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Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Alchemy and Authority in the Holy Roman Empire

Tara Nummedal


What distinguished the true alchemist from the fraud? This question animated the lives and labors of the common men—and occasionally women—who made a living as alchemists in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Holy Roman Empire. As purveyors of practical techniques, inventions, and cures, these entrepreneurs were prized by princely patrons, who relied upon alchemists to bolster their political fortunes. At the same time, satirists, artists, and other commentators used the figure of the alchemist as a symbol for Europe's social and economic ills. Drawing on criminal trial records, contracts, ... More

Keywords: alchemists, Holy Roman Empire, practical techniques, inventions, cures, entrepreneurs, princely patrons, satirists, artists, early modern science

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780226608563
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226608570.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Tara Nummedal, author