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Alchemical terms...

Hi everyone,

"The Elixirs of Nostradamus", ed. Knut Boeser (German edition 1994, English edition 1996) also contains a handy glossary of the terms Nostradamus used. Here are some highlights:-

	1 fluid drachm (60 minims)	= 3.55145 millilitres
	1 fluid ounce (8 drachms)	= 2.84123 centilitres
	1 gallon (8 pints) or 160 fluid ounces) = 4.54596 litres

	1 scruple (20 grains)		= 1.29598 grammes
	1 drachm (3 scruples)		= 3.88794 grammes
	1 ounce (8 drachms)		= 31.10348 grammes

Alkanet: a medium-sized biennial/perennial plant, the root of which yields a red dye.

Amber, or "grey amber": ambergris.

Aqua regia: "kings' water"; chemical compound which dissolves most metals, including gold and silver.

Borax: borate of soda

Calcinated: reduced to friable substance by roasting or burning; desiccated.

Capitellum: alchemists' term for lye.

Lye: water made alkaline through being mixed with vegetable ashes.

Spikenard: tall, sweet-smelling plant, from which an aromatic ointment used to be made.

Venice Treacle: antidote to bites of poisonous animals ["theriac"?].

Vitriol: water-soluble sulphate of two equivalent heavy metals, esp. copper, iron, & zinc.

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