"Bornonico" & "Perte": Latin words?

By JDP, in 'Latin to English Translation', Feb 23, 2019.

  1. JDP New Member


    I have a question about a couple of words I encountered in the notebooks of the 17th century Danish polymath, Olaus Borrichius.

    The first one is "bornonico", which also occurs in the text as "pseudobornonico" (this would obviously just mean that it is a "false bornonico".) It sounds like either a Latin word, or maybe a Latinized word. But so far I can't find any such word in any Latin sources. In order to give an idea of the context in which this words appears, let me copy a couple of the lines where it appears:

    "Probatum: 1. Rx Mercurium solve in oleo Bornonico noto, hinc sublima, obtinebis flores partim argenteos, partim quasi aureos etc."

    "Aqua fortis spiritu pseudobornonico impraegnata solvat et foveat Lunam etc."

    As can be readily seen from the "chymical" context in which the terms appear, "bornonico" and "pseudobornonico" are obviously two substances: one is an "oil", the other one a volatile substance ("spirit") Perhaps Borrichius is using "decknamen" (i.e. cover-names) here, but even if that is the case, this word might have a Latin root. Anyone around here have any idea what could this "bornonico" word be referring to? And even if it is not an actual bona fide Latin term but a purely made up cover-name, if it has some Latin root that actually means or refers to something?

    The other word I could not find confirmation for is "perte". Let me copy the line where it appears:

    "...in talis aquae fortis libra j solve libram unam de perte commun (an saponis) etc."

    As can be seen from the context, this is another substance, and from Borrichius' own clarificatory "an saponis" remark between parentheses, it would seem like this "perte commun" is just common soap. But when I tried to further confirm this by looking for "perte" or "perte commun" in other sources, I could not find any instances. Has anyone ever encountered this word before in any Latin text? If so, did the context confirm that it is indeed referring to soap?
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris

    I'm not familiar with those words.

    Bornonico sounds like it could be an adjective of origin, meaning something like "of (a place called) bornsomething". I suppose it could also mean "of" a certain fruit, though... I've Googled a bit but found nothing conclusive, unfortunately. I wonder if it could have something to do with the Bourbons, with some othographical variant/corruption of b to n (Borbonicus to Bornonicus)...

    It loooks like perte commun may be French. I suspected this because commun isn't a Latin word; in Latin it would have have been communi. The missing i could have been an error, of course, but still the French possibility seemed worth keeping in mind. I found this version of your text, which confirmed it isn't Latin: perte commun is italicized as is often done with foreign words, and a few words later you find la perte, also italicized, and using the French definite article la. I'm not 100% sure it's French, though. I suppose it could be some other similar language. Since la is the feminine definite article and a feminine Latin participle is also used to refer to the perte, one would expect the feminine form of the adjective commun to be used earlier, commune. Commun is the masculine form, nowadays at least. I suppose the spelling might have been different back then. I've no idea what perte is. There is a common French word perte, but it means "loss", nothing to do with soap or any substance whatsoever or anything that would make sense here as far as I know, so this must be a different perte, unless it's a specific technical usage of the same.
    Last edited by Pacifica, Feb 24, 2019
  3. JDP New Member

    I also entertained such theories, but I could not make much sense about what could the Bourbons have to do with two substances. Another thing which crossed my mind was "Borneum" (Borneo), perhaps referring to a substance with origins there.

    The possibility of being a French word did occur to me, but, as your own comments imply, I hit a dead-end fast, as all I could find regarding "perte" in French seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with soap. Borrichius is very clear that the word refers to soap, but I could not find any connection of this term of possible French origin to soap anywhere else except in his notebooks.
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    What are those recipes for?
  5. Mafalda Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Could it be something to do with borax?
  6. JDP New Member

    Very unlikely.

    Gold-making... my favorite topic. Apparently also Borrichius'. More than half of the content of his personal notebooks is in fact devoted to the subject of "chymical" processes for making silver & gold. Wherever he went he would contact others also engaged in the same topic and exchanged information with them.

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