers with more information on either Ludovico Albertini or Lucio Bellenti? What were their non-Latinised names? Is there any biographical data on either? How did they die? Are there any papers on their deaths (in the Vatican)? Were either listed by Simon de Phares?

Sorry for the abundance of questions on this - any tiny pointers to nudge me in the right direction would be much appreciated. :-)

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....