Life and work of the Lviv alchemist A. Torosowicz

Familiarity with the creative activity of the Lviv burgher and the outstanding alchemist A. Torsovich. Consideration of the history of Western esotericism. General characteristics of the main facts of the practical implementation of alchemical knowledge.

Рубрика Философия
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 15.11.2018
Размер файла 25,7 K

Отправить свою хорошую работу в базу знаний просто. Используйте форму, расположенную ниже

Студенты, аспиранты, молодые ученые, использующие базу знаний в своей учебе и работе, будут вам очень благодарны.

Размещено на

Life and work of the Lviv alchemist A. Torosowicz

alchemist esotericism burgher

On the 9th of April, 1626, Lviv's bourgeois Andrzej Torosowicz, who lived on the Armenian street, began to write his alchemical treatise. He completed it on the 28th of February in 1631. These dates are indicated in the treatise "Sekreta z ogrodu filosovskiego, zebrane prawdzsiwe o kamieniu blogoslawionim filozovskim z wykladem. Pisane roku panskiego 1626" ("The mystery of the garden of philosophy, the true collection of the blessed stone is philosophical, written in 1626 ") which consists of 177 sheets. Nowadays, it is stored in the Central State Historical Archives in Kyiv and is accessible for use [The State Historical Central Archive of Ukraine], For the first time this treatise was discovered in 1981 by A.Harkavets. He also was the first who made a brief description of the book [Гаркавец, 2002: 954-957]. Unfortunately, because now, there is no complete translation of Andrzej Torosowicz work, therefore, will be used the fragments published by O. Harkavets and at the same time, our translations of certain parts of his treatise. There is not much information about Andrzej Torosowicz. The main sources were discovered and worked out by such philologists as O. Harkavets and E. Tryjarski [Tryjarski, 2001: 47-59]. Also, K. Rodyhin and M. Rodyhin gave some information in their articles [Родигін К., Родигін М., 2012: 164-172; Родигін К., Родигін М, 2017: 268-279].

The goal of the paper is to follow the life and work of Andrzej Torosowicz from the sources available at this moment as well as to conduct a historical and conceptual analysis of his treatise "The mystery of the garden of philosophy, the true collection of the blessed stone of philosophy."

Results. Referring to the work of E. Tryjarski [Tryjarski, 2001: 48], it can be argued that Torosowicz family had been living for a long period in Lviv. It is known that this surname occured among the local Armenians starting from the XIV century. Jan, Lazar, Simeon Torosowicz lived there until the birth of Yakub who was the son of Warteres Torsowicz and father of the Lviv's alchemist. However, we do not know anything about their family ties. Yakub Torosowicz was a wealthy merchant and rich man who had four sons: Andrew, Kryshtof, Nicholas, Toros and one daughter whose name is not fixed in the documents. Andrzej was the eldest son, so he inherited the business and all the finances of his father. He owned half of a tenement with a garden and a part of a wooden house. He was married to Barbara Stechka in Lviv, they had a daughter Theophila, who was also called as Miluchna. After the death of her father, she married to Yan

Bertanowicz, who was the son of the headman Toros. Saved their marriage contract dated by the 28th of May, 1638 [Гаркавец, 2002: 965-967]. The main activity of the Lviv's alchemist was usury. O. Harkavets published a receipt of Shimka, who was a son of Kerov dated from the 24th of April, 1615, where it was stated that he borrowed Andrzej Torosowicz 93 florists and 10 groshes, which he' obliged to return exactly in a year [Ibid]. E.Tryjarsky also notes among the debtors of the Lviv alchemist and following magnates such as Stanislav Ko- netspolsky, Alexander Pyasochinsky and prince Vysh- nevetsky [Tryjarski, 2001: 49]. Polish researcher points out that they all together they owed more than twelve thousand zlotyh. At that time, it was a very large sum of money. Therefore Andrzej Torosowicz could be successfully engaged in alchemical practices and botanical experiments, at the same time not facing with financial problems to purchase the necessary books, chemical reagents and special laboratory supplies. In an awkward position, Andrzej embarrassed his younger brother Nikolai Torosowicz, known as the Armenian archbishop, who later signed the union with Rome in 1630. He may contributed to the alchemical activity of his brother. However, as a result of the political and religious struggle, Archbishop Nicholay was blamed for the non-payment of debt as well as Andrzej was blamed for this. However, the patron of alchemists, King Sigismund III (1587-1632) the king of the Polish- Lithuanian Commonwealth intervened and helped them to get rid of prosecutions [Ibid.]. As E. Tryjarsky notes that for Andrzej Torosowicz, the native language was Armenian- Kipchatkan one, like for most Armenians who lived in Lviv in the XVI-XVII centuries [Tryjarski, 2005: 9]. Many original comments in the alchemical treatise are written in this language. Actually it is all information that we know about the life of the Lviv's alchemist. Therefore, in our opinion, it will be appropriate to proceed to the analysis of the manusc rip t.

In the last century this text was studied scrupulously only by philologists, but it was not properly investigated as a unique source of the history of West-European eso- tericism of the early modern era. It is written in Old Polish, Latin, and Armenian-Kipchat languages. It's Old Polish component mostly includes quotations from different alchemist writings. Andrzej Torosowicz mentioned the doctrines and expressions that are attributed to the ancient thinkers such as Hermes Trismegistus, Democritus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen. Arabic doctrine is represented by the ideas of Avicenna, Razesa, Heber and pseudo-epigraph whose authorship is attributed to the YazT d ibn Mu'awiya, the caliph of the Umayyad caliphate as well as a number of other medieval thinkers whose names are associated with hermetic philosophy and alchemy.

This is, in particular, about Arnaldus de Villa Nova, Albert the Great, Ramon Llull, Andreas Libavius, John of Ru- pescissa, and Morienes. Andrzej Torosowicz also mentions a lot of names that are difficult to identify. To some fragments, he wrote quite detailed comments in the Ar- menian-Kipchat language. The last pages of the treatise mostly include prayers and descriptions of alchemical and botanical experiments which are completely written in this language.

His awareness with such a great number of authors, who were related to esoteric knowledge is impressive. The other authors which he distinguished, his contemporary alchemist Michael Mayer ranked as twelve alchemy adherents who were the most famous in the world at that time. If such approach to the writing of alchemical treatises can be considered as traditional one, than references to little-known authors in his treatise can witness author's integration into contemporary professional environment. We would like to emphasize that E. Tryjarski points out that Andrzej Torosowicz traces the novelties of the contemporary alchemical literature. In particular, in his treatise he mentioned his contemporary alchemist - Andreas Labavius (approximately 1540-16І6 gg.) It is also known that alchemist Leonard de Maurperg in the middle of the XVI century came to the city [Гаркавец, 2002: 53]. Perhaps he shared the secrets of this trade with Lviv's alchemists.

Polish historian of hermetic art, in particular of astrology and alchemy, R. Prinke identified several texts which was translated by Andrzej Torosowicz in his treatise such as: "Tabula smaragdina", "Rosarium philosophorum", "Clangor buccinae" by Pseudo-Llull, "Testamentum і Epistola de accurtatione", "De consideratione Quintae Essentiae" by Ioan Rupestsis, "Liber de arte chemica" by Pseudo Ficino, "Commentationum metallicarum" by Libavius [Prinke, 2012: 545].

The title of the Andrzej Torosowicz treatise clearly indicates that its content related to alchemy. Hence, one of the alchemists of the XVII century, Perneti emphasized the metaphorical expression of the phrase "The Garden of Philosophers" he notes that "The Garden of Philosophers is like a vessel containing the material of the Great Deed" [Парнети, 2012: 284]. Researchers of history of alchemy believed that the garden symbolized alchemist's work. Just as a gardener working on the ground, growing fruit trees, flowers, so the alchemist worked on the modification of matter. The alchemical garden often correlated with the biblical paradise. Also, according to S. Telehyn, a hermetic garden could be called a book containing a set of citations from various alchemical treatises [Телегин, 2015: 72]. Therefore, the treatise of Andrzej Torosowicz was exactly such a book, where according to the beliefs of that time the secrets of the "Great Deed" were presented. In our opinion, the definition of the alchemist garden by G. Atienza is rather poetic: Alchemical garden is a symbolic place, an unknown space where the alchemist wanders to find hints necessary for realization of the Great Deed. The garden symbolizes the place where the alchemist comes in order to carry out a transmutation" [Atienza, 2001: 278]. At the same time K. Rodyhin notes that this treatise claims to continue the centuries-old hermetic tradition based on using remote images as well as plant and animal allegories [Родигін К., Родигін М., 2012: 272]. In general, it can be argued that his treatise was a collection of fragments of discrete works with records of his own alchemical experiments, which served as a hints and tips in his practice on the path to the "Great Deed."

Taking into consideration the content of this treatise, he never succeeded in implementing the Great Deed. So, at the end of the treatise, he wrote: "On the 28th of February in 1631, I put in an oven a vessel with liquid, obtained after distillation. I got the substance loose and white as snow" [The State Historical Central Archive of Ukraine, ark. 176]. There are reasons for asserting that the failure of his alchemical experiments was due to the fact that Andrzej Torosowicz at the end of his life was more interested in botanical experiments than in alchemical ones. This is proved by more frequent mentions of botanical studies in the second part of his treatise.

In this treatise you can find many prayers, which was created by Andrzej Torosowicz. As for alchemists of the early modern era they were very significant, so the beginning of each new alchemical experiment began with prayers. According to their beliefs, this was ensured by divine favor, and therefore the success of the "Great Deed". For that time, this was not something unique, as original prayers are found in many alchemical treatises. For example, one of the most famous medieval alchemists was Nicolas Flamel (probably 1340-1418) who also created his own prayers, which were supposed to accompany the process of the "Great Deed" [Flamel, 1971: 87-88]. So, Y Rodychenkov wrote: "Later, the Christianization of the Great Art continued. In the XIV century on the pages of treatises were not only general introductory phrases ("For the sake of the Lord ...", "If you want the Lord ..."), but also philosophical and theological arguments" [Родиченков, 2013: 75]. All of this characterized the Christian segment of alchemical discourse of the XVI-XVII centuries. It is also correlated with comparative tables of the Paschal Catholic, Orthodox and Armenian Church traditions in the treatise of Andrzej Torosowicz. It didn't undermine his confidence in the practical component of alchemy, but rather boosted it.

In his treatise one can trace the distinction between spiritual alchemy and practical alchemy. Of course, such distinction is rather relative, because this art was integral in its essence. According to the beliefs of the alchemists, spirit and matter were inseparable. This can be observed in the treatise, where the spiritual dimension coincides with the alchemical practice. In our opinion, the following abstracts of the treatise "Secrets of the philosophical garden "confirm previous statements.

"For the God's sake forever!

Tincture. Following eastern writings, (you should) after distillation, boil the steel in a vessel (or: in a vessel which was left after distillation) in water with salt on low heat. You have to fix it in the sand in a small oven with four open holes. To do this experiment, you have to throw it in the mill cell for 30 days and every three days to get it out and wash in sulfur water and then pour lily water according to the size of mill cell. Take three pounds of lily water. Here, in the middle, add 8 lots of sulfur, the flame is not needed, only his spirit" [The State Historical Central Archive of Ukraine, ark. 127]. "For the sake of the God's name! Recipe. Blend S lot of Mars salt, put it in a bottle. Then take 2 lots of solvent (according to the recipe). Every day add two drops of Mars salt and when the whole solvent will be poured out, close the bottle tightly and keep it in a ash in a fire at a temperature of 1 degree. And then you will see (different) colors: at first red, then rainbow, like the tail of the peacock. When it become absolutely white, place the bottle in a small distillation flask, grinding components properly, put it in a large sieve (mesh?) Between the four bars (bricks) and shake it for three days. Yellow, as well as red tincture will appear.

Let's study first connection, fixation and second connection. For augmentation combine a fresh solvent with a philosophical stone. In this case (in this connection) (not) appears a "dead head" but a pure tincture. To make it more spectacular you have to mix more. (Its) fixation takes only half of the time in comparison with first time and through the solvent (it) becomes a spirited body.

Glory to God forever! T ry the mercury water in such way: Dissolve gold in purified water of sulfur, dissolve gold in purified salt water. So, do not make salt water reddish with the help of fire, let it dissolve in [...] through moisture. Dissolve gold in purified antimony water" [The State Historical Central Archive of Ukraine, ark. 155].

If the first part mainly consists of quotations from works written by a great number of prominent philosophers then second part shows that Andrzej Torosowicz had good knowledge in the natural substances and chemical processes necessary for the transmutation of matter. At the same time, second part gives impression that it is like a "notebook" of various alchemical operations. The author contained many recipes, as if expecting that these texts would be studied in future. They show the scrupulousness of the Lviv's alchemist in the approaches to experiments because he didn't only create his own content, but seemed to be connected with the divine act of Creation. So, having experienced its essence, he joined the mysteries of nature. That is, in order to carry out a true transmutation, alchemist should have known all characteristics of all natural elements. Only after this he could proceed to the creation of gold or silver. Actually it meant to recreate the path that was determined by the Creator himself.

The appearance of applied science in the New Age also influenced alchemy. Some its adherences have made a remarkable contribution not only to this esoteric teaching, but also to the emergence of a new experimental science. It should be noted that Andrzej Torosowicz was one of the representatives of the alchemy in XVII century which was no longer dogmatically unchanged system of knowledge. Keeping interest in hermetic philosophy, the alchemical treatise acquires a distinct peculiarity due to the dominant model of cognition. Thus, the treatise by Andrzej Torosowicz, except searching for philosophical stone contains prescription drugs for headache and compresses, tips for trees vaccination and f exotic plants cultivation in local climate conditions. Here are some examples:

"For the sake of God's name''.

Sage - 2 lots;

Vinegar - 4 lots;

Vegetable oil - 4 lots.

All these ingredients blend in a proper way in a mortar and mix with vinegar, vegetable oil and boil to make the mixture look like an ointment. Then put thin layer of it on a thin fabric and bind a head with it. Headache will disappear [Гаркавец, 2002: 954-957].

"Green roses can be evolved in the following way. Next to the shrubland willow plant a pink bush of roses and cutting a groove in shrubland willow with chisel, graft a germ of rose to shrubland willow. Then seal it with black pitch and cover with clay. Keep it covered with clay about one year. When that germ of rose takes root, cut it and plant this rose on its bush. Green roses will always appear on this graft plant" [Гаркавец, 2002: 954-957].

Almond. Put shelled almonds in water and soak it until tonsils inside the shell stop moving. Then put it in a bucket with ground at a depth of 1 or 1.5 spats6. When germs grow, it is possible to plant it into ground in spring. The same works for oranges" [Гаркавец, 2002: 954-957].

There is a lot of similar gardening recipes and instruc-tions in the treatise written by Lviv's alchemist.


Andrzej Torosowicz life and work demonstrates his direct and active interest in studding practical, philosophical and religious component of alchemy. His treatise was the product of early modern hermetic philosophy, which took into consideration the Baroque style of writing and individual religiosity of the author. So, our analysis, taking into account all peculiarities of the alchemical treatise" the true collection of the blessed stone of," "Secrets of the philosophical garden truthfully gathered about the blessed philosophical stone" still requires much deeper interdis-ciplinary study. In our opinion, it can be realized only in a separate scientific work. Unfortunately, the format of our article does not allow a thorough analysis of all aspects of this treatise. Since its content includes a number of complex philological, literary, practical and operational moments, which should be considered as a typical manifestation of classical alchemy within Western European esotericism of the XVI-XVIII centuries. Therefore, this treatise has the potential of a unique source about the history of the development of domestic science.


alchemist esotericism burgher

1.Atienza J. G., 2001. Diccionario de Alquimia. Madrid, 502 p. (span).

2.Flamel N., 1971. Le livre des figures hieroglyphiques. Paris, 88 p. (fr).

3.Prinke R. T., 2012. Antemurale Alchimiae: Patrons, Readers, and Practitioners of Alchemy in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Early Science and Medicine. №17: 523-547 DOI: 10.1163/ 15733823-175000a4.

4.Tryjarski E., 2005. Armeno-Kipchak Texts in the Alchemical Treatise by Andrej Torosowicz (17th Century), Warsaw. 171 p. (eng).

5.Tryjarski, E., 2001. O pobo'i nym alchemiku Lwowskim i znaczeniu jego zapisyw dla badac jK zykoznawczych. Biul. Orm. Tow. Kult, N24/25: 47-59 (pol).

6.Willow (Salix L.) - a genus of trees, shrubs or half shrubs, family of willow (Salicaceae).

Span is an ancient measure of length equal to the distance between the thumb and forefinger (small stomach) or between the thumb and the little finger (large stomach). 1 inch = 17.78 cm.

Размещено на

Подобные документы

  • Fr. Nietzsche as German thinker who lived in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. The essence of the concept of "nihilism". Peculiarities of the philosophy of Socrates. Familiarity with Nietzsche. Analysis of drama "Conscience as Fatality".

    доклад [15,3 K], добавлен 09.03.2013

  • There are valid concepts in TE. Some new concepts of NE are not flawless. The new perspectives enrich our contemplative abilities and knowledge. The fully (for all times) satisfactory definitions or foundations are not likely to be proposed.

    курсовая работа [8,5 K], добавлен 29.11.2003

  • Confucianism as the creation of a harmonious society in the ancient pattern, in which every person has a function. Creativity and the ability of a person to self-renew as a guarantee of human constancy. Methods of constructing harmonious society.

    эссе [14,0 K], добавлен 10.01.2014

  • Postmodernists also argue that other characteristics of modern societies are disappearing. Рostmodernism is anti-foundationalism, or anti-worldview. Separation is the alpha and omega of the spectacle.

    курсовая работа [16,4 K], добавлен 12.02.2003

  • Confucianism as the source of the fundamental outlook for the Chinese. The history of its occurrence during the reign of the Han dynasty. Significant differences of this philosophy from other major canons. Idealistic views on the development of society.

    презентация [889,1 K], добавлен 13.11.2014

  • Biography. Physics in Rome. Nobel Prize and The Manhattan Project. Post-War Work. Personal life. Fermi's golden rule. Discovery of fermium. Facts. History. Binary compaunds. Basic factsIsotope. Notable characteristics.

    курсовая работа [53,9 K], добавлен 19.12.2007

  • General characteristic of the LLC DTEK Zuevskaya TPP and its main function. The history of appearance and development of the company. Characteristics of the organizational management structure. Analysis of financial and economic performance indicators.

    отчет по практике [4,2 M], добавлен 22.05.2015

  • James Cameron is famous canadian film director, screenwriter, producer, and researcher of the underwater world. James Cameron's filmography includes five financial records. Interesting Facts of life and work of film director. History of the personal life.

    презентация [3,3 M], добавлен 21.10.2014

  • General characteristics of the stylistic features of English articles, the main features. Analysis of problems the article in English as one of the most difficult. Meet the applications of the definite article, consideration of the main examples.

    доклад [15,8 K], добавлен 28.04.2013

  • From the history of notion and definition of neologism. Neologisms as markers of culture in contemporary system of language and speech. Using of the neologisms in different spheres of human activity. Analysis of computer neologisms in modern English.

    научная работа [72,8 K], добавлен 13.08.2012

Работы в архивах красиво оформлены согласно требованиям ВУЗов и содержат рисунки, диаграммы, формулы и т.д.
PPT, PPTX и PDF-файлы представлены только в архивах.
Рекомендуем скачать работу.