Johannes Freitag, ''Noctes medicae'' (1616)
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De praxi & curationibus Paracelsi, & quomodo in artis operibus fuerit versatus.
CVrationes, quas administrauit Paracelsus, in duplici sunt differentia, vel enim sunt internorum vel externorum affectuum. Hos quod attinet, ex Chirurgia caeterisque eius scriptis constat, tum etiam aliorum testimonio liquet Paracelsum singulari dexteritate & successu in chirurgiae operibus versatum, quod & de eo scribit Oporinus, his verbis: In curandis vlceribus etiam deploratissimus, miracula edidit, nulla ratione victus praescripta, aut obseruata: sed cum patientibus suis dies noctesque potando, ita pleno (vt dicere soleabt) ventre eos curabat. Internorum vero affectuum curationem sic administrauit, vt nulla in loco vltra anni spacim haerere potuerit, quod ipse dicere solitus fuit, anno amplius non posse suas artes in vno loco durare. Rationem reddit Crato, Erastus, Heylius, alijque auctores grauissimi, quod Basileae omnes intra anni spacium perierunt, qui Pharmaca Paracelsi haurire non sunt veriti; licet in praesentia praeclare contulisse putarentur, adeo quam plures (teste Erasto lib. de auro potulento) ex illis, qui in praesens adiuti videbantur, postea vel mortem repetente oppetiuerunt, vel inemendabili morbo afflicti fortunam suam perpetim deplorarunt. Certe Basileae omnes intra anni spacium, omnes alij cum Frobenio, de cuius sanatione tantopere gloriabatur, vita functi sunt, qui paracelsi remedia assu-
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In omni morborum genere, quo purgare conueniebat, praecipitati puluerem cum theriaca, mithridatio, aut cerasorum botrorum succo in pillulas redactum exhibuit. de Laudano suo, quod in pillulas instar murium stercoris redactum, quas impari numero, in extrema morborum necessitate exhibebat, ita gloriatus fuit, vt non dubitarit affirmare, eius solius vsu è mortuis viuos reddi posse. Dessenius vero experientia obseruauit nouiter à Paracelso introducta pharmaca, paucissimo pondere totum corpus, ad extremos artus ita enomiter penetrare & concutere, vt ipsos quoque vngues interdum afficiant, aliquando etiam excutiant, dum vna aut altere horula, aut saltem paucissimis efficiant absoluantque vniuersa, carnificis exemplo. Et emoriar, (ait idem) nisi praesentia sint venena, quibus absque omni dubitatione purpureum stimmeos florem, seu antimonii essentiam, sulphur aethereum, liquorem phaetontis & reliqua naturae aduersissima annumero: scio multos solo vsu antimonii Paracelsice praeparati sursum deorsum vehementissime fuisse purgatos & in morbos longos incidisse, à quibus nunquam potuerunt extricari. Noui (inquit Dessenius insuper) Medicum in Rep. nostra simplici confidentia in se hoc medicaminis experiri volentem, eo insalubritatis deuenisse, vt nunquam pristinum vigorem roburque corporis recollegerit, sed ad extremam pene animam antimonium detestatum sit.
Noui febrientes, noui phthisicos arthriticos, calculosos, leprosa scabie ac cutis vitijs affectos eiusmodi centaurica medicatione aut verius mordiactione in extrema repente discrimina, vomitiones vehementis, colicos dolores, diarrhoeas, conuulsiones, cardiacas, syncopas frequenter, summa in praematuras mortes incidisse: atque haec omnia quam promiscue confuseque citra rationem physicam, methodum & demonstrationes imo cum pudenda exsecrabilique philargyria sub praetextu iustae mercedis, proximorumque calamitate peracta fuere vt à Paracelso eiusque sequacib. quam
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De vita, habitu & moribus Paracelsi.
VItam & mores Paracelsi Medicorum complures, nec de plebe viri, descripserunt. Erastus fatetur, se accepisse ex ore Cratonis, quod consentanee suis principijs & praeceptoribus tartarum in morbos inuexerit, cum tartarea sint & ex imo tartaro eruta prolataque videantur propemodum omnia, quae scripserit, feceritue. Argumento est, quod inter dictandum solitus fuit, velut oestro percitus & furijs agitatus instar pythiae cuiusdam varis exardescere & voc ferari, daemone nimirum plaustra illa conuitiorum & δοξομανίαν suggerente, quam sanus excogitare nunquam potuisset. Retulit eadem saepe Oporinus amanuensis eius, quod non nisi bene potus ad sua explicandum mysteria accesserit: & quod in medio suo hypocausto columnae τετυφωμένος adeoque numinie plenus adsisteret, manibus capulo ensis apprehenso (quod eius Κοίλωμα hospitium praeberet ei spiritus, qui vitro inclusus responsa fascinatis à se hominibus dare solet) eructare imaginationes suas consueuisset. Et porro, inquit Oporinus, nullam in eo pietatem nullamque eruditionem animaduertere potui, adeo erat totis diebus & noctibus, dum ego ei familiariter per biennium fere conuixi, ebrietati & crapula deditus, vt vix vnam vel alteram horam sobrium eum reperire licuerit. Cum initio ad annum 25. fuisset abstemius, ita dein vinum bibere didicit, vt totas noctes rusticis plenas tagenas propinando superare ausus fuerit: digito tantum gula immisso crapula sese liberans, & rursus tanquam ne guttulam quidem ante hausisset, potionibus indulgens. Noctu, toto eo tempore, quo ego ei conuixi, nunquam se exuit, quod ebrietati attribuebam. Plerumque ebrius non nisi ad extremam noctem, domum redibat, vtque erat indutus, adiuncto sibi gladio, quem carnificis cuiusdam fuisse iactabat, in stratum sese coniiciebat: ac saepe media nocte surgens per cubiculum nudo gladio ita insaniebat, & crebris ictibus pauimentum & parietes impetebat, vt non semel mihi caput amputatum iri metuerem: Pecunia frequenter ita erat destitutus, vt ne obulum quidem ei superesse scirem. Sequenti matutina crumenam denuo bene instructam ostentabat, vt non raro admira-
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Plurimi contulere cum illo insignes Theologi, qui ex omnibus eius sermonibus, non Medicum, sed aurigam dixisses: sodalitio aurigarum magnopere delectabatur. In diuersoriis hinc inde delitescens obseruabat aduentantes aurigas, cum iis homo spurcus vorabat & perpotabat, adeo nonnunquam vino sopicus, vt se in proximum scamnum collocaret, faedamque crapulam edormiret. summa: sordidus erat per omnia & homo spurcus. Raro vel nunquam visitabat sacros caetus, visus Deum & res diuinas leuiter curare. Amplius de eo meminit Oporinus in epistola ad Wierum, his verbis: mirari non raro soleo, cum tam multa proferri audio, quae ab ipso scripta & posteritati relicta affirmantur, quorum omnium ne per somnium illi quicquam obiectum arbitror, adeo erat totis diebus & noctibus, dum ego illi per biennium adessem, vino obrutus.
Baselica discedens, inter Alsatia nobiles & rusticos tanquam alter Aesculapius omnibus fuit admirationi. Atque interea saepe maxime ebrius donum reuersus dictare mihi aliquid Philosophiae suae solebat, quod ita pulcre sibi cohaerere videbatur, vt à maxime sobrio melius fieri potuisse haut putares.
Ego deinde iisdem in latinam linguam vertendis, vt poteram, vacabam: & sunt eiusmodi libelli partim à me, partim ab aliis latine conuersi, postea editi.
Semper habebat officinam suam carbonariam ignibus instructam & aut alcoli aliquid, aut sublimati oleum, martis crocum vel derotholthor mirabile & nescio quae brodia coquebat.
Mihi certe semel spiritum vitalem ferme oppressit, dum spiritus suos in alembico contemplari iusso & naso propius admoto virulentos vapores os & nares ferire curauit, & tantum non suffocare conatus est, vt in lipothymiam collapsus multae aquae frigida aspersione restitui opus habuerim.
Interea vaticinari se quaedam simulabat & quorundam arcanorum cognitionem prae se ferebat, vt clam, ipsum metuens aggredi non fuerim ausus. singulis fere mensibus nouam vestem sibi fieri curabat, & priorem cuiuis obuio donabat sed ita conspurcatam, vt ego mihi donari nunquam petierim, neque vltro oblatam recepissem.
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An vero homo adeo spurcus diuinae gratiae organon esse, & in eo doctrinae sapientiaeque aliquid in continuis crapulationibus & helluationibus elucere potuerit, valde ambigo: neque adducat, vt credam illius scripta spiritus boni adflatu esse nata, cum plenissima sint omnis impietatis, & contumeliatum plaustra contineant. Nolo plura hominis commemorare flagitia, ne mortuum denuo occidere vel cum laruis luctari velle videar. Satis est significasse Paracelsum fuisse Dei contemptorem, vanissimae artis conditorem, temulentum, vagum, improbum, venerandae antiquitatis irrisorem & arrosorem, sordidum, contentiosum, mendacem, daemonum cultorem, & vt compendio dicam, talem, quem si nominaueris, annoa vitia dixeris, cuius impuritias sexcentis versibus non enarraueris. Defuncto à sequaculis & confecialibus sequens erectum est epitaphium.
Aurelius Philippus Theophrastus, Paracelsus
Medicinae vtriusque Doctor inclutus,
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Anno M D XLI.
Freitag, Johannes: Noctes medicae sive de abusu medicinae tractatus, Frankfurt am Main: Johann Bringer for Johann Berner, 1616.
— USTC 2108378. — VD17 12:163902F.
— View at Google Books here or here or here
English Raw Translation
Generated by ChatGPT on 1 March 2023. Attention: This translation is a machine translation by artificial intelligence. The translation has not been checked and should not be cited without additional human verification.
The treatments administered by Paracelsus can be classified into two categories: internal and external conditions. In terms of the latter, it is evident from his surgery and other writings, as well as from the testimonies of others, that Paracelsus was exceptionally skilled and successful in surgical operations. Oporinus, for instance, writes about him in the following manner: "In curing even the most hopeless ulcers, he performed miracles, disregarding any prescribed or observed rules; instead, he would spend days and nights with his patients, curing them while drinking to his fill, as he used to say."
Regarding the treatment of internal conditions, he did so with such efficiency that he could not stay in one place for more than a year, as he used to say that his skills could not remain in one location for more than a year. Crato, Erastus, Heylius, and other highly regarded authors explain that all those who dared to use Paracelsus' remedies in Basel perished within a year, despite initially being considered cured. As Erastus mentions in his book "On Potent Gold," many of those who seemed to be cured in the present later died or suffered from incurable diseases. Indeed, all those in Basel, including Frobenius, on whose healing he had so greatly boasted, died within a year of using Paracelsus' remedies.
Christophorus Heyl also attests to the sudden fame Paracelsus gained in his artificial medication, which he could not maintain for long due to the allegations that he had strayed from the methods of Hippocrates and Galen, and that he preferred his laudanum, which he called his panacea, to all their remedies. He used this narcotic medicine to treat many patients until he was finally caught after venturing too far into venerable antiquity. He was discovered to have killed many patients with his medicine, who either died immediately or were afflicted with apoplexy within a year of taking the remedy, as happened to the long-lived man, Ioannes Frobenius.
For every type of illness that required purging, Paracelsus administered precipitated powder with theriac, mithridate, or pills made from cherry juice. He boasted so much about his laudanum, which was made into pills resembling mouse droppings and administered in odd numbers during times of dire need, that he did not hesitate to affirm that it alone could bring the dead back to life. Dessenius, through his observation and experience, discovered that Paracelsus had recently introduced new medicines that, with only a small amount, could penetrate and shake the entire body, even to the extremities, sometimes causing the nails to be affected and sometimes even knocked off, just by taking one or two pills or even just a few. He adds that he will die unless the present poisons, which include antimony, ethereal sulfur, phaeton's liquid, and other substances adverse to nature, are used without any doubt. He knows of many people who have been purged violently from top to bottom and suffered long illnesses just by using antimony prepared in the Paracelsian way, from which they could never recover. Moreover, he mentions a physician in our country who, by simply trusting in himself and testing this medicine, fell into such ill health that he could never recover his former vigor and physical strength, and almost died from his aversion to antimony.
Those suffering from fever, consumption, arthritis, stone, leprosy, scabies, and other skin diseases, treated with centauric medication or rather with biting in extreme and sudden circumstances, frequently experienced violent vomiting, colic pain, diarrhea, convulsions, heart attacks, and syncope, often leading to premature death. All of these were carried out without any logical medical reasoning, method or demonstrations, and with shameful and execrable greed under the pretext of fair compensation and by exploiting the misfortunes of those around them, just as it was done by Paracelsus and his followers. There are more murders or Paracelsian miracles, which those who take pleasure in reading can find in the apology of the physician from Dessen, Cologne, against Fedro.
Chapter 25. On the life, habits, and morals of Paracelsus.
Many physicians, not of low birth, have described the life and manners of Paracelsus. Erastus confesses that he received from the mouth of Craton that he introduced tartar into diseases in accordance with his principles and teachers, since almost everything he wrote and did seemed to be derived from tartar, which is extracted from the depths of Tartarus. This is shown by the fact that he used to dictate, as if inspired by an oestrus and agitated by fury, like a certain Pythia, and would be carried away, undoubtedly by the demon who suggested those wagons of invectives and δοξομανία, which a sane person could never have thought of. Oporinus, his amanuensis, often reported the same thing, that he approached his mysteries only when he was well drunk, and that he used to stand in the middle of his hypocaust, inflated with pride and full of divinity, holding a sword in his hand (which his "Hollow" inn provided for him to give answers to those bewitched by him and enclosed in a glass). And further, says Oporinus, I could not perceive any piety or erudition in him, so he was given to drunkenness and debauchery all day and night, that during the almost two years that I lived with him familiarly, he was hardly ever sober for an hour or two. Although he was abstinent at the age of 25, he learned to drink wine so well that he dared to spend whole nights drinking with peasants, only inserting a finger into his throat to free himself from gluttony, and then indulging in potions as if he had not even drunk a drop. At night, during all the time I lived with him, he never took off his clothes, which I attributed to his drunkenness. Usually he returned home drunk only at the end of the night, with a sword attached to him, which he boasted belonged to a certain executioner, and threw himself on the bed dressed as he was. And often, in the middle of the night, rising up with a naked sword, he would rage so much and strike the floor and walls so often that I feared my head would be cut off more than once. He was often so devoid of money that I did not even know he had a penny left. The next morning, he would proudly display his wallet, which was again well-stocked, so that I often wondered where such abundance came from. I never saw him pray, nor did I hear him care about church matters, and he promised to bring the Pope and Luther together into one order, which none of those who have so far published commentaries on sacred scripture, whether ancient or modern, have ever done, but only clung to the bark and surface of the membrane.
Many famous theologians were among his closest friends, although from all his sermons one would have thought he was not a doctor but a coachman. He greatly enjoyed the company of coachmen and would often hide in inns, observing the drivers as they arrived with a filthy man who would eat and drink with them, sometimes getting so drunk that he would collapse onto the nearest bench and fall into a disgusting slumber. In short, he was a sordid and filthy man in all respects. He rarely, if ever, attended religious gatherings and seemed to pay little attention to God or divine matters. Oporinus writes more about him in a letter to Wierus, saying: "I often marvel when I hear so much said about him and read what he himself wrote and left for posterity, of which I do not think any could be attributed to him even in his dreams, so drunk was he day and night during the two years I was with him."
When he left Basel, he was admired by all, both nobles and peasants of Alsace, as if he were another Asclepius. Meanwhile, he would often return home extremely drunk and dictate to me something about his philosophy, which seemed to fit so well together that you would not think it could have been written better by a sober person.
I had time to translate these same works into Latin, as best I could, and some of them were published later, translated by me or others.
He always had his own charcoal-fired workshop, where he would cook up various concoctions using alcohol, sublimated oil, crocus of Mars, or miraculous derotholthor broth.
Once, he nearly suffocated me with his noxious fumes when I was watching his spirits in the alembic and he insisted on getting me closer to smell them. I collapsed into a faint and had to be revived with cold water.
He often pretended to be able to predict things and boasted of his knowledge of certain mysteries, but I was too afraid to approach him secretly. He had a new suit made for himself almost every month, giving his old one to anyone who came by, but they were so dirty that I never asked for one nor accepted one when it was offered.
He was a most persistent hater and reviler of women, and I believe the reason may be that in Carinthia, while tending geese for a certain nobleman, or as others say, while in a gentleman's bedchamber, he was caught in the act of stealing and castrating a young rooster. He admitted to being a parricide and was often thrown into prison for this reason. His name was Philippus, to which he added Aureolus, Theophrastus, Paracelsus, Bombastus, monarch of all sciences, Doctor of both Medicines, in the manner of pompous helmets which he found so shameful that he sought a higher status.
I greatly doubt whether such a dirty man could be an instrument of divine grace and whether anything of doctrine and wisdom could shine through in his constant reveling and swearing. Nor does it lead me to believe that his writings were born of the breath of the Holy Spirit, since they are full of all impiety and contain wagons of insults. I do not want to mention more of his infamous deeds, lest I appear to want to kill the dead again or wrestle with ghosts. It is enough to say that Paracelsus was a despiser of God, the vain founder of a most vain art, a drunkard, a wanderer, a wicked man, a mocker and slanderer of venerable antiquity, filthy, contentious, deceitful, a worshiper of demons, and, in short, such a man that if you mention his name, you speak of a year's worth of vices, and you could not describe his impurities in six hundred verses. After his death, an epitaph was written by his followers and associates.
Aurelius Philippus Theophrastus Paracelsus Bombastius of Hohenheim, born into a noble family in the year 1493. He was a renowned doctor of both medicine, who, for several years, practiced with great admiration in Basel under public support. He was the first to introduce the new and spagyric medicine, which he disseminated through his many works, including the Archidoxis Theophrastica and numerous other books. He used his miraculous skill to heal terrible wounds, leprosy, gout, dropsy, and other incurable bodily ailments. He also left behind commentaries on sacred books and dogmatic treatises, and was known for leading a hermitic life, desiring more to be his own person than to be anyone else's. He devoted himself to distributing his wealth to the poor, and after having arranged for their welfare, he passed away at the age of 47, as he had wished, on September 24, 1541.