Alchemy Index

A Lexicon of Alchemy



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NACTA --- An Abscess of the Breast.

NAFDA, or SINAPTA --- i.e., Petroleum, or Asphalt.

NAPELLUS --- Wolf's bane.

NACDA, or NATTA GIBBUS --- A Hunchback, or Dwarf.

NAPTA --- i.e., Gum.

NAPTA ALBA --- i.e., is White Petroleum.

NAPHTHA --- We have said that the Bitumen of Judea is a species of Naphtha, but is not true Naphtha. For Naphtha is nothing else but Petroleum, that liquid oil which, although in an impure form, is manufactured in our own land. Dioscorides (1. 1, c. 84) says that Naphtha was called Bitumen by the Babylonians, or Colamen of Bitumen, and that there were black and white varieties. White Naphtha is our Petroleum. Black is perhaps that pitchy and glutinous matter of Amiantus, Asbestos, or Earth-flax, which is not dissimilar from Bitumen, and which when it has once been set on fire can be extinguished by nothing but dust being heaped over it, like that slime from the lake of Comagenes mentioned by Pliny. By some among the ancients this black Naphtha was believed to be the Excrement of Demons, concerning which I venture to affirm nothing ; but we also have an excrement of demons, namely, the plant silphium, which produces the juice called laser. Many stinking substances were held precious by the ancients. Naphtha is a violent potency of fire, as Dioscorides teaches, and there is no substance which can compare with it for sustaining and nourishing fire. Pliny cites an example which occurred in Media at the execution of an adulteress, who had a crown of naphtha placed on her, and when this crown was set on fire the woman was consumed. Pliny also bears witness that there is a naphtha which is found in Babylon and Parthia which is like Liquid Bitumen. Thus Naphtha is twofold-natural, dealt with by Pliny, and properly Petroleum-manufactured, which is Colamen of Bitumen, as Dioscorides terms it. And of this there is one kind which is white, and may be a species of Petroleum, but is inferior to the native. And there is another kind which is black, and which may be the Excrement of Demons, so called by the ancients. I affirm that it is from a subtle Bitumen, i.e., from Naphtha (which is true Petroleum) indurated by the operation of the sun, as Ovid says of amber, that gagates is made in the sea, and not from manufactured White Naphtha. Thus Bitumen is twofold, in the sea, and in the earth, liquid, and hard, or glutinous. Pissasphaltus is also twofold-native and manufactured. Naphtha is twofold-native and manufactured. Thus Bitumen, Pissasphaltus, and Naphtha are almost various species of one thing, and so is the stone Gagates, which is formed of natural Naphtha, i.e., true Petroleum, as its smell indicates. The Thracian Stone, another species of Gagates, may be formed of black Bitumen or black Naphtha. This also burns in water, and is put out by oil. Succinum, or amber, on the contrary, is made of the resin of trees, though both have the power of attracting hairs and straws. Succinum does not burn in water, because of the poorness of its resin. Gagates burns fiercely, and its flame is increased by water, because of the strength of the Naphtha or Bitumen of which it consists. So also those coals which are found in our mines, and which we call Pit Coal, are a kind of Gagates, and nothing else but Bitumen hardened under the earth, or excocted by heat. This stone also is put out by oil, and burns fiercely when sprinkled with water, as is the nature of Bitumen. And those coals also are bituminous with which the mountains Etna and Vesuvius are burning, as Pliny sets forth, and as we also see to be the case in many places of Germany, and especially in the night, because in the day the heat of the sun weakens them or overwhelms them; but in the night, which is cold and moist, the matter is excited by the moisture. That species of pyrites, called the Fissile Stone of Islebia, is evidently bituminous, because it burns quickly, gives forth a bituminous smell, and takes impressions very easily. For impressions are made upon a body of this bituminous quality, which is prepared to receive impressions with as much ease and celerity, as the chemists say, that a soul enters its body. But of this enough. Petroleum, i.e., Naphtha, which is manufactured by the Agyrtx, does not come from the tomb of some saint whom I forget, as is falsely represented. For the rest, there is another manufactured Naphtha, which is described in the antidotes of Nicander. There is also a Bituminous Peat which is dug up in Saxony.

NAR --- i.e., Fire.

NARBASAPHAR --- i.e., Brass.

NARCOTICA --- A Soporific Medicament, which removes pain, or at least deadens its. keenness.

NARDINUM OLEUM --- A kind of Oil, Spikenard.

NARIS --- Nostril.

NATARON, or NATRON --- i.e., Nitre.

NEBULGEA --- is a Salt which is deposited by the moisture of a Mist, and is hardened by the Sun.

NECROCOMICA --- are Portentous Presages, signifying something which is to come by signs falling from heaven upon earth; those crosses, for example, which fell in the days of Maximilian the First.

NECROLIA, or NECROLICA --- are Medicaments which prevent death and preserve life.

NECROMANTIA --- is a Forbidden Art, by which formerly divinations were obtained from the dead. But true Necromancy compels the dead to manifest, and extracts answers and speech from them, and compels them to perform wonders. Any operations connected with the death's head, bones, shroud needles, shrouds, or cerements, quivers, sepulchres, and such like, are comprehended under this cursed art, which is wholly superstitious, and avoided by Christians.

NENUFARENI --- A name of those Spirits who inhabit the Elements.

NEUTHA --- A Child's Caul, sometimes covering the eye, sometimes the ear, and sometimes the whole face of a new born child.

NIGELLA --- A Rat.

NIGROMANTIA --- Formerly a Natural Art, by which man, after a natural manner, sought to discover the secrets of minerals, metals, and things hidden in the earth. Afterwards, by the suggestion of the devil, and through the perversity of wicked men, it fell into abuse, and became a diabolical art.

NITRUM, BAURACH, ROCK SALT, SALTPETRE, NITRE --- is Hot and Dry in the Second Degree. It is a substance having affinity with Salt, and is a species of Salt. Hence, Transparent Salt, Alexandrine Salt, Salt of Anderena, Salt of Nitre, are one and the same. But Nitre is formed from coagulated moisture. We do not know exactly what were the species of Nitre which are described by the ancients, but they differed from our own. They were used in food, and blended with wine, as we learn from Pliny 0. 14, C. 20, and 1. 18, c. 17), as well as from the Georgics of Virgil. Formerly, they seem to have been also of a rosy colour, bitter, light, spongy, and easily consumed by fire, whereas, ours in no way correspond to these descriptions, and are derived from the air, while the ancient Nitres were of terrene origin. Ours also are of greater medicinal virtues, provoking humours, and possessing laxative qualities. It should be noted that there are several species of manufactured Nitre, which are mentioned by Pliny (1. 31, c. 10). By us, Nitre is manufactured in several ways --- in stables, sheepcotes, ancient dormitories, in rocks, cellars, walls, and other such places, as well as in old and disused sand-pits. There is also that Nitre which is called Spumous, and is Aphronitum, Saltpetre, the Spume of Nitre, and a true species of Nitre. It has affinities with the flower of the Asian rock or stone, referred to by Dioscorides, and of which we have already treated (see Lapis Asius). If we consider rightly, Green Chrysocolla, the Scissile Copper-Stone is a species of Nitre, i.e., Native Nitre. Dioscorides (1. 5, c. 78), describes Spume of Nitre along with Nitre, both as regards the country of its origin, and its quality. He indicates their medical virtues, how they are to be treated by fire, and the uses of the crude mineral. Information upon the same subject will be found in Serapion, under the name of Baurach.

It will be seen that the species of Nitre may be classified broadly as follows: Native mined Nitre, similar to salt from the mines. Under the generic name of Burach the following varieties are included :

1. Armenian, and this is the best kind.

2. Nitre from Rabath, which is either white --- very similar to salt from the mines, and having a medium flavour between salt and vinegar --- or black.

3. African.

4. Egyptian.

5. Roman.

6. Babylonian.

Manufactured Nitre, like a petrine or saline efflorescence. It is derived by coction from salt or saline water. The first and the sixth species were alone known to the Arabians. The Babylonians also had two kinds, namely, Nitre (rock salt, purple, moderately bitter), and Baurach, with which, when dissolved in water, it was the custom to besmear loaves before baking, and thus produce a gloss upon the crust. There is copious information in Pliny (1. 31, c. 10), on Nitre and spume of Nitre. Nicander also treats in his Antidotes of Nitre as prevailing against a poisonous potion compounded of bullock's blood. Nitre is also an ingredient in the powder of the tormentors, as is well known to the apothecaries of Satan who take their name from torments.

NITRUM --- The Saline Stone, i.e., White Sulphur.

NITRUM ALEXANDRINUM --- i.e., is Clavellated Ash.

NITRUM --- is a kind of Salt. It is also Borax, and one kind of Armenian Salt --- black, red, or sapphire.

NITRUM --- is a certain Brine from combinations of Urines prepared in Salt.

NITRUM --- i.e., Baurac.

NITRUM --- Nitre.

NITRUM --- Sago, Talc.


NITRUM --- i.e., White Salt, Baurac.

NITRON --- Vitreous Refuse.

NITRIALES --- Whatever Calcines and Burns, as Sulphur, Saltpetre, whereby one calcines Pearls, Precious Stones, and Corals into a Saltpetre.

NOAS --- in Arabic; Calchos in Greek; Copper in Latin; Ore in German.

NOAS or NOAC --- Brass or Copper.

NOBACH --- A Necromantic Instrument.

NOCHAT, NUCHAT, or NUCHOR --- i.e., Venus, Copper.

NOCASIT --- i.e., a Perforated Vessel, Sieve, or Colander.

NODI ARTICULORUM --- Indurated Tumours, Knots in the joints, as in gout.

NOERA --- i.e., a Cover over a Distilling Apparatus.

NORA --- i.e, Calx.

NORA --- i.e., is Nitre.

NORA --- Every kind of Salt.

NOSIDIDACH --- (?) A joint (Artus).

NOSTOCH --- A Ray or Radiation of a certain Star, or its off-scouring, superfluity, etc., cast on earth. It falls, chiefly during June, July, and August, upon broad fields or meadows, being like a large fungus or sponge in appearance, and of a yellow or dark tawny colour, like a coagulated juice, and to the touch like jelly. By Nostoch some understand Wax.

NUBA --- i.e., Copper.

NUBA --- is a second species of Manna, red in colour, such as falls in Ireland.

NUHAR --- i.e., Venus, or Copper.

NUMUS --- Lead, Black Lead.

NUSIADAT --- i.e., Ammoniac.

NUTRIMENTUM --- is Material changed by Putrefaction in the Stomach.

NYMPHAE --- Spiritual Men and Women, or Corporeal Spirits, inhabiting water, such as was Melusine.

NYMPHIDICA --- The Spirits obtained by heat artificially from water may be so called.



OBELCHERA --- i.e., Cucurbit.

OBELKARA --- i.e., Cucurbit.

OBRIZUM AURUM --- i.e., Pure Gold.

OBRIZUM AURUM PURUM --- Gold Calcined to a Dark Red by means of Art.

OCOS, OCOP, OBAC, or OCAB --- i.e., Sal Ammoniac.

OCRA ---Yellow Earth; called Uger.

OCRA GRAECIS --- A Slimy Earth, called Sil by the Latins. It is twofold-native and manufactured. Native Yellow Ochre, or Yellow Earth, is obtained in the mines of Germany. There is a variety like Chrysocolla, and another called Sander's Blue. Dacian and Hungarian Ochres are most in use among painters. Our own is somewhat despised. Dioscorides (1. 5, c. 58) praises that of Attics, which is very light, brittle, slimy, aqueous, and free from grittiness. He also states that it can be burnt and cleansed like Cadmia, and that its medical quality is astringent, biting, and dispersing. There are various species of Ochre --- some metallic; some hard, as is our own; some simply a yellow earth, and this also is found in our mines. Theophrastus merely describes it as Ochrine Earth. Pliny enumerates (1. 33, c, 12) divers kinds of Sil, or Ochre, and says that the best of these pigments-whether yellow or blue-are derived from Metallic Ores containing Gold and Silver, that Ochre is properly a slime, that the Attics is the best, and that its nature is like marble. There is also compressed Ochre from Cyrus; Achaica, Gaul, India, etc. In the thirteenth chapter of the same book he says that dyeing with Ochre was first invented by a Myconian. Ochre is also found in rivers, as the Elbe, and above all in the Ocra, which flows through Brunswick, whence the substance takes its name, and is called Ochre in Saxony. If the matter be rightly regarded, we have four species of Ochre.

1. From the mines, of a stony quality, and found also on the shore and banks of rivers.

2. A Dust, or Dry Earth, adhering to stones, like Chrysocolla, Blue, etc. This is obtained from the stone quarries of Salveldia.

3. Another Dry Earth, found on river banks.

4. Slimy and sticky, or tenacious, of the nature of marble, and obtained from mines. That Ochre which is found in mines and by rivers, being parched by the heat either of the earth or the sun, is changed into native toddle, and consequently into a kind of clay. Ochre which begins to be changed into ruddle, but is still partly Ochrine, receives its colour from the sun or earth. Artisan's ruddle is made from artificially burnt Ochre. Manufactured Ochre is made from Lead.

OCHRA ATTICA --- Ochre which is yellow as the yolk of an egg.

OCCIDENS --- i.e., Vinegar.

OCCIDENS STELLA --- i.e., Sal Ammoniac.

OCCIDENS --- Mercury, Saturn, Salt, Spice, Hermaphrodite, Living Water, Viscous Water, etc.

ODORIFERA MEDICAMENT --- are Medicaments which infuse health by their fragrance, and so dispel also diseases.

OFFICINA --- A Workshop in which Lead is separated from Silver.

OFFICINA --- A Workshop in which Silver is Separated from Brass. Any Place for Refining and Roasting metals.

OLEA SOLUTA --- Dissolved Oils, are those which separate by a melting of the subtle oleaginous parts. Accordingly, this is done in the same way as the magisteries of liquids, except that for the magistery all the matters are dissolved into a liquid, and in this case the internal essential parts are dissolved into a thick sap, the coarser parts being left. It is necessary that there should be a preparation in order that they may flow and yield oleaginous matter. Hence they are generally prepared like magisteries, by calcination, maceration, cooking, etc., unless the matter is so tenuous that it will flow with little trouble.

OLEUM --- i.e., Fire, is extracted from a dry substance, but the water from a moist substance, for the oil and the water distil each other, and that which remains below is called earth.

OLEUM --- is called the First Water, i.e., distilled from blood or hairs.

OLEUM BENEDICTUM --- is made of bricks.

OLEUM FRUMENTI --- Spring Barley Oil, prepared in two ways, on a glowing plate, and by an ascending distillation.

OLEUM SULPHURIS --- A Vapour Extracted by Elevation from Prepared Sulphur.

OLEUM FIXUM --- is that which is reduced to an oily consistency out of dissolved matters, purified by filtration, by means of frequent abstraction, chiefly of spirit of wine. And what we call fixing is causing that which is diffuse and of small density to become oily and firm by abstracting or digesting its aqueous part. Hence it is needful that it should be dissolved in water, so that the coarse parts being separated by filtration, the thin parts may be immersed in moisture, whence they may be reduced by means of such a fixation. It is a common practice to dissolve the matter in any liquid, applying maceration, cooking, or melting, either to the matter alone, or combined with other things, The refuse is purged off by filtration.

OLEUM --- Oil is either Distilled or Secreted. Distilled Oil is that which is extracted by distillation, which is performed either by ascension, descension, or mixing, or combination, which is absorption. Every absorption is performed by distillation only, but mixing can be effected in other ways.


OLEUM STILLATITIUM DESCENSORIUM --- is Oil Obtained by Distillation downwards.

OLEUM PER ELIXATIONEM EXTRACTUM --- is that which is extracted by cocoon, which can be performed either by boiling in moisture, or by a dry flame.

OLEUM EX ASSATIONE --- is Oil obtained by roasting at a dry flame, no menstruum being used. Sometimes the method of burning is substituted for that of roasting.

OLEUM ARDENS --- is Oil of Tartar, consummately corrected.

OLEUM VITRIOLI AURIFICATUM --- Aureated Oil of Vitriol is Vitriol sweetened by Gold.

OLEUM COLCOTHARINUM --- is Red Oil of Vitriol.

OLEITAS RERUM --- is the Sulphur which exists in all things.

OLYMPICUS SPIRITUS --- The Star in Man, the Astral Body which sends forth doubles.

OLY --- is the Moisture or Glue of Metals which flows upon the Menstruum when they are dissolved.

ONYX --- is a Gem which, according to Pliny, 1. 37, c. 6, is shaped like a nail or talon. There are many species, some having the colour of Chrysolith, some of Sand, some of jasper. Those of India are black, full of fire, hard, encircled by white veins, which give the whole stone the appearance of an eye. There are Arabian Onyxes which are also black, and have white bands, but they thin from the Indian forms. (See Pliny, 1. c.) We call the gem Sardonyx, from Sarda, which name has affinity with Onyx, and some say that the one stone is found in conjunction with the other. It is said further that Onyx in an erudition of a tree which hardens into a stone. When fire is applied to it, it emits a smell and various figures and marks appear on it. Albertus distinguishes red, black, and white species of Onyx, all of which when they are rubbed resolve into a substance like the human nail. They also say that these gems cause sadness and apprehension. They act upon melancholy temperaments, and provoke turbulent dreams and contentions. They increase saliva in boys. In conjunction with Sard or Sardonyx, their power is softened, and they make men chaste and modest.

ONYX: ---

1. Pure, transparent, horn-coloured Onyx.

2. Horn-coloured Onyx, having distinct white and purple transverse bands.

3. Horn-coloured Onyx, having milky bands in the upper part, and transverse purple bands in the lower.

4. Horn-coloured Onyx, which is naturally ornamented with lines of red Jasper.

5. Horn-coloured Onyx in which there are lines of dark brown jasper.

6. Horn-coloured Onyx full of red spots.

7. White, transparent Onyx, on which escutcheons are inscribed.

8. Impure, whey-like Onyx.

OPALUS --- India is properly the Land of the Opal. It is a Precious Gem, inasmuch as it has the fire of the carbuncle, but somewhat softened ; the purple effulgence of the amethyst ; and the sea greenness of the emerald. There are several kinds. Some Opals have the smooth and equable hues of orpiment, some the ardent glow of sulphur, some the splendour of burning oil. The size of the opal is that of a hazel-nut. Those are corrupt if the colour be of crystal or like hailstones, or if they have spots, eyes, or other blemishes. On account of its beauty, it is called Paederos after one of the Cupids or Loves. Opals are also said to be found in Egypt, Arabia, and the Pontus, but these are the poorest ; better qualities are from Galatia, Thrace, and Cyprus.

OPHITES --- is a species of Marble, of which Dioscorides enumerates three species --- one black and heavy, another of ash colour, with grey lines and spots, found in Germany, at Mount Joachim; a third, with white bands. It is called Ophites because of its serpent-like hue. It is not true Echites, which is spotted like a viper, though the latter may be a variety of Uphite; nor is it dracontias, nor our serpentine marble ; and, again, it is not to be confused with the stone which is said to be taken from the head of the dragon, or to be composed of the froth of the dragon. That species which has black and grey lines is exactly like our serpents in colour. At the port of Tangra, where once was the royal seat of Charles IV., in the citadel, the temple is adorned with gems, and the walls on all sides are enriched with this kind of Ophite ; the same is a species of adder-stone, which has marks like a viper. There is also another species of Ophite, more nearly approaching the form of a serpent, because it has scales like the serpent; it is, moreover, a crustaceous stone. It is found in many parts of Saxony, but is altogether disesteemed. There is also a third species of Ophite, found on the banks of the Elbe, near Tangra. It is a slender, oblong stone, in shape, like a serpent, as though a serpent had hardened into stone. Within it is black approaching blue; without it is white. Pliny says that its name is derived from its serpentlike spots. He distinguishes two classes-the soft and white, and the dark, which is hard. From the white, he tells us that vessels and caskets are made. Ophite is good for lethargy, headache, and snake-bites.

OPERARIUS --- A Workman.

OPERCULUM --- The Cover of a Refining Furnace.

OPERCULUM AMPULLAE --- The Cover of an Alembic.


OPERIMETHIOLIN --- A Mineral Spirit.

OPILARE --- To Shut, Cover, or Conceal.

OPILATIVA --- An Astringent, Constipating Medicine.

OPPODELTOCH --- is the most excellent Sticking Plaster of Theophrastus.

OPS METALLUM --- Quicksilver.

OPTOS --- Patched, Sewed On.

ORALE --- i.e., Vessel.

ORBIS --- A Dish, or Circular piece of Leather.

ORBIS SAXEUS --- A Round Stone.

ORBICULI --- Precipitated Cryetals of Salt in the Salt Pan.

ORIENS --- i.e., Urine.

ORIENS --- A Solution of Iron in Muriatic Acid. The Ascent, Red Olitet, the Father, Red Vitriol, the Ruby, Husband, Salt of Urine, Sun, Gold and Sulphur, Summer, Tartar, Ashes, Ore, Wine.

ORDOLEUM --- is a Small Ulcer in the Eyebrows, like Grains of Barley.

OREXIS --- is Heart Burn, a Heat rising from the Stomach to the Throat.

ORGANOPEOTICA --- The Art of Making Warlike Instruments.

ORICHALCEA FILA --- Brazen Threads, or Brushes.

ORIZEUM --- i.e., Gold.

ORIZEUM FOLIATUM --- Gold Beaten into Thin Plates with a Mallet.

ORIZEUM PRAECIPITATUM --- Gold Reduced to its Flowers by means of Flowers of Mercury.

ORIZA --- i.e., Rice.

ORMS --- i.e., a Hen.


OROBO --- Metallic Glass.

OROGAMO --- Gold.

OS --- Month.

OS FORNACIS --- The Eye of the Furnace.

OS SPIRITALE --- A Damper for Current of Air.

OSTRACITES --- is a kind of Stone, or Precious Stone, or a species of Calamine, so called after the Shell of the Oyster, for it can be separated into flakes after the same manner as the oyster-shell. Pliny seems to speak of one kind only. Nevertheless, it may be regarded as divisible into three species, of which the first is like mussel-shell, the second like oyster-shell, and the third like agate. The first has scissile veins, and is found in Saxony, as also is the second. On the authority of Dioscorides, Ostracites checks menstruation, is good for inflammation of the breasts, and for corroding sores, or swellings.

OSOROR --- i.e., Opium.

OSSA PARALLELI --- is a Medicament universally used in Gout.

OSTRUTIUM TRANSPLANTUM --- i.e., the Herb Angelica.

OTHAN --- The Mercury of the Philosophers. Ovum, i.e., the Blessed Stone.

OVUM PHILOSOPHICUM --- The Philosophical or Hermetic Egg used in Alchemical Operations.

OXOS --- Vinegar, or Oil of Palestine, which is Vinegar.

OXY --- i.e., Pointed.

OZEMAN --- White of Eggs.

OZO --- i.e., Arsenic.

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