Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Kryštof Harant in the context of alchemical convolute by Šimon Tadeáš Budek – contribution to the history of Rudolphine alchemy


Abstract: The manuscript convolute n. 11133 (Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) by Šimon Tadeáš Budek of Lešiny and Falkenberg is an important source for the study of the cultural circles around Emperor Rudolph II. Budek, who was a vicar and an alchemist, was granted an imperial privilege which allowed him to search for precious stones and metals around eastern Bohemia in the first decade of the 17th century. He also established contacts with a wide range of intellectuals and members of the Czech nobility operating at the Court, as is documented by comments in his manuscript, where he refers to a number of these personages. On folio 4v, under the text Similitudo lapidis nostri, dated 19 April 1606, Budek mentions the name of Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice. The said tractate focuses mainly on a description of an important chemical substance (bolus rubra, bolus armenus, terra sigillata), which used to be imported to Europe from Palestine and which was probably also known to Kryštof Harant, who was interested in similar substances with healing and magical effects, as is suggested by certain passages in his work describing his travels around Egypt and Palestine. Since Harant, as the Emperor’s chamberlain had access not only to Rudolph’s “Kunstkammer“, but apparently also to his laboratory, it appears probable that Šimon Budek and Kryštof Harant shared common intellectual interests and that together with the personages referred to in the manuscript, belonged to a widespread socio-cultural network, whose common denominator was a passion for alchemy.

Key words: Bohemia, Rudolph II., science, alchemy

PhDr. Jaroslava Hausenblasová, PhD., působí jako historička v Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Osmitteleuropas e. V. an der Universität Leipzig (hausenblasova@atlas.cz)

Mgr. Ivo Purš, působí jako historik umění v Ústavu dějin umění AV ČR, v. v. i., v Praze ( purs@udu.cas.cz)