Alchemical and astrological symbols used by John Ward in V.a.287 and V.a.291

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V.a.287 and V.a.291 are diaries kept by John Ward, vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon from 1662 to 1681 and a medical physician. V.a.287 was used at several times: Oxford in September 1658 (fol. 1r-9v) and Stratford from February to October 1665 (fol. 10r-67v), spring and summer of 1666 (fol. 68r-ca. 100), and from 1668 to 1671 (ca. fol. 100-150v). V.a.291 was kept at Oxford and London from January 1660/61 to 14 February 1661/62. A note on back inside cover states that the book was finished at his "chambers in the Bell in Aldersgate street." For more information on Ward, see John Ward's Latin and A Semi-Diplomatic Transcription of Selections from the John Ward Diaries.

This list was compiled by Dr. Robert Tallaksen, a reader and transcriber at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Alchemical and astrological symbols

The following symbols appear on leaf one recto and verso of V.a.287 and leaf 164 recto and verso of V.a.291. Those symbols that appear only in V.a.291 are so indicated in the "Notes" column.

Name Image Symbol Hex codepoint HTML English equivalent Notes
Acetum Acetum287.PNG Acetum291.PNG 🜊 U+1F70A 🜊 vinegar
Acetum distillatum AcetumDist287.PNG AcetumDist291.PNG 🜋 U+1F70B 🜋 distilled vinegar
Aer Aer287.PNG Aer291.PNG 🜁 U+1F701 🜁 air
Alembicus Alembicus287.PNG Alembicus291.PNG 🝪 U+1F76A 🝪 alembic
Alumen Alumen287.PNG Alumen291.PNG none none alum JW's symbol differs from the Schröder's symbol for alumen: 🝅
Amphora/ Amphoræ Amphora287.PNG Amphora291.PNG U+2652 ♒ Aquarius (astrological)
Amalgama Amalgama287.PNG Amalgama291.PNG 🝛 U+1F75B 🝛 amalgam, usu. mixture of gold or silver w/mercury
Ana Ana287.PNG Ana291.PNG a; an none none of each very common
Antimonium Antimony287.PNG Antimony291.PNG U+2641 ♁ antimony; also used for earth
Aqua Aqua287.PNG Aqua291.PNG 🜄 U+1F704 🜄 water
Aqua fortis AquaF287.PNG AquaF291.PNG 🜅 U+1F705 🜅 nitric acid
Aqua regia (or stygia) AquaR287.PNG AquaR291.PNG 🜆 U+1F706 🜆 mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids
Arcitenens Sag287.PNG Sag291.PNG U+2560 ♐ Sagittarius (astrological)
Arena Sand287.PNG Sand291.PNG none none sand JW's symbol; not yet documented elsewhere
Argentum Silver287.PNG Silver291.PNG U+263E ☾ silver; also used for last quarter moon
Argentum vivum ArgV287.PNG ArgV291.PNG U+263F ☿ mercury (liquid); quicksilver
Aries Aries291.PNG U+2648 ♈ Ram (astrological) 291 only
Arsenicum Arsenic287.PNG Arsenic291.PNG 🜺 U+1F73A 🜺 arsenic
Auripigmentum ArsenicT287.PNG ArsenicT291.PNG 🜽 U+1F73D 🜽 auripigment; AKA orpiment, arsenic trisulfide
Aurum Aurum287.PNG Aurum291.PNG U+2609 ☉ gold; also used for the Sun
Balneum Bath287.PNG Bath291.PNG B none none a bath
Balneum Mariæ BM287.PNG BM291.PNG 🝫 U+1F76B 🝫 bain-marie
Balneum vaporis BV287.PNG BV291.PNG 🝬 U+1F76C 🝬 steam bath, bath of vapors
Calx Calx287.PNG Calx291.PNG 🝌 U+1F74C 🝌 chalk, calcium oxide
Calx viva CalxV287.PNG CalxV291.PNG 🝁 U+1F741 🝁 quicklime
Cancer Cancer287.PNG Cancer291.PNG U+264B ♋ crab (Cancer: astrological); may also be seen rotated 90°, resembling "69" as in oculi cancri
Caper Caper291.PNG U+2651 ♑ goat; Capricorn (astrological) 291 only
Caput mortuum CaputM287.PNG CaputM291.PNG 🝎 U+1F74E 🝎 residuum after distillation; sometimes symbol resembles a skull
Chalybs Steel287.PNG Steel291.PNG U+2642 ♂ steel, according to JW This symbol usually used for iron; see below for Ward's symbol for iron. In 287, Ward uses the symbol for ashes
Cinabaris HgS287.PNG HgS291.PNG 🜭 U+1F72D 🜭 cinnabar (HgS)
Cineres Cineres291.PNG 🝗 U+1F757 🝗 ashes
Cornu Cervi CC287.PNG CC291.PNG C.C. none none hart's horn; NB: not the plant
Crucibulum Cruc287.PNG Cruc291.PNG 🜊 U+F70A 🜊 crucible; JW uses the same symbol as for vinegar.
Cuprum Cuprum287.PNG Cuprum291.PNG U+2640 &9792; copper
Distillare Dist287.PNG Dist291.PNG 🝠 U+1F760 🝠 distill JW uses two different symbols for this. This image on the left is from V.a.287, and the image on the right is from V.a.291
Dies Dies287.PNG Dies291.PNG U+260C ☌ day
Drachma Dram291.PNG ʒ U+0292 ʒ drachm/dram 291; also button in Dromio transcription box
fferrum Ferrum287.PNG Ferrum291.PNG U+2642 ♂ iron JW uses this symbol in 287. in 291, he uses [image tk]
Gemini Gem291.PNG U+264A ♊ Gemini (astrological) 291 only
Hora Hora287.PNG Hora291.PNG 🝮 U+1F76E 🝮 hour JW's symbol in 287: [image tk] is slightly different; in 291 it more resembles a figure 8
Ignis Ignis287.PNG Ignis291.PNG 🜂 U+1F702 🜂 fire
Iupiter Jup291.PNG U+2643 ♃ Jupiter (planet) 291 only; also closely resembles the Rx (℞) JW uses for prescription compounding
Leo Leo291.PNG U+264C ♌ Lion (astrological) 291 only
Libra Libra291.PNG U+264E ♎ Scales (astrological) 291 only
libra Lb291.PNG U+2114 ℔ pound(s) 291 only
Luna Luna291.PNG U+263D ☽ moon; technically first quarter moon; also used for silver 291 only
Mars Mars291.PNG U+2642 ♂ Mars 291 only; JW writes this with the arrow portion vertical
Mercurius præcipitatus MercP287.PNG MercP291.PNG ☿🝟 U+263F + U+1F75F ☿ + 🝟 mercury precipitate Not in Unicode as a unified symbol. Combined symbols for mercury (U+263F/☿) and precipitate (U+1F75F/🝟)
Mercurius sublimatus MercS287.PNG MercS291.PNG 🜐 U+1F710 🜐 mercury sublimate
Mensis Mensis287.PNG Mensis291.PNG 🝱 U+1F771 🝱 month
Nitrum Nitrum287.PNG Nitrum291.PNG 🜕 U+1F715 🜕 niter
Oleum Oil287.PNG Oil291.PNG 🝆 U+1F746 🝆 oil
Oppositio Opp287.PNG Opp291.PNG U+260D ☍ opposition
Pisces Pisces291.PNG U+2653 ♓ Fishes (astrological) 291 only
Plumbum Plumb287.PNG Plumb291.PNG U+2644 ♄ lead; also planet Saturn
Præcipitare Precip287.PNG Precip291.PNG 🝟 U+1F75F 🝟 precipitate
Pulvis Pulvis287.PNG Pulvis291.PNG 🝋 U+1F74B 🝋 powder in 287, JW connects the two crossbars at the ends so that there is a rectangle over the upright
Quadratus Quad287.PNG Quad291.PNG U+25A1 □ square; also symbol for salt
Quintessentia or Quinta Essentia QE287.PNG QE291.PNG 🜀 U+1F700 🜀 quintessence JW writes this with colons, i.e., Q: E:
Retorta Retort287.PNG Retort291.PNG 🝭 U+1F76D 🝭 retort
Sal ammoniac(um) SalA287.PNG SalA291.PNG 🜹 U+1F739 🜹 sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride)
Sal commune SalC287.PNG SalC291.PNG 🜔 U+1F714 🜔 common salt
Sal gemmæ SalG287.PNG SalG291.PNG 🜘 U+1F718 🜘 rock salt; literally, "salt gems"
Sal nitrum SalN287.PNG SalN291.PNG 🜕 U+1F715 🜕 potassium nitrate, saltpeter JW uses same symbol for niter; in 287 he omits the bottom of the circle
Saturnus Sat287.PNG Sat291.PNG U+2644 ♄ Saturn; same symbol for lead
Scorpius Scorp291.PNG U+264F ♏ Scorpion (astrological) 291 only
Sol Sol287.PNG Sol291.PNG U+2609 ☉ Sun; also one of the symbols for gold
Spiritus Spiritus287.PNG Spiritus291.PNG 🝇 U+1F747 🝇 spirit In 291, JW omits the "SP," making this the same symbol as the one he uses for sublimate
Spiritus vini SpiritusV287.PNG SpiritusV291.PNG 🜈 U+1F708 🜈 spirit of wine, aqua vitae, alcohol In 291, JW replaces the "S" with a dot
Stannum Stannum287.PNG Stannum291.PNG U+2643 ♃ tin; also used for planet Jupiter
Stratum super stratum SSS287.PNG SSS291.PNG 🝜 U+1F75C 🝜 layer upon layer
Sublimatum or sublimare Subl287.PNG Subl291.PNG 🝞 U+1F75E 🝞 sublimation In 291 JW omits the lower horizontal line
Sulphur Sulphur287.PNG Sulphur291.PNG 🜍 U+1F70D 🜍 sulfur, brimstone
Talcum Talcum287.PNG Talcum291.PNG X none none talc
Tartar(um) Tartar287.PNG Tartar291.PNG 🜿 U+1F73F 🜿 tartar; may be preceded by "crem.," = cremor tartaris, cream of tartar
Taurus Taurus291.PNG U+2649 ♉ Bull (astrological) 291 only
Terra Terra287.PNG Terra291.PNG 🜃 U+1F703 🜃 earth In 287, JW does not extend the horizontal line beyond the triangle
Trigonus Trig291.PNG U+25B3 △ triangle, triangular
Venus Venus287.PNG Venus291.PNG U+2640 ♀ Venus (planet); also used for copper
Vinum Vinum287.PNG Vinum291.PNG V none none wine
Virgo Virgo287.PNG Virgo291.PNG U+264D ♍ Virgo (astrological)
Viridi æris Vir287.PNG Vir291.PNG 🜨 U+1F728 🜨 verdigris, copper acetate In the Unicode character, the limbs of the cross do not touch the circle
Vitriolum Vitr287.PNG Vitr291.PNG 🜖 U+1F716 🜖 vitriol In both 287 and 291 JW has the horizontal line extending beyond the circle
Vrina Urine287.PNG Urine291.PNG 🝕 U+1F755 🝕 urine