Translation of Roger Bacon’s Gunpowder Formula in the Harley Manuscript 3528

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ABSTRACT

Roger Bacon has been credited with one of the earliest formulas for gunpowder. Robert Steele in Nature presents an image from the Harley MS 3528 that seems to be a version of Bacon’s formulation. Other sources and translations of the formulation suggest a composition that is inadequate to produce the effects reported by Bacon. This paper will translate and decode the writing in the Steele image to determine a formulation for gunpowder. At issue is that a previously reported formulations based on Hime’s interpretation of an anagram presented by Dee reflects poorly on Roger Bacon and that an interpretation of the content in the Harley MS might correction this perception. Since the author is not associated with any academic institution, open literature available on the Internet was used to become familiar with the subject matter with preference given to reputable sources. The formula determined was 26 parts saltpeter, 6 parts willow charcoal and 6 parts sulfur. This formula as percentages (68.4, 15.8, and 15.8) would be capable of producing the effects described by Bacon. It also addresses the previous interpretation of  [30B] as the total amount of gunpowder and suggests it as possibly being half a drachma or half a handful needed to produce the effects with the [3] being interpreted as ezh instead of 3 to mean drachma or handful and [B] being interpreted as the apothecarian symbol for half. Along with these, there were additional findings of undocumented or lesser documented items of interest including an image of what may be the Greek alphabet in Bacon’s hand, the use of S for 6, the use of hyphenation, the use of coal to mean charcoal and the use of a pre and post dot notation of numbers. It is quite likely that some of information in the Harleian MS has been secreted or obfuscated. The methods used by Bacon may not represent a coherent strategy and would leave a lot to the interpretation of the reader/translator. At this point the findings are of interest and suggestive of Bacon’s intent and should help to remove the stigma associated to his formula based on previous and somewhat suspect interpretations.

INTRODUCTION

In Nature, [1] Steele presents an image of 22 lines of script (Appendix A) containing the formula for gunpowder. It is from the British Library Harley Manuscript 3528 and attributed to Roger Bacon in his Epistola de Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae et de Nullitate Magiae (EdS). Image 1 shows lines 9 through 11 with 9 and 10 being denoted by the brace on the right side of the image.

 
 Image 1 Lines 9 through 11 of the Image in Nature of the Harley Manuscript 3528

Steele also presents an image of the similar passage in the Sloane MS 2156 and Image 2 is part of that image.

Image 2 Part of Sloane MS 2156 in Nature

This is a truer transcription of the Harley passage than that of the following Image 3 by Dee[2].

 
Image 3 EdS Transcription by Johannis Dee of the Gunpowder Formulation

The Sloane transcription appears to have deviated from the original scriptwriter’s intent by transcribing the items from the lines in Image 1 to the following lines in Image 2

Table 1 Script Substitutions from Harley MS 3528 to Sloane MS 2156

The EdS was transcribed by Johannis Dee for his candidate for science and printed in 1618. Image 3 is the page labeled 69 in reference (2) and covers the substantive part of Image 1.

The lines in the Harley MS 3528
8  [3] 
have been replaced with
8 
in the Dee transcript.

Hime [4] declares “LURU VOPO VIR CAN UTRIET” (LURU.VOPO) to be an anagram. He rearranges the anagram, parses and interprets it thusly: 

RVIIPARTVNOUCORULVET
R. VII PART. V NOV. CORUL. V ET; i.e.
r(ecipe) vii part(es), v nov(ellæ) corul (i), v et.

After which it is incorporated it into the text and translated as:
 
“sed tamen salis petrae recipe vii partes, v novellae coruli, v et sulphuris,” &c.;
“but take 7 parts of saltpetre, 5 of young hazel-wood, and 5 of sulphur,” &c.;

These changes in transcriptions are the basis for Steele’s criticism, among others’[5][6], of Hime’s commentary on the formula for gunpowder. It should also be noted that it specifies a type of wood (young = new hazel-wood i.e., novella coruli). It is well known today that it would have to be wood charcoal but from Hime’s interpretation that would have to be inferred by the reader and therefore the reader would already have some of the secret knowledge of what is being secreted.

DISCUSSION

The full script image from Nature of MS 3528 (Appendix A) will be the primary reference source. It is assumed that it best documents Bacon’s intent and that he did not include any inadvertent or willful errors to mislead the reader but only content designed to obfuscate information from the “vulgar crowd”[7]. All other derivative works could have inadvertent transcription and translation errors.

The Royal MS 7 F VIII[8] (Royal MS) was used to become familiar with medieval writing forms, as this was available online. It “was most likely produced in Oxford in the last quarter of the thirteenth century by at least three different scribes (8)” and “thought to the earliest copy of several of several of Bacon’s works”.[9] It would be expected that Bacon would have informed the scribes of any content and forms that were used with the intent of obfuscating the information so that they would transcribe it faithfully. Assuming that the bulk of the MS is not meant to be obfuscated, the result would be that the MS likely contains common representation of the textual forms of the time by various scribes and/or the author.

Referencing Image 1, the most critical information would be the names of the components. In particular, for the charcoal then as now, the source of the charcoal is well known to influence the performance of gunpowder[10]. So its source name would be considered of the utmost importance. The amounts of each would be useful to avoid any significant effort by using trial and error experimentation to determine the composition.

Lastly, the total amount would only be of value if the amounts of all but one of the components were given (in this case 2 components). The total then would be used to determine the amount of the final component by determined by difference between the total and the sum of all the others, assuming the writer wants to avoid any trial and error work on the part of the reader. The total amount of finished gunpowder would be most useful if any effects described depended on the total amount.

 The pieces of Image 1 that are of interest, listed by their importance as described above, are:

         
         
         as part of
                              
            and its association with pondus
                              
             and with the effects detailed in the following lines.
                          
             

       1.   Saltpeter Amount (Discussion I.)
There seems to be little disagreement that near the end of line 1 of Image 1 translates as saltpeter. It is chemically potassium nitrate, an excepted component of gunpowder.

One of the more common structures for listing a formula is the component followed by the amount. The script after saltpeter is [k6 ≡ kG]. This appears to be a mix of Greek and Medieval characters. The k is the Greek letter kappa. The form is somewhat atypical in having a closed loop top. This is similar a form associated to Bacon’s in other references[11][12] Appendix B. The closed loop top k also appears in the Royal MS (8 p. 5 f.44r, 4th line from bottom and in Image 4).

  
Image 4 Closed Looped Top k

The G-like letter is the medieval number 6 (Appendix C) or the final ess (s)[13] at the end of a word. This can be a source of confusion. If this character appears in a string of letters, it will be assumed to be mostly likely an s and not a 6. If it is surrounded by dots •G• [.6. ≡ .G.], it will be considered the number 6.

The use of Greek letters was stated by Steele and was implied by Prof. Minns (1) for the line that follows [k6]. It is suggested that Greek letters are being used to represent the amount of saltpeter. Since k in Greek and can represent the number 20 (Appendix D) and the second symbol assign the number 6, [k6] could represent the amount of saltpeter as 26. Of note is that the 6 was represented in Greek by the digamma or wau letter that became archaic as a letter but was kept for the numeral 6.[14] [6 ≡ G] does not appear as any type of ancient Greek number. Indeed, the digamma may have been lesser known or used in Bacon’s time for a number[15]. It is interesting that the transformation of the digamma (14) goes through an S-like form similar to stigma (Appendix D) and becomes quite similar to the midlevel [6, G].
 
 Image 5 Transformation of Digamma

The Greek alphabet shown in reference (12, Appendix B), especially if this is Bacon’s own writing, show the number 6 as an S. This is suggestive that Bacon may have used S as a symbol for 6. Of interest is that S was also used in Roman for semi (1/2 of 12) (41), its similarity to one form of the digamma as well as with the Medieval [6, G]. All of this may have helped to encourage the mixing of alphabets, which is Bacon’s fourth method of concealing a secret[16], Appendix E and is considered in this paper to be inclusive of numbers. The use of S as a Greek symbol to represent the Roman VI (6) can be seen in other medieval documents[17], Appendix F. These were a group of 14 manuscripts from the 5-10th century and therefore Bacon could have been well aware of the information in some of them.
 
2.   Charcoal Type & Amount (Discussion II.)
  Charcoal Type
We have the advantage of knowing that gunpowder is composed of charcoal and that the plant source for the charcoal is considered important information. This allows us to work forward from Bacon’s script and backward to it from current knowledge to decode his writing and possible intent.

The initial translation of charcoal to Latin and Greek was massively disappointing and seemed to be a dead end. However, research on charcoal reveled that until mineral coal came into wide usage[18], the term coal, prior to about 1200-1400, was used for what is currently called charcoal[19][20]. The translation to current Greek for coal was much more insightful. The translation was κάρβουνο (pronounced kárvouno). This did focus attention on the K at the end of the previous line in the Harley MS and on the grouping of κα [ka] in the Sloane MS. The Sloane MS spaced the [ka] separate from the rest of the script may have hinder others from recognizing it as Bacon’s encoding of charcoal as shown as the first part of Discussion II. The translations of the various forms of coal into Greek were suggestive of similarity to the script text in the Steele article in Nature (1) with and without the preceding k. It must be remembered that the script text may not be only in Greek but could be a mix of other alphabets, substituted characters and phonetics sounds with some of the sounds being represented by multiple characters. In particular the a, being considered as Greek alpha, appears to be an a written in Uncial script [21](39.

 
         Table 2 Translations into Greek and Latin of Various Word Representative 
                                                      of Coal (Charcoal)
a (1), b [22], c [23], d [24]
 
Some of the more interesting characters found that might be substitutions are:
 
Table 3 Potential Script Characters and Meanings
a [25], b (8), c [26], d [27], e [28], f [29], g (13)

The script text, ,and the Greek translation for coal (κάρβουνο) was mildly suggestive of similarities.

The second part of Discussion II. was assumed to be the source of the charcoal. The Latin name of some 40-50 woods were reviewed focusing on the somewhat contention relation (5) that the hazel and willow mentioned in Bacon’s works was actually associated with charcoal by Thorndike while David[30] references it translated as “Burned shrubs or willow”. Willow, in Latin salices, seemed a primary candidate, one that Bacon was likely aware of from other’s writings and is still today favored for making gunpowder. None of the names seemed suggestively similar to[radikis]. Once again the Steele document criticizing the Hime’s translation had comments from Prof. Minns (1) that suggests a translation of salikis. This is suggestive to salices. It also resolves some confusion as the initial letter seems to be an r but seems to have been translated as a Half-Unical or Insularis minuscule[31] s. The confounding of letters is accepted. “The “r” () and “s” () can be easily confounded.” [32] and “the most difficult to differentiate are R, F, and S.” [33] It also appears as the first letter in the following word, which has a similar r appearance, has been translated as sulfur. Endnote reference (31) also lists the [ki] ligature as potentially being fi.

The script is accepted as charcoal willow but is not considered a certainty given what appear to be efforts to make the information secret. Additional work to decode and solidify this interpretation is continued further below and presented for others that want to solidify or critic the interpretation.

Charcoal Amount
The thing of importance is the amount. It is believed that this is represented by •6• [.6.] and is the number 6.

      Charcoal Type – More Detailed Discussion
Once it was recognized that the name for the component charcoal might bridge lines 9 and 10 in Image 1, the curved underscore on line 10 can be is interpreted as a non-syllabified postbreak hyphenation symbol that is meant to indicate word continuation from the previous line. The hyphen appears in English MS’s in the late 13th century[34][35]. By comparison, Dee’s translation of the Epitola in 1618 has massive amounts of non-syllabified prebreak hyphenation seemingly to minimize writing material usage. The curved underscore to indicate a line continuation would be an example of Bacon’s first method of concealing a secret by using special symbols as discussed in the Hime’s translation of the EdS. Although the association of the word symbols with incantations might led one astray from a simple character symbol represented by the curve underscore to something more associated with alchemy, the Hime’s translation may be better understood by the translation by Thomas Maule where “character” is used in place of symbol[36] could reasonable define the curved underscore.

After developing the concept that the curved underscore on line 10 may be representing a hyphenation mark, a reference was coincidentally encountered[37] that describes the use of a curve symbol as a hyphen associated with Roger Bacon’s Oxford Greek Grammar[38]. This was a satisfying confirmation of the concept.

Charcoal Amount – More Detailed Discussion
The Royal MS was used to become familiar with medieval writing forms, as this was available online. It is “thought to the earliest copy of several of several of Bacon’s texts” and “was most likely produced in Oxford in the last quarter of the thirteenth century by at least three different scribes”(8). It would be expected that Bacon would have informed the scribes of any content and forms that were used with the intent of obfuscating the information so that they would transcribe it faithfully. Assuming that the bulk of the MS is not meant to be obfuscated, the result would be that the MS likely contains common representation of the textual forms of time by various scribes and/or Bacon.

Many sections of the MS were reviewed and passages that were obviously numbers (Table 6) were bookended by dots (.bkds.). Nothing was found in any sources describing the use of this type of notation to define a number so it seems not to be well documented. The elevation of the dots seemed to vary between online and midline (interpunctus[39]). The use of dots was particularly noticeable if there were a series of numbers. It seemed to be a space substitute so that a number like 12 3 (.12.3.) would not be confuse as 123 (.123.). Tables that contained numbers did not seem to use this to designate a number as their context certainly defined them as such. However, columns containing 2 sets of numbers could be separated by a single dot. The dot notation was also used even if the characters were at the beginning of a line, although this seemed to have some exceptions. This dot notation would certainly help limit the misreading of the numbers. It would also help to resolve confusion between characters that are similar and could be interpreted as a letter or number. This type of structure was seen in separating Greek letter in a German text (13) and seems to be a spacing substitute similarly seen with numbers.

Looking at the image in Discussion II., the last three characters appear as “6.6.”. At first, it was thought that the first flat top 6 represented something different but it seems to be just a normal variation in the handwriting of the character. Once the bookending dot notation was seen as indicative of a character representing a number, his intent became clearer that the second character was a number and likely 6. It is common throughout the Royal MS showing it to be a commonly used practice. This is especially true if the MS was transcribed by several individuals. The first character of the image similarly looked like a G or 6. A source (13) was later found that described this character as an “s”. This may be well know and accepted but it seemed be obscurely documented, at least in the open literature.

While the bookending dot notation in the Royal MS is suggestive of a number, other sources show the use of this notation with a single letter as an abbreviation[40].

3.   Sulfur Amount (Discussion III.)
The word in Discussion III. is universally accepted as sulphur (i.e., sulfur). It is instructive that the first r-like character is an s and so reinforces the first letter being s in Latin for willow. This seems to be well known and accepted (1), although it is not a typical medieval tall/long s (21 p. 49) as shown in other words of the Harley MS.

At the end of sulfur is “.S.”. The capital S is descendent and is surrounded by dots. This could have several interpretations.

A typically interpretations would be as an abbreviation for scilicet (40). Because of its context and that it has been surrounded by dots, it will be treated as a number instead of an abbreviation for scilicet.

An alternate to scilicet is semis (half), which can be represented by S. Since Romans used fraction of 12 instead of 10, this would represent 6[41] and it would make sense since this is a fraction of the formulation. This would mean using different symbols (the 6/G and S) to represent the same number. This would represent a method of secreting information that has not been acknowledged by Bacon. Unfortunately, if the writing is made too convoluted, then the fundamental intent to transmit knowledge would become so hidden that it may never be understood. It is noted that if the amount were 6, it would also be more consistent with gunpowder formulations in having the same or more charcoal than sulfur (Table 5) typical of a French formulation, which Bacon certainly had an opportunity to learn as he studied in France. With the finding of the relationship between the Latin number 6 and S in Appendix B, 6 seems to be the simplest and more direct translation (Occam's razor[42]).

Another is S or S, which is a "medieval Roman numerals" abbreviation presumed to be for the Latin septem (7) (41). This will be considered an interesting alternative amount for sulfur.

Lastly, the discussion in Nature by Steele (1), Minns suggests the S-like character is the number 5 but no confirming information was encountered to support this while reviewing information for this paper. A poorly written 5 could be interpreted as an S but this form of 5 is not typical of the era.

4.   Gunpowder Amount (Discussion IV.)
With the amount of the components translated, comparison to the history of gunpowder formulations would be useful to see if the translated amounts are reasonable and how they compare to the commonly translated total weight of 30.
 

  Based on Gunpowder Formulations

While a volume interpretation of the amount is a possibility[43], the variation in the bulk densities of the individual components would be so variable as to make any formulation virtual meaningless. The formulations are interpreted by weight (parts).

The compositions from this paper (Table 4), depending on the interpretation of .S. for the amount of sulfur would be:

                 Table 4 Gunpowder Composition Translation and Interpretation
                                                     Of the Harley MS 3528
The compositions in Table 4 compares favorably with the majority of the formulations listed in Table 5
a ([44]), b ([45]), c ([46]), d [47], e [48]
+ Low saltpeter amount
 ‘ Symbol used by Hime in Tables VII and VIII of the reference with the amounts. It seems to indicate that he was aware the amounts did not add up to 100% most likely due to the conversion of the references paper’s amounts to 100% or that the number was suspect. No endnote was found in the Hime’s paper to explain its use.
 
A comparison of the formulations can be shown by charting (Chart 1) the amount of saltpeter in the formulations (Table 5) over time. 

Chart 1 Amount of Saltpeter in Gunpowder
 
The formulation attributed to Bacon through the anagram decoded by Himes:
      1.   suffers from being outside the main stream of compositions
      2.   would not create the effect (thunder and lightning) reported by Bacon (2),
      3.   has had multiple interpretations (Hime (4) and Davis (7, p. 66 [66]))
      4.   is based on a suspect MS authority (1)
      5.   does not explicitly define charcoal as a component and
      6.   is required to encode a signification amount of formulation and component
            information in a limited number of characters.
All of this makes it likely that the anagram and its interpretation as a complete formulation for gunpowder highly suspect.

The important information is the relative amount of the components. The science of mixture formulating started to be recognized around the mid 1960’s[49] as an adjunct to traditional continuous and categorical factors in experimental designs. It was put into more a more solid mathematical basis with the realization that the component in a formulation add up to 1 (i.e. 100%) as in x+y+z=1. For a 3 component example, given any 2 components the third is known. Designs of these types are known as simplex designs. The total amount is superfluous having value only to confirm that any weighings are done and recorded correctly to catch inadvertent errors during compounding. The total also becomes irrelevant if formulations are normalized to total 100%. The use of the science of formulation experimental designs is part of the author’s background and was partly a driving interest in understanding Bacon’s work along with the career directing youthful interest in gunpowder.

Formulations and recipes can be described by denoting their parts. Parts can be weight or volumes. The amounts would best be described by weights as volumes of material can vary based on their physical form. If the writing is to represent the total amount (weight), then the sum of the amounts of each component should agree with the total amount disclosed. The Hime formula of 7, 5 and 5 with a total of 17 is not close to a total of 30. Hime also notes that the 30 is not needed[50] and he used it to designate the number of final characters in the decoded anagram[51]. This loses validity in the Royal MS, as the anagram is not present. The Steele discussion in Nature put forth the numbers (textually representation of script content being referenced): 6 [k6], 7 [ka], 6 (unclear), 6 [.6.] and 5 [.S.]. While this does add to a total of 30, it suggests a highly unlikely formulation with 5 components unless 2 of them are redundant and could combined with the remaining other 3 amounts. Even the formulation as suggested in this paper (26, 6, 7 or 6) adds up to 38 or 39. The alternative possibility is that the 30 represent something else.

The next sections will discuss the interpretation of ezh (Ʒ), punctus (), the descendent tailed eszett/beta (β), along with it relationship to the weight (pondus) and the effect it produces.

 Based on Pondus Totum and Effect
Image 6 30 Sed
 
  Ezh (Ʒ)
When it became suspected that the “Ʒ•β” in the total amount may represent something other than “30 but”, the Harley MS and Royal MS were reviewed to see if the ezh form of 3 was more typical than the rounded 3.

  Items in the Harley MS
It later was realized that the Harley MS, although a limited sample, had similar ezh characters and was more attributable to Bacon’s writing so a review of investigating the Harley MS is presented first.
LuruVopo by Steele (1)
Ezh or at least an ezh-like character appears four times in the image:
1.   Line 9
The Latin by Dee is printed as
with the translations by Thomas Maule as “also the whole weight must be 30. But yet of”[52] and “Let the total weight (of the ingredients) be 30. However, of” (4) by Hime. The “30” is not surrounded by dots. Characters surrounded by dots is highly suggestive that the information may be a number. Since the ezh is not, there is the possibility that it may represent something beside the number 30.
2.   Line 16
The Latin by Dee is printed as with a typical translation of the ezh as em.
3.   Line 17
The Latin by Dee is printed as with a typical translation of the ezh as em.
4.   Line 19
The Latin by Dee is printed as with a typical translation of the ezh as que.

The ezh examples in the Harley MS have transcriptions that seem typical of ezh (em, que) and not a 3. This suggests, along with the scribal forms of 3 (rounded top) in the Royal MS and Bacon’s the form of 3 in Appendix C, that the ezh may have some other meaning.

  Items in the Royal MS
Much of this is attributed to Bacon or his scribes. It was reviewed for the occurrences of ezh. Few examples were found in the Royal MS to suggest that the ezh form was typically used by the writers (scribes or Bacon). The review of Royal MS for ezh is given in Appendix G.

Additionally, common forms of the number 3 can be seen in some of the entries in Table 6. This is not in the form of ezh.

  Punctus (•)
  Items in the Harley MS
This has been translated as a zero. However, it is filled. Whether this is accidental or deliberate is unclear. The examples of ezh above also include an h with an elevated o. One of which was filled. These were translated by Dee as haec (this). Line 4 has a semi-filled elevated o with a subscripted dot  that Dee translated hoc.[53]

Line 6 also has a filled o (humido) but for the most part the superscripted o and counters (closed loops) in the script are unfilled suggesting that a filled superscripted o or counter may have some meaning.
The punctus associated with the “30” seems to be extraordinarily exaggerated. That it was repeated later in the MS suggests it may have some addition meaning beyond a simple punctuation point.

Items in the Royal MS
Table 6 contains examples of characters that are bookended by dots (.bkds.) and from the context, it is highly likely they are numbers. This is of interest because the [6] symbol could be confused with s at the end of the word and even sometimes takes on the appearance of a G. This is seen in the image in Discussion II. with a [6] that is both bookended and not bookended. The bookending is also suggestive the [S] in the image in Discussion III. should be treated as a number. While the bookending seems to be indicative of a number, its use does show exceptions and is use for other characters. In particular, table of numbers often have no dots or are partially dotted. Examples were sampled throughout the manuscript to get familiar with the forms used by all the writer(s).

Table 6 Character Bookended with Dot Indicating Numbers
               oc - ordination cap of “o”

Items in the Appendix B and Others
The number 1 is bookended with dots. The numbers 2 and 3 are only partial bookended, while the others have none. This could indicate that the first instance clearly defines them as numbers and is then less necessary for the others. If this is in Bacon’s own hand, then it would be confirmation of his use of bookended dots to designate numbers in a textual content. The form for 4 and 5 seems unique but may be simply a normal writing variation or writing implement design. What does seem unique is the slash through the 0’s (zeros).

The use of dotted bookended numbers (along with a different type or ordination) can be seen in endnote (13).

Eszett (β)
Items in the Harley MS
Eszett is a German letter of Latin script[54] and is based on the ligature of the tall s + tailed z. In the Harley MS script, it has a descendent tall s leg. This seems to be a common variation.[55] Interestingly, this it is also the apothecary symbol for half.[56]

The eszett was transcribed by Dee as sed. This along with tamen was translated by Hime as “however (of)”. Another translation (52) gives it as “but yet (of)”. Goggle Translate shows the somewhat redundant strong exclamation “but however”. The (of) seems to have been included in the various translations for reading flow reasons.

If the eszett is represents the tall s + z digraph, the tall s +z appears in other places the MS (on lines 1, 3 and 17) in a different form . Dee transcribes this as & (line 1 Harley). He also seems to transcribes et as & (line 1 and 19 Harley). This leads to a similar translation of extreme variations of script forms. This suggests that the transcription and translation may need to be reconsidered.

The eszett appear in line 19 as part of

 

Dee transcribes this as:
Vale. Et quicunque haec reseraverit, habebit
clavem quae aperit, &.
Translations are “Farewe•l. Whoever unlocks these, hath a key which opens and” (52) and Google translates to “Farewell. And whoever opens these will have the key that opens and”. Reseraverit seems better translated as unlocks.

The part of interest is where the transcription of  seems to be as . This would give an indication of how the eszett is use and transcribed, however it is not clear how the transcription was determined. Preceding it is ho , which has been referenced to haec/hoc. After it is , which is referenceable to habebit, so the text image from the Harley MS appears to be the translation to reseraverit by Dee. Assuming the tall s is definitive in the image and translated text, then eszett would be se and partly similar to the transcription sed after the 30.

The t3  posses an issue as to whether it belong with the preceding ho, which seems unlikely. The alternate is that it belongs with the script following it. An interesting observation was that entering the crude transcription of “teseseerit” into Google gave a translation of “password”. This is certainly something that unlocks or is the key to open something. The translation of password[57] as tessera vs. signum also seems to have the interesting association in military context[58] by metonymy with “a little piece of paper” [parchment], which is coincidental with the effect of gunpowder if one knows the secret discussed next.

At worst, the eszett seems like se. It could be representative of the previous sed translation of eszett and possibly be a part of the Dee translation reseraverit. However, the transcription is not as directly obvious as in the other transcriptions and translations reviewed. At best, the script has the potential transcription and translation to a piece of paper that unlocks the way (password). This transcription and translation would need a more authoritative study.

The “sed” in the MS could be open or closed at the bottom. It is clear that s3 would not be the outline of “sed” as it might only have 2 closed counters[59] where s3 could have 3. An outline that would be more similar is beta with a descendent leg is the apothecary semis (Medieval tall s with 3, half) used along with a unit of measure.[60]
 
Image 7 Apothecary Semis

Items in the Royal MS
The eszett had been translated as but (sed, s3). In Harley MS, the ink seems to have flaked off leaving an outline of the script. In a review of the Harley MS document, another instance of flaked text was seen (line 15 , note the light outlined Є [E]). This was transcribed by Dee as “et hoc” and appears similar to “et” in the next line  of the document. The context seems to indicate the outline was indicative of the script written. This outlined textual character is also seen in the following section “Interpretation of the Image in Discussion IV.”.

Image 8 has typical forms for sed in Royal MS. These are dissimilar to the eszetts in the Harley MS. Their outline would also be dissimilar. It is clear that s3 would not be the outline of sed. This suggests that it might simply be Bacon’s personal script variation or that it is an attempt at concealment using a method disclosed in Bacon’s EdS and that Dee became a victim of the obfuscation. This would have been a case where Bacon would have to alert scribes to transcribe it correctly.
 
Image 8 Typical Forms of Sed (but) in Royal MS f.178r and f.178v
 

  Interpretation of the Image in Discussion IV.

The image in Discussion IV. (repeated above) seems to have been transcribed by Dee as “Item pondus totum sit 30. Sed tamen salis petrae” with the tall s and the æ diphthong in the Dee printed transcription (Image 3) replaced by s and ae. This was further translated by Hime with the parenthetical addition as “Let the total weight (of the ingredients) be 30. However, of saltpeter”[61]. The comparative Google translation is “Also the total weight is 30. But still rock salt” with “sed tamen“ alone being translated as “but however”. Saltpeter is from Medieval Latin sal petrae, which is literally salt of the rock[62].
The typical translation of pondus is weight and is the highest frequency recommended by Google translate. 
Image 9 Pondus
 
Alternates that occur with a high frequency are importance, burden and value. Alone, there is nothing to suggest its meaning is otherwise. However, that interpretation may be moderated by its relationship to what appear to be a number (30) in the same line and the comment “if you know ‘the trick.’ ” as translated by Hime further in the text (61). If this is a reference to a total weight, good practice would suggest that the weight units be documented and the absolute weight is needed for some other purpose. While formulating the total weight would be a check on making sure the correct amounts were weighted, it has no benefit unless a certain amount is needed to accomplish an effect. This is essentially the difference between a mixture variable in formulation chemistry (percent to 100) and a continuous variable (e.g. amount, time, temperature, pressure, pounds/acre) in an experimental design.
Because of the distinctness of characters in , the grouping could be representing something similar to the apothecary “half at dram thus” in Image 10 as the ezh is the symbol for dram. The final period has been assumed to represent “thus” and not seen in the MS. 
Image 10 Halfe a Dramme Thus
 
Dram comes from the Greek drachme, which means a handful of dry substance.[63] At the time of Bacon, the apothecary measures do not seem fully developed in England.[64] Pages 113-116 in the reference trace the use of the ezh for dram from c1450 on. By comparison, the example for “dozen” given on pages 111-113 is traced from c1253 on. It seems that Bacon might have been alluding to the older definition of drachme and was representing half a handful of material. While this may be possible, it is also possible that even a dram or drachma, which is a small unit (3.8 grams (63), 4.3 grams[65]) could still make the desired effect described below. However, this amount would make little sense in this context as a total amount for a composition.

Bacon discloses in the Harley MS the need for some additional information in order that “you will produce a bright flash and a thundering noise, if you know ‘the trick’”. Containing it in parchment[66] along with being tied as revealed by Marcus Graecus [67] would certainly be components of the “trick” as without sufficient containment well-formulated gunpowder will deflagrate rather than explode. It should be noted that at that time parchment would be animal skin and offer much stronger containment than the nowadays parchment paper[68]. The work attributed to one Marcus Graecus in the first millennia was translated from Arabic around the time of Bacon (ca 1300) [69] so he could have had access to its teachings.

A minimum amount would seem likely to be also part of the ‘trick” in order to produce a thunder-like effect. This is why it is believed Bacon is trying to transmit the total weight of gunpowder needed to produce the effects as opposed to restating the total weight of the sum of the composition of the gunpowder. The amount of gunpowder is referenced in the Opus Majus as “an instrument as large as the human thumb.” [70], which also discloses the need for parchment to contain it. Without enough gunpowder and some limited containment, the flash and noise will not be produced. The video [71] shows the deflagration of 1 gram of gunpowder (homemade and commercial) and includes the formulation for the homemade powder Table 5. Based on the scaling of the slow match, pan and brick to the powder pile, it is about 1.5-2.5 inches or the size of a thumb (2 inches). This definitely show a flash and if contained would be enough to explode loudly. A half a drachme would be sufficient to produce the effects described.

As a reference done by determination, a handful of salt weighs ~50 grams and a thumb of compressed glucose tablets weighs 30 grams. It seems that he is describing an amount roughly between 2 - 25 grams to get the lightning and thunder. While 25 grams would give thunder, this amount seems at odds with a children’s toy. In addition, the need to infer the weight from a handful as opposed to the actual weight of half a dram suggests that Bacon is describing something with a weight of about 2 grams contained in tied parchment.

The EdS (a.k.a. De mirabili potestate artis et naturae[72]) seems to have been written before (1242, 1248, 1250, 1252, “Preface to the Works for the Pope”) [73][74][75][76][77] the compilation of the opuses (1266-1268[78]) for Papal Mandate in July 1266 for Pope Clement IV. He may not have yet considered further obfuscating important information by putting pieces in several documents (external obfuscation) as he may have done in the opuses and only used internal obfuscation as he had reveled in this Epistola. It would seem more likely that the use of external obfuscation may have been recognized later and is the reason it does not appear in this epistola. The significance is that any secretive revelations would have included all necessary information in a single work like the type and amounts of substances used in a formulation. This is consistent with this papers interpretation of the Harley MS and would reinforce that the LURU.VOPO anagram may not contain all necessary information.

Although it is believe the timing on the creation of the writings is correct, some have placed this epistola later (ca. 1270s, 1268-1292)[79][80] than the opuses (1250s-1268)[81]. If that is the case and with the pope’s death in 1268[82] and having likely not seen Opus Tertium, Bacon’s may have reconsidered the wisdom of obscuring the information into several documents as a loss of a piece could lose the information to history.

SUMMARY and CONCLUSIONS

Based on the discussion, the best internally consistent translation of the discussion of gunpowder in the Harley MS is believed to be:

The whole weight should be half a dram,
however*[83]
    saltpeter 26,
    charcoal willow 6,
    sulfur 6,
and so shall you make thunder and lightning if you know the art**[84]

*tamen - nevertheless /yet/still/ however (in spite of this/even so[85])
**artificium - art/trick

This is also consistent with size (thumb) and use (toy) in the Opus Majus in which he reveals the art of containing it in parchment and tying it revealed in Liber ignium.

FUTURE

A translation by someone more expert in the field may be of benefit in further understanding how to interpret the gunpowder formulation.

Areas that could be further studied are:
1.     A review of the rest of the Harley MS 3528 for:
a.   The form (rounded or ezh) of script 3, where a rounded three in Bacon’s own hand, would essential prove that the “30” is not likely representing a number. The converse would not necessarily be as definitive as it could be claim the ezh was used for obfuscation.
b.   Numbers that are surround by dots similar to number in the Royal MS indicating that it is a common style for Bacon/scribes to denote numbers or symbols representing numbers. Confirmation of this in the Harley MS would also reinforce the interpretation that “30” is likely not a number as it is not surrounded by dots. This would be only a highly suggest confirmation because there were some limited instances in the Royal MS where this was not the case.
c.   Eszett and its translated meaning as an indication that the form used in the MS was typical of Bacon’s script for sed making the sed translation more supported. This too would unfortunately fall victim to the counter argument that it was still used in an alternate way to obfuscate the meaning.
2.   A linguistic review for a more complete translation of the word believed to be charcoal (medieval coal) that appears to be composed of mixed alphabetic letters including the final “p”.
3.   Review the Harley MS and other documents in Bacon’s own hand to make alphanumeric primers of Bacon’s letters in the various languages, which could also be accompanied by an abbreviation list and dictionary list for future researchers.
The Royal MS 7 F VII f. 99r has the intriguing title Compotus Fratris Rog?i with the following writing scratched out. This looks as if it could be translated to The Account of Brother Roger Bacon. If so, this may be an example of his alphabetic character style and part of developing a Baconian specific script.
 
Image 11 Compotus Fratris Rog… Title in Royal MS 7 F VII f. 99r
 
4.   The original Oxford Grammar MS that contains the curved hyphen should be reviewed to see if it has similar features (subscripted post break) shown in the Harley Manuscript 3528.
5.   An approach considered for translating the Steele Harley MS Image was to research and catalog all the possible interpretation of the various items. This, however, was not done. A similar approach could be use to for the figurative descriptions by Bacon in the EdS. The following is a partial starting list of what could be various interpretations of the figurative descriptions in the EdS.

The various parts of the EdS on the preparation of the Philosopher’ Egg (Chapters IX, X, and XI of (2, 4, 7, 36), Dee, Tenney, Himes, Maule) seems to the author to be more like descriptions to purify saltpeter. This has been recognized and commented on by others (7). It would seem that getting saltpeter and with sufficiently purity would be the greater secret of gunpowder than necessarily the formulation itself as relatively pure saltpeter is needed and not common[86][87][88]. Chapter XI “De eodem tamen alio modo” (2) or “The Philosophers’ Egg described a Third way” (36) has been interpreted as describing the formula of gunpowder. The goal of this may be in presenting the formula and expected effects so that the purity of saltpeter can be proofed. The passages leading up to this may seem less like figurative references to the components of gunpowder than to the materials needed to manufacture and purify saltpeter. A defining element of Bacon’s intent to hide the purification of saltpeter may best be understood in that saltpeter (salis petrae) and sulphur (Sulphuris) are specifically stated at this point. It would be odd to hide the name of these materials with figurative references in the preceding passages and then so plainly state them. He does seem to use figurative references for the impure saltpeter to hide its sources and does continue to obfuscate the charcoal and its source in the Harley MS as an indication of the importance of this information. 

Assuming the above interpretation has some merit, a collection of speculation comments on some of the translated figurative references may have some interest in advancing an understanding of the passages especially in disassociating them with components of gunpowder.
 a.  Stone of Tagus (Tagi)
This has been interpreted as saltpeter. However, the Tagus river does not flow near northwestern Spain near the "Caves of Salnitre" (Collbató) northwest of Barcelona where significant deposits have been known since Neolithic times (86). Others locations mentioned for saltpeter are “in Aragonia in a certain mountain near the sea" (86) or southeastern Spain (87). All of these are still somewhat removed from the Tagus River.

b.   Bones of Adam

It has been suggested that this represents charcoal. This seems like an odd interpretation, as bones are generally calcium phosphate and carbonate. One interesting note is that a rare form of calcium carbonate (other than calcite and vaterite) does occur near the Tagus River near Molina de Aragon[89]. This form of calcium carbonates is called Aragonite. Molina de Aragaon is estimated from maps to be about 12 miles from the Tagus. Its form is suggestive of a bone like structure and is also the form of calcium carbonate in pearls[90].
 
Image 12 Aragonite Crystals
 
An alternate is that it represents wood ashes or the leaching of potassium from charcoal in purifying crude saltpeter. This interpretation would tie it to the interpretation of Bones of Adam as charcoal. The use of wood ashes in purifying potassium nitrate was reported in 1270 by Hasan al-Rammah (88) and the possibility exists that Bacon was aware of al-Rammah’s writings.

c.   Calx

This is usually metal oxide like that left from heating calcium carbonate (marble –Iberian stone, clam or oyster shells – vapor of Pearl). As such, it would become soft and powdery (a stone that is not a stone). In the translation of Chapter XI (76) “Take then of the bones of Adam [charcoal] and of the Calx [sulfur], the same weight of each; and there are six of the Petral Stone [saltpeter] and five of the Stone of Union.” , is Bacon suggesting 5 parts wood ashes and quicklime/lime in equal parts as the “Stone of Union” mixed with 6 of crude saltpeter [Petral Stone or as Marcus Graecus calls it sal petrosum[91]] as a method of purifying it?
d.   stone which is not a stone

The crude saltpeter is effervescence on stones but dissolves, so it is a stone that is not at stone? In Chapter IX (76) “stone which is not a stone, which is in every man” is tying urine to saltpeter. The contamination of even relatively pure saltpeter can contain sand[92]. Therefore, impure saltpeter is a stone-like material with material that is not a stone.
 
Other interpretations could be considered. Spain, because of its limestone, can be the source of cement which would seem to be a stone that is not a stone until water is added. Bacon also talks about using quicksilver (mercury) in Chapter IX (76) “Then let it be sublimed, if for union ten times, if for redness twenty-one times”. Mercury can be sublimed from cinnabar[93], which is red mercury sulfide. While this appears to be a digression based on the comment “There is another secret”, certainly cinnabar would be a stone that is not a stone when heated as it decomposes to mercury. 

APPENDICES 

Appendix A Image of Part of Harley MS 3528 in Nature by Steele (1)


Appendix B Greek Alphabet Associated with Brewers Translation
 of Opus Tertium, Opus Minus and Compendium Philosophiae (12)

 
Appendix C Medieval and Roger Bacon Numbers
Ordination and Denotation
Image 13 Typical Medieval Numbers[94]

Image 14 is referenced as Bacon’s numbers.
 
Image 14 Roger Bacon’s Number Symbols (13th Century)[95]
 
The symbol for 2 seems atypical of that in the Harley MS and Royal MS and the 4 is missing a more expected descendent left leg commonly seen in the Royal MS. The 3 is typical of the Royal MS but has not been verified in the Harley MS.

NUMBER FORMS
The 2 is distinctly different from those found in Royal MS (8). Those twos are more typical to those shown in f.178v Image 15.
 
Image 15 Royal MS 7 F VIII f. 178v A Single Column Table Entry
20d, 21e, 22f, 23g, 24a, 25b, 26c, 27d, 28c, and 29f

In addition, in Image 15 the 3 is the form typically found in the Royal MS and not similar to the ezhs shown in the Harley MS. Since it is a table and by inference are likely to be numbers, they lack dots surrounding them in contrast to numbers in the text of the MS.
The Royal MS typically shows the number 4 with a descendant left leg and is typified by the ordinate number 4 (superscripted o) in the text and in right margin of Image 16.

Image 16 Royal MS 7 F VIII f. 39v Line 13

The script characters in the MS are relatively consistent but there is a significant difference in the number forms in an astrological table at the end of the MS on page f.189r. In the title, the numbers range from 49 to 60. The forms for 2, 3, and 7 differ from the bulk of the MS so it looks like the work of a different scribe.
 
Image 17 Astrological Table Heading Royal MS 7 F VIII f.189r

ORDINATION DENOTATION
One way to identify a character as a number is if it has been denoted by ordination. It appears that having o above a number indicates the ordination. Another, which seems less identified, is to surround a number by dots to indicate the character is a number and to separate numbers. Below are examples.
In Image 16 above, the small circle above the number 4 and likely above the 6 represents a typical form for ordination of a number. This helps, along with the surrounding of characters by dots, to identify characters forms as possible numbers.
 
Table 7 Number Ordination by o Capping
 

Appendix D Archaic Greek Letters/Numbers: 
Digamma Stigma Koppa Sampi
 

Appendix E Bacon’s Method of Concealing a Secret (16) 
(1) Symbols and incantations (characteres et carmina);
(2) Enigmatic and figurative words;
(3) Consonants only, without vowels;
(4) Letters from different alphabets;
(5) Specially devised letters;
(6) Prearranged geometric figures;
(7) Shorthand (ars notatoria).

 
Appendix F St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 1395, p. 454a
Part of a group of 14 manuscripts from the 5-10th century (17)

  
Appendix G Ezh From the “Royal MS 7 F VIII” (8) 
The initial investigation when the Steele image was obtained focused on the 3 because its form was a highly stylized. It was considered that it might be simply a handwriting variation. The Royal MS, which is reportedly chiefly by Roger Bacon but may represent the writing of least 3 different scribes (8), was review for the ezh [96] form (a flat topped 3). It was assumed that the scribes’ script form would mirror Bacon’s own. If there were any script variation by Bacon incorporating unique or unusual forms, it is assumed he would make sure the scribes transcribed it accurately.

Although ezh seems commonly used in medieval writings for the number 3, it was not commonly found in instances of what were likely numbers (not script text) on various pages throughout the images of the Royal MS. The instances considered numbers were those in a table where the context clearly identified them as number or surround by dots (Appendix C), which seems to be a common but not a necessary or exclusive practice. Even the 3’s in the script, whether they were a number or not, were not flat topped. This is not to say none was found. The ezh found are listed here with the 3 being list in Appendix C.

One ezh was stumble upon on mid last line of the script on page f.49v. This appears to have occurred as a transition from a 6 or G (or s) into a 3 and resulted in a flat top. 
Image 18 Royal MS 7 F VIII f.49v Mid Last Line

Two other instances (f.85r and f.85v) were found as marginal notes and likely not representative of the original writer. The color and/or the weight of the script were different from the text.

Image 19 has 4 characters that appear as a 3. Two are round top and two are flat topped. The one round top 3 in red is surrounded by dots and suspected of being a number. The two flat-topped 3’s appear to represent a possible page number reference. Both are surrounded by dots. The one (.135.) seems to have a five structure uncommon in the text and believed this was added later.
Image 19 Royal MS 7 F VIII f.85r Right Margin Mid Page
 
The second flat-topped 3 (Image 20) is at mid-page on the right margin. It is notable in that the 7 in the 137 is also uncharacteristic of the body of the script again suggesting in it not original to the body of the work.
Image 20 Royal MS 7 F VIII f.85v Right Margin Mid Page
 

DOCUMENT - MARKUP AND TRANSLATION

Images were straight line cut from other documents may contain extraneous marks of other text that surrounded the top, bottom, left and right of the text.

Google translate was used for suggested translations.

Brackets [] are used for three purposes. One is to denote the use of standard characters to represent the script or printed characters. They will be use to reference images or other special symbol characters that could become altered when the document is rendered in another format.

The brackets are also used in endnotes to indicate the page number in the original document (p. # in reference site [p. in original document]) and for author notes.

References to previously cited endnote references are in parentheses (#) and underlined.

References in tables to endnotes are underlined alphabetic letters and refer to a listing of the endnotes at the bottom of the table.

References to numbered or lettered items in the document include the “.” with the text or in parentheses (#.). References to tables, images and appendices in the document include the name of the item referenced.

In the Word document, references to endnotes were superscript, underline and in blue. In conversion to the blog (https://jawchemist.blogspot.com/), references to endnotes are in light blue brackets.

GLOSSARY

.bkds.                 bookended by dots
ccw                    counter clockwise
DOE                   Design of Experiments
EdS                    Epistola de Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae et de Nullitate Magiae
Harley MS          Harley MS 3528
Johannis            Iohannis (John)
LuruVopo           the Steele article in Nature
LURU.VOPO       LURU. VOPO Vir Can Vtriet, the Dee anagram
MS                     manuscript
oc                       ordination capped
Royal MS           Royal MS 7 F VIII 

POSTFACE

I am a degreed chemist. I became interested in chemistry in my pre-teens and decided at that time that chemistry would be my career. The natural course of events was an interested in gunpowder as in the early 1960’s the materials were readily available. It quickly became obvious in attempting to formulate gunpowder that a recipe with the ratio of 1:1:1 was the same as 2:2:2 and work was postponed until some rational approach could be found or developed. Progressing forward, the dispersion of solid in liquids and liquid in liquids became fundamental in my career. The solids in liquid were calcium carbonate (calcite, aragonite, vaterite, and amorphous) in oils for engine oil detergents and rust preventatives. As the type of detergent chemistry (sulfonate) was also used in emulsion chemistry for soluble cutting oils (milky emulsions), this became part of my career. In particular, the science of formulation chemistry for mixtures was paramount in making soluble cutting oils and became the solution to understanding the mixture ratio problem for gunpowder. The invert emulsion technology used for engine oil detergents also became of interest in a project to make invert ammonium nitrate blasting emulsions, which required literature research. It is the confluence of all these items and having books on the subject as part of a personal library that ended up in me being given a book as a gift on “The Chemistry of Powder & Explosives” by Tenney L. Davis. It was here that the criticism of Roger Bacon’s formula for gunpowder based on the Hime’s anagram translation came to my attention. The criticism that Bacon’s formula for gunpowder seemed unfair given it was based on an anagram interpretation with a suspect MS authority. Once the Steele image of the Harley MS was encountered, it was decided to see if my background could be useful in better understanding the formulation as outlined in the Harley MS could bring a little more credence to Bacon’s work. This paper is the result of that interest. Bias is common in interpreting information and often is stated as “For a man with a hammer, everything is a nail.”[97] It is hope that I have not fallen to the criticism of Thorndike (5) about Hime’s “in his eagerness to smell powder everywhere” “Hime misinterprets the text of the ‘De secretis.’” especially with reference to calcium carbonate as the “Bones of Adam”.

ADDENDUM AND ERRATUM

 

REFERENCES – EXTERNAL LINKS AND CITATIONS

Page (folio f.) numbers in the citations will have the form p. ## [##] where the first referred to the site document page number and the bracketed number refers to the page in the original cited document.

[1]  Steele, Robert. “Luru Vopo Vir Can Utriet.”, Nature, vol. 121, no. 3041, 2 Nov. 1928, pp. - [208–209] https://doi.org/10.1038/121208a0, Harley MS 3528 pages not referenced but believed to be ff. 81v-82v, 85r-87v, and/or 104r-107r.

[2]  Dee, J. (Johannis). “Epistola de Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae et de Nullitate Magiae by R. Bacon”. 1618. Hamburg Frobenian Library, pp. 68-70 [68-70], https://books.google.com/books?id=belQAAAAcAAJ&newbks=0&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

[3] 8  New line in image

[4]  Hime, Henry W. L. “Gunpowder and Ammunition Their Origin and Progress”, New York and Bombay, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904, p.157 [157], https://www.gutenberg.org/files/54411/54411-h/54411-h.htm#Page_157 “salis petræ R. VII PART. V NOV. CORUL. V ET sulphuris”, (7, 5, 5)

[5]  Thorndike, Lynn. ”Roger Bacon and Gunpowder” Science, vol. 42, no. 1092, 3 Dec. 1915, p. 2 [799], https://archive.org/details/jstor-1639066/page/n1/mode/1up

[6]  Clement, Adolf, “Sur l’indication de la composition de la poudre à feu chez Roger Bacon” Archivio di storia della scienza, vol. 7, 1926, p. - [34], https://www.brepolsonline.net/doi/epdf/10.1484/J.arch.3.204

[7]  Davis, Tenney L. Roger Bacon’s Letter Concerning the Marvelous Power of Art and of Nature and Concerning the Nullity of Magic translated from Latin by Tenney L. Davis, Ph. D., Easton, Pa. The Chemical Publishing Co. 1923, p. 39 [39], https://books.google.com/books?id=kbCYXJ9gDMgC&newbks=0&printsec=frontcover&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

[8]  London, British Library, Royal MS 7 F VIII, http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Royal_MS_7_F_VIII “Content” “(Lindberg, David C., Roger Bacon's Philosophy of Nature (1983), pp. 1xxv-lxxvi)”

[9]  Ray, Alison. “British Library manuscripts in Glass exhibition at the Musée de Cluny”, Medieval manuscript blog, 13 Dec. 2017, https://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2017/12/page/2/

[10] Buchanan, Brenda J., “Charcoal: The Largest Single Variable in the Performance of Black Powder”, Icon, vol. 14, 2008, pp. – [3-29], https://www.jstor.org/stable/23787159

[11] Nolan , Edmond, and Samuel Abraham Hirsch, The Greek Grammar of Roger Bacon and a fragment of his Hebrew Grammar, Cambridge, The University Press, 1902, p. 7 of 212 in fragment 2 [7], https://archive.org/details/cu31924021600790/page/7/mode/1up. Online there are 3 inconsistent numbered fragments: 1-83 of 296, 4-212 of 212 and 293-296 of 296. However, these pages run from 1 to 296 as in the 296 pages in the downloaded https://ia600200.us.archive.org/24/items/cu31924021600790/cu31924021600790.pdf . p.87 [7]

[12] Brewer, J. S. Fr. Rogeri Bacon Opera quaedam Hactenus Inedita. Vol. I., Containing I. – Opus Tertium., II. – Opus Minus., III. – Compendium Philophiae. London, Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts, 1859, p. 646 [no Vol I page], https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=wMUKAAAAYAAJ&pg=GBS.PA576,https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=wMUKAAAAYAAJ&pg=GBS.PP1

[13] Petersen, J. K. “Palaeography – Double-c Revisited”, The Voynich Portal, https://voynichportal.com/tag/medieval-ordinal-numbers/. Although the link indicates ordinal numbers it contains information about final-ess and surrounding numbers/characters with dots.

[14] “Digamma”, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Jun. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digamma

[15] Lahanas, Michael. “Greek Numbers” Hellenicaworld, http://www.hellenicaworld.com/Greece/Science/en/Counting.html

[16] Hime, Henry W. L. “Gunpowder and Ammunition Their Origin and Progress”, New York and Bombay, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904, p. 143 (4) [143], https://www.gutenberg.org/files/54411/54411-h/54411-h.htm#Page_143

[17] Hawk, Brandow W. “A Greco-Latin Numerical List in a St. Gall Fragment”, Faculty Publications,425, 2019, p. 5 [31] Rhode Island College, Digital Commons @ RIC https://digitalcommons.ric.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1427&context=facultypublications

[18] Harper, Douglas. “seacoal (n.)”, Online Etymology Dictionary, 9 Mar. 2022,  https://www.etymonline.com/word/seacoal

[19] “Charcoal.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/charcoal . Accessed 23 Sep. 2022

[20] “The High Middle Ages (1066 to 1347)”, The Rise of Coal in Britain, https://riseofcoalinbritain.wordpress.com/the-high-middle-ages-1066-to-1347/

[21] Marcos, Juan-José. “Fonts for Latin Paleography”, Latin_ Paleography.pdf, 3rd ed., Feb. 2011, p. 11 [11], https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B13r6gLPCFixMW95V1B6WE1qcms/edit?resourcekey=0-6LaqNv3G-DJtnxuCAq1CIQ, “Paleographic Fonts for Latin Script”, ver. 4.00, http://guindo.pntic.mec.es/~jmag0042/palefont.html

[22] Harper, Douglas. “anthrax (n.)”, Online Etymology Dictionary, 23 Sep. 2022, https://www.etymonline.com/word/anthrax?ref=etymonline_crossreference

[23] “Anthrax”, GreenFacts, https://www.greenfacts.org/glossary/abc/anthrax.htm, Anthrax has coal black sores and gets its name from the Greek word meaning coal.

[24] “xylanthrax “, WordSense Online Dictionary,23 Sep. 2022 , https://www.wordsense.eu/xylanthrax/

[25] Nolan , Edmond, and Hirsch, S. A. The Greek Grammar of Roger Bacon and a fragment of his Hebrew Grammar, Cambridge, The University Press, 1902, p. 14 of 212, fragment 2 [14], https://archive.org/details/cu31924021600790/mode/2up. Online there are 3 inconsistent numbered fragments: 1-83 of 296, 4-212 of 212 and 293-296 of 296. However, these pages run from 1 to 296 as in the 296 pages in the downloaded https://ia600200.us.archive.org/24/items/cu31924021600790/cu31924021600790.pdf . p. 94 [14]

[26] Wkbj79 (1863), “Greek alphabet”, PlanetMath, University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics, 22 Mar. 2013, https://planetmath.org/greekalphabet

[27] “Greek alphabet”, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Sep. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_alphabet

[28] “Medieval Latin Abbreviations Commonly Used in Early Printed Works”, Bartholomew’s World, The Medieval Thought Project, Stanford University, http://cgi.stanford.edu/group/rufus-project/cgi-bin/abbreviations.php

[29] Marcos, Juan-José. “Fonts for Latin Paleography”, Latin_ Paleography.pdf, 3rd ed., Feb. 2011, p. 65 [65], https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B13r6gLPCFixMW95V1B6WE1qcms/edit?resourcekey=0-6LaqNv3G-DJtnxuCAq1CIQ, “Paleographic Fonts for Latin Script”, ver. 4.00, http://guindo.pntic.mec.es/~jmag0042/palefont.html

[30] Davis, Tenney L. Roger Bacon’s Letter Concerning the Marvelous Power of Art and of Nature and Concerning the Nullity of Magic, , Easton, Pa. The Chemical Publishing Co. 1923, p. 64 [64] https://books.google.com/books?id=kbCYXJ9gDMgC&newbks=0&printsec=frontcover&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

[31] Marcos, Juan-José. “Fonts for Latin Paleography”, Latin_ Paleography.pdf, 3rd ed., Feb. 2011, p. 41 [41], https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B13r6gLPCFixMW95V1B6WE1qcms/edit?resourcekey=0-6LaqNv3G-DJtnxuCAq1CIQ, “Paleographic Fonts for Latin Script”, ver. 4.00, http://guindo.pntic.mec.es/~jmag0042/palefont.html

[32] Marcos, Juan-José. “Fonts for Latin Paleography”, Latin_ Paleography.pdf, 3rd ed., Feb. 2011, p. 18 [18], https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B13r6gLPCFixMW95V1B6WE1qcms/edit?resourcekey=0-6LaqNv3G-DJtnxuCAq1CIQ, “Paleographic Fonts for Latin Script”, ver. 4.00, http://guindo.pntic.mec.es/~jmag0042/palefont.html

[33] “Uncial / Half-Uncial (Historical Background and How to)”, Dartmouth Ancient Books Lab, Dartmouth, 25 May 2016, https://sites.dartmouth.edu/ancientbooks/2016/05/25/uncial-half-uncial/

[34] “Non-syllabified post word break hyphenation” indicates the hyphenation mark is placed after the word break as part of remaining word characters and as such appears on the next line. It does not have to occur at a syllabication break of the word. This is an alternate to the current usage of a hyphenation mark associated with the end of the syllabified section of the word before the break and remains on the initial line.

[35] Reimer, Stephen R. “IV.vii. Paleography: Punctuation”, Manuscript Studies Medieval and Early Modern, University of Alberta, 3 Nov. 2017, Edmonton, Canada, https://sites.ualberta.ca/~sreimer/ms-course/course/punc.htm

[36] Maule, Thomas. “A Letter Sent by Frier Roger Bacon to William of Paris, Concerning both The Secret Operation of Nature & Art, as also The Nullity of Magick”, Frier Bacon his discovery of the miracles of art, nature, and magick faithfully translated out of Dr. Dees own copy by T.M. and never before in English, London, The Starre in St Pauls Church-yard, 1659, Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership,  p. 39, https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A28798.0001.001/1:6.8?rgn=div2;view=fulltext, accessed 24 Sep. 2022, http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A28798.0001.001

[37] Nolan , Edmond, and Samuel Abraham Hirsch, The Greek Grammar of Roger Bacon and a fragment of his Hebrew Grammar, Cambridge, The University Press, 1902, p. 11 of 212 in fragment 2 [11], https://archive.org/details/cu31924021600790/page/7/mode/1up. Online there are 3 inconsistent numbered fragments: 1-83 of 296, 4-212 of 212 and 293-296 of 296. However, these pages run from 1 to 296 as in the 296 pages in the downloaded https://ia600200.us.archive.org/24/items/cu31924021600790/cu31924021600790.pdf . p. 91 (PARS I. DIST. I. CAP. 4.) [11]

[38] Nolan , Edmond, and Samuel Abraham Hirsch, The Greek Grammar of Roger Bacon and a fragment of his Hebrew Grammar, Cambridge, The University Press, 1902, p. 17 of 296 in fragment 1 [xii (not numbered) ], https://archive.org/details/cu31924021600790/page/n16/mode/1up. Online there are 3 inconsistent numbered fragments: 1-83 of 296, 4-212 of 212 and 293-296 of 296. However, these pages run from 1 to 296 as in the 296 pages in the downloaded https://ia600200.us.archive.org/24/items/cu31924021600790/cu31924021600790.pdf . p. 17 (Introduction I. Authorship of the Oxford Grammar, p. xiii) [17]

[39] Marcos, Juan-José. “Fonts for Latin Paleography”, Latin_ Paleography.pdf, 3rd ed., Feb. 2011, p. 47 [47], https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B13r6gLPCFixMW95V1B6WE1qcms/edit?resourcekey=0-6LaqNv3G-DJtnxuCAq1CIQ, “Paleographic Fonts for Latin Script”, ver. 4.00, http://guindo.pntic.mec.es/~jmag0042/palefont.html

[40] Heimann, David and Richard Kay. The Elements of Abbreviation in Medieval Latin Paleography by Adriano Cappelli, Lawrence, University of Kansas, 1982,  p. 30 section 4.29 [22], https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/1821/47cappelli.pdf

[41] “Roman numerals”, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Sep. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals

[42] “Occam’s razor”, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Aug. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor Notability traceable to the works of earlier philosophers in particular to Robert Grosseteste (1175–1253), of whom Roger Bacon was a student.

[43] McIntosh, Mathew A., “A History of Gunpowder”, Breminate, 27 Oct. 2018, https://brewminate.com/a-history-of-gunpowder/

[44] Davis, Tenney Lombard. Chemistry of Powder & Explosives, Complete in One Volume, New York/NewYork, John Wiley and Sons/John Wiley and Sons, 1941/1943, https://archive.org/details/Chemistry_of_Powder_Explosives_Volume_I_1941_By_Tenney_L_Davis

[45] Hime, Henry W. L. “Gunpowder and Ammunition Their Origin and Progress”, New York and Bombay, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904, p. 197 [197], https://www.gutenberg.org/files/54411/54411-h/54411-h.htm#Page_197, Table VII English Gunpowder

[46] Hime, Henry W. L. “Gunpowder and Ammunition Their Origin and Progress”, New York and Bombay, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904, p. 198 [198], https://www.gutenberg.org/files/54411/54411-h/54411-h.htm#Page_198 Table VIII Foreign Gunpowder

[47] Davis, Tenney L. Roger Bacon’s Letter Concerning the Marvelous Power of Art and of Nature and Concerning the Nullity of Magic translated from Latin by Tenney L. Davis, Ph. D., Easton, Pa. The Chemical Publishing Co. 1923, p. 70 [70], https://books.google.com/books?id=kbCYXJ9gDMgC&newbks=0&printsec=frontcover&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

[48] Bretscher, Ulrich. “Homemade black powder”, Ulrich Bretscher's Black Powder Page, 29 Jun. 2010, http://soggybiscuits.icu/homemade_bp.html, Section 3. “Two useful recipes.”

[49] McLean, R. A., and V. L. Anderson. “Extreme Vertices Design of Mixture Experiments.” Technometrics, vol. 8, no. 3, 1966, pp. 447–54. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/1266691. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1266691, (typifies mixture design of experiments DOE)

[50] Hime, Henry W. L. “Gunpowder and Ammunition Their Origin and Progress”, New York and Bombay, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904, p. 146 [146], https://www.gutenberg.org/files/54411/54411-h/54411-h.htm#Page_197https://www.gutenberg.org/files/54411/54411-h/54411-h.htm#Page_146

[51] Davis, Tenney L. Roger Bacon’s Letter Concerning the Marvelous Power of Art and of Nature and Concerning the Nullity of Magic translated from Latin by Tenney L. Davis, Ph. D., Easton, Pa. The Chemical Publishing Co. 1923, p.65 section 23 [65], https://books.google.com/books?id=kbCYXJ9gDMgC&newbks=0&printsec=frontcover&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

[52] Maule, Thomas. “A Letter Sent by Frier Roger Bacon to William of Paris, Concerning both The Secret Operation of Nature & Art, as also The Nullity of Magick”, Frier Bacon his discovery of the miracles of art, nature, and magick faithfully translated out of Dr. Dees own copy by T.M. and never before in English, London, The Starre in St Pauls Church-yard, 1659, Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership,  p. 50, https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A28798.0001.001/1:6.11?rgn=div2;view=fulltext, accessed 25 Sep. 2022, http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A28798.0001.001

[53] Heimann, David and Richard Kay. The Elements of Abbreviation in Medieval Latin Paleograph by Adriano Cappelli, Lawrence, University of Kansas, 1982,  p. 29 [21 section 4.25, 4.26], https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/1821/47cappelli.pdf

[54] “ß”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 2 Aug. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9F

[55] “The Eszett letter in German”, GermanVeryEasy.com, 2008-2022 v9, https://www.germanveryeasy.com/eszett

[56] “Apothecaries' symbols commonly found in medical recipes”, Text Creation Partnership, University of Michigan Library (Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, ProQuest, and the Council on Library and Information Resources), https://textcreationpartnership.org/docs/dox/medical.html

[57] “password”, Glosbe, https://glosbe.com/en/la/password

[58] “What is “password” in classical Latin?”, Latin Language, StackExchange, 25 Jul. 2019, https://latin.stackexchange.com/questions/11190/what-is-password-in-classical-latin, But in military contexts, a nightly password was usually written on a little piece of material (tessera). So by metonymy, the password could be called a tessera too, as in Frontinus:
Bello civili, cum Ategua urbs in Hispania Pompeianarum partium obsideretur, Maurus inter noctem tamquam Caesarianus tribuni cornicularius vigiles quosdam excitavit; ex quibus cum tesseram accepisset, alios excitans constantia fallaciae suae per medias Caesaris copias praesidium Pompei transduxit.
During the Civil War, when the city of Ategua in Spain (belonging to the Pompeians) was under seige, in the middle of the night, a certain Moor, [pretending to be] a tribute's adjutant, woke up some of the sentries, and after he had acquired the password from them [by pretending to check if they knew it], he woke up others, and by continuing this deceit, he managed to bring reinforcements for Pompey right through the middle of Caesar's troops.

[59] “Counter (typography)”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 16 Jun. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter_(typography)

[61] Hime, Henry W. L. “Gunpowder and Ammunition Their Origin and Progress”, New York and Bombay, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904, p. 156 [156], https://www.gutenberg.org/files/54411/54411-h/54411-h.htm#Page_156 This is the full translation by Himes (p. 156) with his parenthetical additions. “Let the total weight (of the ingredients) be 30. However, of saltpetre ... of sulphur; and with such a mixture you will produce a bright flash and a thundering noise, if you know ‘the trick.’ You may find (by actual experiment) whether I am writing riddles to you or the plain truth.”

[62] “Saltpeter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/saltpeter, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022

[63] Zupko, Ronald Edward. “Medieval Apothecary Weights and Measures: The Principal Units of England and France.” Pharmacy in History, vol. 32, no. 2, p. 60, University of Wisconsin Press, 1990, JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/41111300, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022

[64] Zupko, Ronald Edward. A Dictionary of Weights and Measures for the British Isles: The Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century, Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1985, https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_0l_k-XMIiQIC/page/115/mode/1up pp. 113-116

[65] “Greek drachma”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 21 Sep. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_drachma

[66] “Parchment”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 5 Oct. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parchment

[67] Stillman, John Maxson. The Story Of Early Chemistry, New York/London, D. Appleton and Company, 1924, https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.179875/page/n217/mode/1up p.218[199]

[68] “Parchment paper”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Source, 19 Jun. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parchment_paper

[70] Burke, Robert Belle. “The Opus Majus of Roger Bacon, Volume II 2”, New York, Russell & Russell, 1968, https://archive.org/details/opusmajusofroger002065mbp/page/n230/mode/1up, pp. 230-231 [Vol. 2 pp. 629-630]

[71] Bretscher, Ulrich. “Homemade black powder”, Ulrich Bretscher's Black Powder Page, 29 Jun. 2010, http://soggybiscuits.icu/homemade_bp.html, Section 8, video “Combustion of three samples of black powder”

[72] “Roger Bacon”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 14 Sep. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Bacon

[73] “Gunpowder”, 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gunpowder, Wikisource, 18 Dec. 2019, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Gunpowder vol. 12

[74] Little, Andrew George. Roger Bacon Essays, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1914, https://archive.org/details/rogerbaconessays00litt/page/321/mode/1up , Chap. XII, Roger Bacon and Gunpowder by Lieut.-Colonel H. W. L. Hime, p. 321 [321]

[75] “Epistola de Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae, et de Nullitate Magiae”, Alasnome, http://alasnome.com/timeline/noun/1553

[76] Becker, Barbara J. “Week 3. Structuring Lives, excerpts from The Letter of Roger Bacon Concerning the Marvelous Power of Art and of Nature and Concerning the Nullity of Magic (1252)”, History 135E, University of California, Irvine, http://faculty.humanities.uci.edu/bjbecker/spinningweb/week3a.html

[77] Hackett, Jeremiah. “Roger Bacon”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philospphy,15 Apr. 2020, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/roger-bacon/

[78] Antolic-Piper, Pia. “Roger Bacon (1214–1292)”, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, James Madison University, ISSN 2161-0002, https://iep.utm.edu/roger-bacon/#:~:text=The%20works%20for%20which%20Bacon,Opus%20Minus%2C%20and%20Opus%20Tertium Accessed 26 Sep. 2022, Section 1.b.ii

[79] Truitt, Elly. “The Circulation of Invention: Roger Bacon’s Theory of Technology in Early Modern Europe”, Max-Planck Institute for the History of Science, https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/research/projects/circulation-invention-roger-bacon%E2%80%99s-theory-technology-early-modern#:~:text=Bacon%20later%20amplified%20his%20explanation,1270s). Accessed 26 Sep. 2022, Project (2106-2017)

[80] Antolic-Piper, Pia. “Roger Bacon (1214–1292)”, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, James Madison University, ISSN 2161-0002, https://iep.utm.edu/roger-bacon/#SH7b Accessed 26 Sep. 2022, Section 7.b.ii

[81] Antolic-Piper, Pia. “Roger Bacon (1214–1292)”, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, James Madison University, ISSN 2161-0002, https://iep.utm.edu/roger-bacon/#SH7b Accessed 26 Sep. 2022, Section 7.b.iii

[82] ”Pope Clement IV”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 21 Aug. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Clement_IV

[83] Lewis, Charlton R. “tamen”, An Elementary Latin Dictionary, Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc= Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0060%3Aentry%3Dtamen&highlight=tamen Accessed 26 Sep. 2022

[84] “artificium”, Wiktionary, Wikipedia Foundation, 5 Jul. 2022, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/artificium

[85] “tamen”, , Wiktionary, Wikipedia Foundation, 3 Jul. 2022, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tamen

[86] “Saltpetre works”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 9 Jun. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saltpetre_works

[87] Niermeier-Dohoney, J. ““Rusticall chymistry”: Alchemy, saltpeter projects, and experimental fertilizers in seventeenth-century English agriculture”, History of Science, 0(0), (2021), p. 7 https://doi.org/10.1177/00732753211033159 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00732753211033159

[88] “Potassium nitrate”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 25 Sept. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate

[89] “Aragonite”, mindat.org, https://www.mindat.org/min-307.html

[90] “Pearl”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 6 Oct. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl

[91] Stillman, John Maxon. The Story Of Early Chemistry, New York/London, D. Appleton and Company, 1924, https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.179875/page/n215/mode/1up p. 216 [198]

[92] Bretscher, Ulrich. “Homemade black powder”, Ulrich Bretscher's Black Powder Page, 15 Feb. 2010, http://soggybiscuits.icu/saltpeter.html

[93] “Cinnabar”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 25 Sep. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnabar

[94] Rattibha, “[THREAD]”, https://rattibha.com/thread/1440904557505044481, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022

[96] “Ezh”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 23 Jul. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezh

[97] “Law of the instrument”, Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation, 12 Jul. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_instrument

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