I'm not convinced Thoh is a weird spelling of Thoth. All variations of the name from classical sources contain the final "t", so even "Thot" would be normal, but I am not aware of any with an additional "h".
If "Thoh" was a made-up variant of some word, done in the 15th or 16th century, then philology is irrelevant. What is relevant is what words Thurneysser and his cohorts would have known to form the word "Thoh" from. In that sense, what you say next is relevant.
I'm thinking of the substitution with Azoth
. My first thought was the Latinate and Renaissance Thohu
from the phrase "Thohu et Bohu" or "Thohuvebohu", the "formless and void" in Latin versions of Genesis, taken over into some vernaculars. This primal chaos might have been a term for the alchemical "Prima Materia."
For instance, in this 1531 non-alchemical German text - https://books.google.fr/books?id=PpZbAA ... 22&f=false
So "Thohu" occurred in texts Thurneysser is likely to have seen, and it is related to "Azoth". You certainly are good at pulling rabbits out of hats, Ross. "Thohu" is also relevant if the word "Thoh" occurs elsewhere in western alchemy.
Is this derivation preferable to that of "Thoth", if Thurneysser made up the term "Thoh" himself? The question in my mind is, how likely is he to have known that "Azot" meant the alchemical substance otherwise known as Mercury? And is it, in fact? Otherwise, how likely was he to know that it came from the Arabic word for the metal? That assumption strikes me as dubious. At the moment, I'd say that "Thohu" fits a bit better than "Thoth", based on what we know so far; but more investigation is in order, especially about that chart in Book 12 in relation to "prima materia" vs. "mercury" as the meaning of "Thoh" there, and about any other history of the word elsewhere.
Steve's Turkish "Tohum" seems to me relevant only if there is a history of "Thoh" that likely goes back to a Turkish, Armenian, or Persian source (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D8%AA%D ... 85#Persian
), as I doubt if Thurneysser would have been familiar with those languages or works using those terms from those languages, independently of alchemy.
The combination of Azot with Tohum in Turkish is certainly impressive. But how far back does that combination go, for a seed with nitrogen-fixing bacteria? It seems very modern. Nitrogen wasn't even discovered until 1772. Wikipedia says:
The name nitrogène was suggested by French chemist Jean-Antoine-Claude Chaptal in 1790, when it was found that nitrogen was present in nitric acid and nitrates. Antoine Lavoisier suggested instead the name azote, from the Greek άζωτικός "no life", as it is an asphyxiant gas; this name is instead used in many languages, such as French, Russian, and Turkish, and appears in the English names of some nitrogen compounds such as hydrazine, azides and azo compounds.
It would appear that the term "azote" was coined by Lavoisier. But I wonder if perhaps it was used earlier, for the gas, since it could kill people even before the lethal part was identified. If I hadn't read Wikipedia, I would have assumed that nitric acid and nitrates were so named because they contained nitrogen, and not the other way around. (See also their article on "niter", a word that apparently comes from the Egyptian word for salts with sodium carbonate, which of course contains no nitrogen.)