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Re: John Dee

Hi Jorge,

In fact, Dee is actually *less* likely to be the "bearer" than, say,

Kelly's widow sold at least part of the estate she inherited to Sendivogius: this (for me) provides a plausible mechanism whereby the VMS can end up in the right hands at the right time. :-)

Dee may have marked the quires, but my belief is that Kelly owned it up to his death.

Well, I hope that Rafal can comment on that. In any case, the quire
numbers seem to be too small a sample for the positive identification
of one scholar among many.

Dee had a fairly idiosyncratic hand: I think the identification of the quire marks as Dee's may be far more solid than you give it credit.

    > BTW: I'm now quite comfortable with identifying the VMS with
    > Kelly's "boke of Dunstan", especially now that I've read (in
    > Breisach) about Caterina Sforza's alchemical experiments - I
    > couldn't see the link before that. :-)

I thought that the theory "VMS=BoD" had been convincingly dismissed.
Note that there is nothing in the VMS remotely suggestive of alchemy
or gold-making, which I understand was the topic of the BoD. Isn't
that so?

The best match I've found for the VMS' source material is Caterina Sforza's "Gli Experimenti", part of which Breisach describes thus:-

p.137   A third group of prescriptions interested Caterina in her position
        as a quattrocento ruler. These showed how to alter the metallic
        content of the florin without qualms of conscience, how to make
        silver from tin, and how to prepare an efficient deadly posion (sic).
        One of these, the formula for making eighteen carat gold from
        base matter, fascinated Caterina as late as 1504 when she was
        gradually losing interest in her collection.

Just before the "Gli Experimenti", Pasolini includes a two-page letter written by Lorenzo de Mantechitis, who Caterina freed from jail "on the condition that he put his supposedly rich knowledge of alchemy at Caterina's service." For Breisach, this appears typical of her behaviour at that time.

So: I don't claim that the VMS appears alchemical: my claim is that the VMS appears very close to the "Gli Experimenti", which (in turn) is definitely at least partly alchemical.

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