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Dastin, John (DNB00)

DASTIN, DASTYN, or DAUSTIN, JOHN (fl. 1320), alchemist, occupied, according to Tanner, the foremost place among the alchemists of his time, and was the only master of his art in England. Originally a monk, he gave himself up to philosophical inquiries, and was reduced to the utmost poverty. The only record which remains to fix the period when Dastin lived is a letter which he addressed to Pope John XXII. Among other of his correspondents was a Cardinal Adrian of Naples, and it was apparently this fact which led Pierre Borel (Bibl. Chemique, p. 73) to incorrectly state that Dastin was himself a cardinal known as St. Adrian. Dastin was the author of numerous alchemical treatises in Latin, which, if we may judge from the number of manuscript copies still remaining, were largely circulated. His ‘Rosarium, secretissimum philosophorum arcanum comprehendens’ was printed at Geismar in 1647, and again in 1702 in Jac. Magnes's ‘Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa.’ The most popular of his works would seem to have been the ‘Visio super artem Alchemicam,’ a curious mystical allegory, which was more than once translated into English, and is printed in ‘Ginæceum Chimicum’ (Lyons, 1679) and in the ‘Theatrum Chimicum’ (Geneva, 1651).

[Pits's Hist. de Reb. Angl. p. 871; Brit. Mus. Gen. Cat.; Biographie Universelle.]

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