Crater Hermetis

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1 Introduction

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Title from the 1582 edition (off-site link)

2 Translation

The Mixing Bowl of Hermes

A dialogue by Ludovicus Lazarellus

In which the author himself and Ferdinand of Aragon, the king of both Sicilies, converse.

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He who in Hermes’ mind was Pimander, condescended to dwell in me as Christ JESUS, the eternal consoler.

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Then, the KING: […]

LAZ: […]

Then, the KING: So, do you claim that one should believe the Delphic Apollo?

LAZ: Not always, but when he expresses things consonant with the truth. For he proclaimed many true things in his oracles. You will ascertain that it is so if you go through Porphyry’s Philosophy of the Oracles. But, to set aside the rest, we adduce here what the oracle expresses about the happy life (vita beata). […]

KING: So it seems. But tell me, please, whether the Egyptians tasted something of the truth.

LAZ: Not only did they taste, but they nearly gorged themselves. And setting aside the rest, what shall we say about Hermes? He investigated the whole narrow path of wisdom, and left to posterity monuments of true wisdom, admittedly laconic in expression, but vast in their ideas, from where, as some conjecture, wisdom passed to the Hebrews. For they believe that Moses, a Hebrew, and born in Egypt, transferred it from Egypt to the Hebrews through the Pentateuch; and we read in the Acts of the Apostles that he was highly erudute in the learning of all Egyptians.

KING: You are a Hermetic, as it seems, o Lazarellus, and praise him as exorbitantly as if none were wiser than him.

LAZ: I am a Christian, o my king, and not ashamed to be a Hermetic at the same time. For once you have considered his precepts, you will be able to confirm that they are not averse to the Christian doctrine. He is the one, o most excellent king, whom the ancient poets have called the son of Maia, the interpreter of the gods, the god of eloquence, the inventor of the lyre, and appointed over many offices. All ancient theology traced its origin from him. For, to say nothing about the very many books of his that have been lost, what can be found that is more divine than those books which we have in hand, in which he treats about the Trinity of God so consummately that, if anyone understands him, they are delighted to have found the truth? Therefore I wish to call our dialogue Hermetis Crater. For whatever we shall trace out here about true felicity, we will draw both from the Evangelic doctrine and from the precepts of Hermes.

KING: […]