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Re: John Dee
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
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
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
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.....