The Secret History of the Rosicrucians – 9. Andreae’s Two Journeys

At a four-hundred-year historical remove, such a hypothesis would normally stand no real chance at all of being testable. However, Andreae was not only a dramatist and a bibliophile, but also a prolific writer who made notes constantly: so we are helped significantly in this by the Latin account he left behind of his life and his travels. There is a scan of a later (printed) edition downloadable here:-

It describes two journeys Andreae took not long before 1611, the time-frame of particular interest to us:

(1) In 1607, having been dismissed from university following a misjudged prank, he travelled to Strasbourg (some 90 kilometres west of Tübingen). Strasbourg was a town with a famous printing history, and was to be where the first (German) edition of Andreae’s book “The Chymical Wedding” would be printed in 1616. From there he went (without much doubt northwards up the Rhine) to Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Mainz, before looping back down to Lauingen (near Augsburg) and back to Tübingen.

(2) From 1608-1610, he was employed as a personal tutor to two young Tübingen noblemen. As such, when plague (I believe) hit Tübingen in 1610, he and his two students hiked south to Ulm, Biberach an der Riß, Constance, Schaffhausen, Berne, Fribourg (in Switzerland), Lausanne, and then Lake Geneva, before returning via Lyons, Paris, Zurich and Basel.

Switzerland had numerous monastic libraries that were dissolved during the Swiss Protestant Revolution, leading to many rare items being sold by book-dealers. I once read a story online about how a book from the chained library in Schaffhausen’s Franciscan monastery was found in someone’s house (and then quickly sold) in the 1590s. However, the same strewing of books happened in Constance and elsewhere.

As a dedicated bibliophile (his own library contained 3000 books, while his friend Christoph Besold’s library contained 6000 books), Andreae’s first call in any given town would almost certainly have been the local book-dealer. This is also the same route that many books ‘liberated’ from monastic libraries took to reach an Emperor.

Of course, the evidence to prove 100% that Andreae saw the Voynich simply isn’t there. But what I think the preceding does prove is that there is a good chance that the man and the book came very close to each other as they each crossed Switzerland.

The Secret History of the Rosicrucians (c) 2012, 2015 Nick Pelling.
1. Introduction
2. The Three Texts
3. Dating The Fama And The Confessio
4. The Fama’s First Draft
5. So… What Was The Point Of It All?
6. ‘Book M’
7. Another Mysterious Manuscript
8. Stories From The Margins
9. Andreae’s Two Journeys
10. The Limits Of Evidence