14 May 1976
Vol 192, Issue 4240

About The Cover

The “Greene Lyon” devouring the sun. “One of the most famous of all alchemical illustrations,” this picture first appeared in print in 1572, in a tract called Rosarium philosophorum. Newton owned a copy, still extant, included in a 1610 edition of the alchemical collection Artis auriferae. The lion, representing raw antimony ore, “draws in vivifying mercury, the living or `actuated' character of which is symbolized by blood.” [Reproduced in The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy, reviewed on page 689, with permission from the Stadtbibliothek Vadiana, St. Gallen]