Alchemy (Medieval Chemistry and Philosophy Discipline)

Alchemy General Facts:
  • Medieval forerunner to chemistry.
  • Alchemy particularly looked at the formation of inanimate substances.
  • Alchemy was also known as a system of philosophy that dealt with the mystery of life.
  • The discipline is a blend of astrology, chemistry, magic and occultism, together with ideas derived from religious systems and other obscure sources.
Alchemy Claims:
  • Purported to have developed the ability to transmutate base metals, such as lead & mercury, into silver & gold.
  • The technique reportedly used the philosopher's stone, a substance which was also said to have the power to give eternal life.
Word Derivation:
  • The Arabian phrase "al-kimia" - refers to the preparation of the Stone or Elixir by the Egyptians.
  • The Arabic root "kimia" comes from Coptic "khem" - alluding to the fertile black soil of the Nile delta.
Alchemy Origins:
  • Probably began in Egypt - based on early records.
  • Legends attribute alchemy to Hermes Trismegistus.
  • Other religious claims include the fallen angels of the Book of Genesis, & revelations by Moses and Aaron.
Alchemy Practitioners:
  • Albert Poisson
  • Antoine Lavoisier
  • Dr Johnson
  • Gottfried Leibniz
  • Hermes - origin of hermetically sealed.
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber)
  • Johann Glauber,
  • John Dalton
  • Parmigianino
  • Robert Boyle
  • Roger Bacon
  • Saint Albertus Magnus
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Tycho Brahe
  • Thomas Browne
  • Vincent of Beauvais
Image Credit (top) Alchemist Workshop by Curious Expeditions (cc)
Image Credit (bottom) Alchemist with scale by Chemical Heritage Foundation (cc)

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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