At the next Vossius Seminar Mathijs Boom (UvA) and Georgiana Hedesan (U. Oxford, Vossius fellow UvA) will present their research. Mathijs Boom: "Unearthing the deep past in the 18th-century Low Countries" and Georgiana Hedesan: "A Paracelsian Revival: The Clavis or the Tenth Book of the Archidoxis of 1624".
Unearthing the deep past in the 18th-century Low Countries
In the late 18th century, the study of earth history went through a series of momentous changes as naturalists across Europe unearthed remains of an ancient, pre-human history of the planet. Yet, the separation between the ‘physical’ history the earth and the ‘moral’ history of its inhabitants was far from clear. Savants explored parallels between natural and human history, and tried to connect the dots between recorded natural events and the physical remains of the past. Such efforts spawned crossbreeds of historical and natural knowledge about a murky deep past. My research focuses on varieties of historical thought in both humanist and naturalist studies in the late 18th century, when these fields began to drift apart. In this seminar I want to explore how the geographical and geological characteristics of the Low Countries can serve as a common ground on which to unite historical perspectives of 18th-century historians, antiquaries, and early geologists as their disciplines were drifting apart. I will draw on case studies from savants from Brussels to Haarlem to showcase how increasingly detailed studies of local natural phenomena gave rise to a new historical understanding of the land in two countries with a shared geography.
A Paracelsian Revival: The Clavis or the Tenth Book of the Archidoxis of 1624
In 1624 a work called Clavis, or the Tenth Book of the Archidoxis (Clavis, oder Das Zehende Buch der Archidoxen) appeared in Magdeburg under the editorship of Johannes Staritz or Staricius (b. 1580). Staricius was a polymath: physician, notary, crowned poet, and publisher of several books. The Clavis was introduced as the hidden tenth book of the Archidoxis of Theophrastus von Hohenheim, called Paracelsus (1493-1541), finally disclosed to the wider public. The Archidoxis (c. 1525) was one of Paracelsus’s best-known works, which his followers avidly read for guidance on alchemical practice. However, its contents were a matter of dispute amongst the early editors of Paracelsus’s works. At the turn of the 17th century, the possibility that Paracelsus had hidden one of the books was seized upon by followers that sought to revitalise the Paracelsian tradition. This talk focusses on the origins of the Clavis in the circle of radical Paracelsian supporters Adam Haslmayr-Benedictus Figulus-Karl Widemann, the rationale behind this publication and its impact.
Science Park UvA, A1.04