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Jacobus and Rudolf
> [stolfi:] Note that in Baresch's letter to Kircher there is no
> mention of Bacon or Rudolf. In fact, Baresch offered a very
> different theory about the book's origins, and he seemed to
> think of it as a mere curiosity that was "taking up space
> uselessly in his bookshelf". That's is a strange way to describe
> a book that an Emperor once paid 600 ducats for.
> [Gabriel:] The interesting thing is that it seems that B did not
> want to send it to K, so perhaps it was important to him and
> knew about its value.
That's a good point. Indeed, it seems that Baresh wasn't being wholly
sincere here: according to Marci, he was at least as obsessed with
deciphering the VMS as we are. Would that explain his reluctance to
part with the book? (After all, Kircher didn't spend much time
on the VMS, which he soon filed and forgot --- as Baresh must have
feared he would.)
Also, in his letter Baresh assigns great value to medicine, and
speculates that the VMS might contain medical knowledge from some
faraway land, possibly more advanced than Europe etc.. Thus he did
consider the VMS to be a valuable book --- IF it could be deciphered.
> Also let's suppose that he was aware of the possible fact that
> JdeT "borrowed" the book and never returned it. How B would
> explain that it was in his hands? Maybe he did not want to
> explain anything and kept it quiet.
Indeed, and worse: the Clementinum Jesuits were supposed to have
inherited most of Jacobus's estate!
But this argument can be turned around: if Baresh knew that the book
had belonged to Jacobus, and hence could be a valuable piece of lost
Jesuit property, why would he write to Kircher --- a Jesuit --- about
(BTW, I seem to remember reading in Schmidl that the Clementinum was
sacked during the war, shortly after Jacobus's death; but then the
tide turned and the Emperor ordered all their stolen property to be
> Whether JdeT had it (and stamped his signature) has no
> consequence. He obviously could not read it either, but it
> creates a possible route from Rudolf to B if we are to believe
> Raphael. The alleged signature is the only link. Without
> signature we would have no idea how it appeared in B's hands.
Actually, without the alleged signature there would be nothing to
explain: we would have assumed that Raphael was wrong, that the book
had never been Rudolf's, and that B just got it through ordinary means:
a bookshop, flea market, or estate auction; in Rome, in Prague, or
Or perhaps the signature is indeed Jacobus's, but the book was from
his own personal library, and never belonged to Rudolph.
It could in fact have been created by Jacobus himself, just for the
fun of it, while he was still a teenage student and "lab assistant" at
the Jesuit college in Cesky Krumlov. Now we only need to find out where
his pharmacy teacher Martin Schaffner did his missionary work, in Tibet or in
All the best,