Item ein sehr nützliches und köstliches arzneibuch für allerlei krankheiten und anlagen des menschen

  • Reference
      GB 133 MMM/23/2/1
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      German  & Latin
  • Physical Description
      1 volume, 228 folios Front board is detached

Scope and Content

A very useful and precious pharmacopoeia for all manner of diseases and human concerns.

A relatively detailed pharmacopeia addressing a range of diseases etc. written in the early 17th century by the German alchemist and esoteric author Johann Baptist Grosschedel (1577-c.1630). An inscription on the inside of the front board reads 'Johann Baptista Grosschedl ab Aicha Eq[ues] Ro[m]an[us]. 1602'. A series of tabs attached to the edge of some folios split the manuscript into 6 distinct sections.

Section 1 constitutes ff.1-34 and is almost entirely in German with a small amount of Latin, in black ink with some annotations in red. The text is divided by headings denoting sections relevant to different parts of the body.

Section 2 constitutes ff.35-58 but ff.47v-55 and ff.57-58 are blank. This section is entirely in Latin and focuses on the role of the Zodiac and the stars in medicine. It begins with a quote from Ecclesiasticus 38 about honouring the physician and makes use of red, blue, green, and yellow ink for drawing the different symbols and signs of the zodiac, which denotes whether they are fire, air, water, or earth signs. There is a single page dedicated to each star sign with information on which parts of the body it rules over and symbols denoting the associated celestial bodies. Listed underneath are the different associated ailments and conditions.

Section 3 constitutes ff.59-160, but ff.138-160 are blank, the main text is in German with some additions in Latin and uses black ink with red ink for headings and initial letters. It is entitled 'Arcana Maedicinae Summae ex Manu Scriptis Clarissimi & Solertissimi Philosophi Domini Philipi Theophrasti, singulari industria collecta sibi suisque musis a Joanne Baptista Grosschedelio, naturae industrio indagatori. Anno 1600' and contains extracts on medicine from the works of Paracelsus (1493-1541). Folio 105 in particular contains additional biblical references and symbols drawn in the margin. The text on folio 137 seems to be separate from the rest of this section and makes reference to David Haidler and the date 1631.

Section 4 constitutes ff.161-206r but ff.193-204 are blank. Again the main text is in German using black ink with red for the headings and initial letters. The title of this section is 'De Arboribus' and focuses on the medicinal properties of different plants and their uses.

Section 5 constitutes ff.205-213 and begins with a large table spread across ff.205v-206r entitled 'Tabella Chymica Solutiones et Coagulationis Gradus et Operationem Docens in Tyrocinium Chymicum J.B'. Grosschedel has signed the bottom right hand corner of f.206r. The rest of the section contains an alphabetical index entitled 'Index Tyrocinii Chymici Clarissimi Viri Domini Joannis Beguini' and is an index to the 1610 work Tyrocinium Chymicum by Jean Beguin (1550-1620).

Section 6 constitutes ff.214-219 and contains an alphabetical index to the manuscript itself.

There are a series of additional notes on ff.220-228, in a rougher hand in comparison to the rest of the text and all in German.

Inscriptions in the inside front cover indicate that the manuscript was acquired by the Manchester Medical Society in March 1876 and allocated the reference F 514 viz. their 1890 library catalogue.

Administrative / Biographical History

Johann Baptist Grossschedel was a German nobleman, alchemist, and esoteric author born on 5 February 1577. In his surviving manuscripts he gives himself the title eques romanus, or Roman knight, thus suggesting links the the family of two Grossschedel brothers of Regensburg. His published works include Calendarium Naturale Magicum Perpetuum which claims to incorporate the calendars to Tycho Brahe, Proteus Mercuralis Geminus, Exhibens Naturam Methallorum (1629), and Trifolium Hermeticum, oder Hermetisches Kleebat (1629).

Related Material

There is one other known surviving manuscript attributed to Grosschedel, namely Harley MS 3420, held by the British Library.


E. Reffner, The Esoteric Codex: The Alchemists 2015.