Dialogus occulti Theophrasti, alchimistae et naturae

From Theatrum Paracelsicum
I. Basic information

Printing History, Manuscripts. First printed in 1616. Two manuscripts, probably copied from the printed edition. – The Dialogus was printed along with or as a companion to Marcus Eugenius Bonacina, Compendiolum de praeparatione auri potabilis veri (Olomouc: Paulus Schrammius, 1616) of which there are at least six manuscripts, all of them, however, without the Dialogus.

Editions. Not edited by Huser or Sudhoff.

Relationship between different versions. Only one version known. The Hamburg manuscript has the text of the printed edition; it is, however, obscured by heavy use of abbreviations and alchemical signs.

Structure, genre/form, perspective, style. Written in Latin in the form of a dialogue between an old man (“Senex”), two alchemists (“Alchymist”, “Consocius”), the “Occultum Theophrasti”, and Nature. The participants discuss “what this Secret thing of Theophrastus may be, with which one could make and prepare the stone of the sages”. The “Occultum Theophrasti” takes part in the discussion.

Relationship to other texts. The Dialogus is a plagium literarium of Michael Sendivogius’s Dialogus Mercurii, Alchymistae et Naturae (Cologne, 1607).

Authenticity, authorship. Written by the Milanese physician Marcus Eugenius Bonacina (b. ca. 1570, d. 1621) who was active in Moravia.

Time of writing. Probably written in or around the year of publication (1616).

II. Sources


  • Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek: Cod. alchim. 575, f. 35r–43v
  • Wrocław/Breslau, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka: R 378

First printed:

  • 1616 (Dialogus Marci E. Bonacinae D. Medici, Nobilis Mediolauensis (Olomouc: Paulus Schrammius, 1616); not in VD17; not in Sudhoff, Bibliographia Paracelsica)
III. Bibliography

Essential bibliography: Sudhoff, “Vorwort,” in Paracelsus, Sämtliche Werke, I/1: XXVII.

Further bibliographical references:

Jiří Šmeral and Martin Holý, “Bonacina Marcus Eugenius”, in Biografický slovník českých zemí 6 (Praha, 2007), 44, online (http://biography.hiu.cas.cz/Personal/index.php/BONACINA_Marcus_Eugenius_1570-20.3.1621, accessed 15 June 2021)

Ivo Purš, “Das alchemistische Traktat des Marcus Eugenius Bonacina von 1616 über Trinkgold”, in Studia Rudolphina, 8 (2008), 77–90, on 78.

Ivo Purš and Vladimír Karpenko, “Alchemy at the Aristocratic Courts of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown”, in Ivo Purš and Vladimír Karpenko, eds., Alchemy and Rudolf II: Exploring the Secrets of Nature in Central Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries (Prague, 2016), 47–92, on 91.

Miloš Jesenský, Dějiny alchymie v českých zemích, v Polsku a na Slovensku (Bratislava, 2016), 244.