Nicolas Barnaud

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Nicolas Barnaud[1] (1538–1604) was a French Protestant writer, physician and alchemist, from Crest, in Dauphiné, from which he took the name Delphinas (or Delphinus). He was a member of the Monarchomaques.

He is associated with a number of mysteries. His 1597 collection Commentariolum in Aenigmaticum quoddam Epitaphium,[2][3] on the Aelia Laelia Crispis puzzle inscription, included the alchemical Mass of Nicholas Melchior, still of disputed authorship. The 1599 Triga chemica: de lapide philosophico tractatus tres[4] was the first publication of the Book of Lamspring, by the unknown Abraham Lambspring.

Other works are the collection Quadriga aurifera[5] of 1599, and De Occulta philosophia (1601).

Barnaud traveled widely around the turn of the seventeenth century. This has led to suggestions that he was setting up some sort of hermetic network, on the fabled lines of the Rosicrucians.[6]

He is supposed to have lodged with Tadeáš Hájek, during a stay in Prague in the 1580s or 1590s, meeting Anselmus de Boodt. He has been unreliably connected with accounts of John Dee and Edward Kelley in Prague.

Earlier in life he played an itinerant role as a Calvinist activist, in Geneva and Holland. Pamphleteering works of politics and satire Le reveille-matin des François et de leurs voisins,[7] and the Le Cabinet du roy de France[8] and Le miroir des Francois of 1581,under the name Nicolas de Montand or Montant, are often attributed to him.


  1. ^ Nicolaus Barnaud, Nicolaus Barnaudus, Nicolas de Crest, Nicholas Barnaud.
  2. ^ Online scans, original
  3. ^ Online scans from the Theatrum Chemicum.
  4. ^ online scans.
  5. ^ Online scan.
  6. ^ This idea was put about by Johann Salomon Semler in the late eighteenth century. Arthur Edward Waite, The Pictorial Symbols of Alchemy (PDF), would have it that Barnaud was looking for Rosicrucians.
  7. ^ A radical Huguenot work, issued 1574 under the pseudonym Eusèbe Philadelphe Cosmopolite, cf.[1]. [2] suggests it was by Barnaud and Theodore Beza, following J. H. M. Salmon, The French Religious Wars in English Political Thought. Harold Laski identifies La Boétie as contributing, reckoning Barnaud as possibly the compiler [3].
  8. ^ Also attributed to Nicolas Froumenteau.