Villanova, Arnold de

Arnold de Villanova, (ca. 1245–ca. 1310) was a theologian, physician, and alchemist. The dates of birth and death and the place of birth of Arnold Villanova (also Arnold de Villaneuve) are uncertain.

Villanova studied medicine for 20 years in Paris, after which he spent 10 years traveling around Italy visiting different universities. He served Frederick, king of Naples and Sicily, and was the physician to Pope Clement V.

As was common during the times, Villanova was accused of magical wizardy and learning all of his knowledge about Alchemy from Demons. He was careful of the Inquisition. On a trip to Spain he learned that a friend of his was being held by inquisitors, and he discreetly left the country.

Villanova was said by one of his contemporaries, John André, to have transmuted base metals into GOLD, which Villanova “submitted to all proofs.”

Villanova’s alchemical works were published in 1509 in a single volume, Libellus de Somniorum Interpretatione et Somnia Danielis. His most important treatises are Rosario Philosophorum, Thesaurus Thesaursorum, Speculum Alchemiae, and Perfectum Magisterium. Also significant are Scientia Scientiae and Testamentum.

Villanova said that argent vive (living MERCURY) exists in all things and is the medicine of all metals. Vulgar SULPHUR causes impurities in metals. He discusses all stages of the GREAT WORK. The Philosopher's Stone, he said, must be dissolved in its own mercury to reduce it to its Prima Materia.

Among the spurious magical works attributed to Villanova is De Sigillis duodecim Signorum about the signs of the zodiac.

According to lore, Villanova died in 1314 during a storm. However, a letter written by Pope Clement V in 1311 asks for Villanova’s “Treatise on Medicine,” which he had promised to deliver to the pope but died before doing so.



  • Waite, Arthur Edward. Alchemists through the Ages. Blauvelt, N.Y.: Rudolph Steiner Publications, 1970.


The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy Written byRosemary Ellen Guiley Copyright © 2006 by Visionary Living, Inc.


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