The Royal Аrt: Coat of Arms as Religious and Political Allegories in Alchemical Treatise “Book of the Holy Trinity”
Table of contents
Share
Metrics
The Royal Аrt: Coat of Arms as Religious and Political Allegories in Alchemical Treatise “Book of the Holy Trinity”
Annotation
PII
S207987840001909-8-1
DOI
10.18254/S0001909-8-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Sergei Zotov 
Affiliation: Russian State University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract
The article is devoted to analysis of symbolic pictures and coat of arms, which are found in the iconography of medieval alchemical treatises in the XV century. A visual analogy between Christ's resurrection and the Philosopher's Stone, a comparison of the crucifixion with the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire became important parts of allegorical images of the famous alchemical treatise “Book of the Holy Trinity”. Many researchers have linked this iconographical turn with the papal bull against the alchemists made by Pope John XXII in 1317. According to the document, alchemists could be punished for the extraction of fake gold using philosopher's stone. Perhaps this very bull was the impetus for iconographical and textual mixing of alchemical and Christian paradigms. Using of imperial heraldry could be done to praise the ruler. For iconographic expression of this idea author, frater Ulmann, who was German and Franciscan monk, depicted Jesus literally growing out of the Holy Roman Empire arms. Ulmann has mixed the coat of arms and the image of Christ for the first time in the context of medieval European iconography. There are another coat of arms in the treatise: one of them holds so-called wilde Frau, another represents the shield of the Trinity (coat of arms of God). On the other image, which presumably is also the coat of arms, Virgin Mary, surrounded by mandorla, prays at the crucifixion of Jesus in the shape of fleur de lis. Alchemist called this heraldic flower “the lily of seven virtues”: its petals were compared with the seven metals, planets and the wounds of Christ. Blooming Cross could mean the proximity of the Resurrection of Jesus, and in the alchemical sense - the transformation of “dead” metals into philosopher's stone. It is obvious that these alchemical arms helped the author to link firmly three contexts: religious, political, and alchemical. Thus, the author not only cleared himself of suspicion of heresy, but also legitimized alchemy as a serious science that was directly related to the politics and religion.
Keywords
Middle Ages, Germany, alchemy, forgers, heraldry, iconography
Received
17.05.2017
Publication date
16.07.2017
Number of characters
16998
Number of purchasers
23
Views
3684
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 100 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

Full text is available to subscribers only
Subscribe right now
Only article
100 RUB / 1.0 SU
Whole issue
1000 RUB / 10.0 SU
All issues for 2017
5000 RUB / 50.0 SU

References



Additional sources and materials

  1. Blinova O. V. Alkhimiya i ee simvolika v tvorchestve Ieronima Boskha. URL: >>>
  2. Berns J. J. Aquila Biceps: die mnemotechnische Belastbarkeit des Reichsadlers und das Problem der Schemaüberblendung // Seelenmaschinen: Gattungstraditionen, Funktionen und Leistungsgrenzen der Mnemotechniken vom späten Mittelalter bis zum Beginn der Moderne Wien, 2000.
  3. Birkhan H. Die alchemistische Lehrdichtung des Gratheus filius philosophi in Cod. Vind. 2372: Zugleich ein Beitrag zur okkulten Wissenschaft im Spatmittelalter. Bd. 1. Wien, 1992.
  4. Crisciani C. The Relationship between Alchemy and Prophecy (12th – 14th senturies) // Early Science and Medicine. 2008. Vol. 13. № 1.
  5. Garnier F. Le langage de l’image au Moyen Age. Vol. II: Grammaire des gestes. P., 1996.
  6. Husband T. The Wild Man: Medieval Myth and Symbolism. N. Y., 1980.
  7. Junker U. Das ‘Buch der Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit’ in seiner zweiten, alchemistischen Fassung (Kadolzburg 1433). Feuchtwangen, 1986.
  8. Newman B. Contemplating the trinity: Text, image, and the origins of the rothschild canticles // Gesta. 2013. Vol. 52. № 2.
  9. Nummedal T. Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire. Chicago; L., 2007.
  10. Putscher M. Das ‘Buch der Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit’ und seine Bilder in Handschriften des 15. Jahrhunderts // Die Alchemie in der europäischen Kultur- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte. Wolfenbütteler Forschungen. Bd. 32. Wiesbaden, 1986.