Matty-Sways

Handwritten notes by Isaac Newton discuss his thoughts on the Great Pyramid of Egypt and alchemy.

Sotheby's auction house recently sold handwritten notes by Isaac Newton for £378,000 ($511,000) in early December.

The papers dating back to the 1680s are extremely fire damaged, but do discuss topics that he did not discuss publicly. According to legend, Newton's dog Diamond jumped on his table and knocked a candle over, which set the papers ablaze. Other than the initial fire damage the papers have been "expertly conserved."

In the private papers Newton wrote in a mixture of English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and discussed diverse topics that he kept quiet about during his life including thoughts about natural philosophy, alchemy, Biblical prophecy, and even the apocalypse. He also wrote about ancient units of measurement, the pyramids in Giza, and gravity.

Newton had a fascination for alchemy and theology, but he didn't publish texts on these during his life "because it would have cost him his career," Sotheby's said.

"The private papers reveal a side of the scientist that was kept quiet until centuries after his death, his fascination for alchemy."

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