Alchemy

alchemistalchemicalalchemistsalchemictransmutationHistory of alchemyalchemistictransmutea mystical elementAlcemist
Alchemy (from Arabic: al-kīmiyā) was an ancient branch of natural philosophy, a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practised throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, originating in Greco-Roman Egypt in the first few centuries.wikipedia
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Chrysopoeia

transmutation transmutationchanging
Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble metals" (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent.
In alchemy, the term chrysopoeia (, khrusopoiia) means transmutation into gold (from the Greek χρυσός, khrusos, "gold", and ποιεῖν, poiein, "to make").

Philosopher's stone

Philosopher’s Stonephilosophers' stoneThe Philosopher's Stone
In Europe, the creation of a philosopher's stone was variously connected with all of these projects.
The philosopher's stone, more properly philosophers' stone or stone of the philosophers (lapis philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals such as mercury into gold (chrysopoeia, from the Greek χρυσός khrusos, "gold", and ποιεῖν poiēin, "to make") or silver.

Alchemy and chemistry in the medieval Islamic world

alchemyAlchemy and chemistry in medieval IslamArab and Persian chemists
In English, the term is often limited to descriptions of European alchemy, but similar practices existed in the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Muslim world.
Alchemy and chemistry in Islam refers to the study of both traditional alchemy and early practical chemistry (the early chemical investigation of nature in general) by scholars in the medieval Islamic world.

Chinese alchemy

Chinese alchemistsTaoist alchemyalchemist
In English, the term is often limited to descriptions of European alchemy, but similar practices existed in the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Muslim world.
Chinese alchemy is an ancient Chinese scientific and technological approach to alchemy, a part of the larger tradition of Taoist body-spirit cultivation developed from the traditional Chinese understanding of medicine and the body.

Base metal

base metalsbase base metals
Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble metals" (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent.
A long-time goal of alchemists was the transmutation of a base (low grade) metal into a precious metal.

Magnum opus (alchemy)

magnum opusGreat WorkOpus
The perfection of the human body and soul was thought to permit or result from the alchemical magnum opus and, in the Hellenistic and Western mystery tradition, the achievement of gnosis.
The Great Work (Latin: Magnum opus) is an alchemical term for the process of working with the prima materia to create the philosopher's stone.

History of chemistry

chemistryburgeoning chemistrychemical revolution
In Europe, following the 12th-century Renaissance produced by the translation of Medieval Islamic works on science and the rediscovery of Aristotelian philosophy, alchemists played a significant role in early modern science (particularly chemistry and medicine). The former is pursued by historians of the physical sciences who examine the subject in terms of early chemistry, medicine, and charlatanism, and the philosophical and religious contexts in which these events occurred.
The protoscience of chemistry, alchemy, was unsuccessful in explaining the nature of matter and its transformations.

List of alchemists

alchemistAlchemists
In Europe, following the 12th-century Renaissance produced by the translation of Medieval Islamic works on science and the rediscovery of Aristotelian philosophy, alchemists played a significant role in early modern science (particularly chemistry and medicine).
An alchemist is a person versed in the art of alchemy.

Rasayana

RasavātamIndian alchemical traditionIndian alchemists
In English, the term is often limited to descriptions of European alchemy, but similar practices existed in the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Muslim world.
The name of the science of Indian alchemy or proto-chemistry, is more generally "The Science of Mercury", or Rasaśāstra, रसशास्त्र in Sanskrit, Nepali, Marathi, Hindi, Kannada and several other languages.

Gold

Aunative goldgold dust
Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble metals" (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent.
The production of gold from a more common element, such as lead, has long been a subject of human inquiry, and the ancient and medieval discipline of alchemy often focused on it; however, the transmutation of the chemical elements did not become possible until the understanding of nuclear physics in the 20th century.

Panacea (medicine)

panaceacure-alluniversal panacea
Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble metals" (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent.
It was in the past sought by alchemists in connection with the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone, a mythical substance which would enable the transmutation of common metals into gold.

Protoscience

protoscientificproto-scienceproto-scientific
Alchemy (from Arabic: al-kīmiyā) was an ancient branch of natural philosophy, a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practised throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, originating in Greco-Roman Egypt in the first few centuries.
Thus, in the late 17th century and early 18th century, Isaac Newton contributed to the dawning sciences of chemistry and physics, even though he was also an alchemist who sought chrysopoeia in various ways including some that were unscientific.

Alkahest

alchahestuniversal aciduniversal solvent
Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble metals" (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent.
Because of its perceived invaluable medicinal qualities, Alchemists of the time were concerned with its plausibility and existence.

Marie-Louise von Franz

von Franz, Marie-LouiseMarie Louise Von Franzvon Franz
Modern discussions of alchemy are generally split into an examination of its exoteric practical applications and its esoteric spiritual aspects, despite the arguments of scholars like Holmyard and von Franz that they should be understood as complementary.
Marie-Louise von Franz (4 January 1915 – 17 February 1998) was a Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar, renowned for her psychological interpretations of fairy tales and of alchemical manuscripts.

Ancient Egyptian technology

ancient Egypttechnologyancient Egypt technology
Despite this split, which von Franz believes has existed since the Western traditions' origin in a mix of Greek philosophy that was mixed with Egyptian and Mesopotamian technology, numerous sources have stressed an integration of esoteric and exoteric approaches to alchemy as far back as Pseudo-Democritus's first-century On Physical and Mystical Matters.
Egypt also was a center of alchemy research for much of the western world.

Mary the Jewess

Maria the JewessMaria Prophetissa
Zosimos of Panopolis wrote the oldest known books on alchemy, while Mary the Jewess is credited as being the first non-fictitious Western alchemist.
Mary or Maria the Jewess (Maria Prophetissima), also known as Mary the Prophetess, is an early alchemist who is known from the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis.

Eric John Holmyard

E. J. HolmyardErick John HolmyardHolmyard
Modern discussions of alchemy are generally split into an examination of its exoteric practical applications and its esoteric spiritual aspects, despite the arguments of scholars like Holmyard and von Franz that they should be understood as complementary.
His scholarly work included rectification of accounts of the history of alchemy, particularly in relation with Islamic science.

Zosimos of Panopolis

ZosimosZosimusZosimus of Panopolis
Zosimos of Panopolis wrote the oldest known books on alchemy, while Mary the Jewess is credited as being the first non-fictitious Western alchemist.
Zosimos of Panopolis (Ζώσιμος ὁ Πανοπολίτης; also known by the Latin name Zosimus Alchemista, i.e. "Zosimus the Alchemist") was an Egyptian alchemist and Gnostic mystic who lived at the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th century AD.

Natural science

natural sciencesnaturalnatural scientist
The former is pursued by historians of the physical sciences who examine the subject in terms of early chemistry, medicine, and charlatanism, and the philosophical and religious contexts in which these events occurred.
Early experiments in chemistry had their roots in the system of Alchemy, a set of beliefs combining mysticism with physical experiments.

Pseudo-Democritus

Pseudo-Demikristo
Despite this split, which von Franz believes has existed since the Western traditions' origin in a mix of Greek philosophy that was mixed with Egyptian and Mesopotamian technology, numerous sources have stressed an integration of esoteric and exoteric approaches to alchemy as far back as Pseudo-Democritus's first-century On Physical and Mystical Matters. Most of the Greco-Roman alchemists preceding Zosimos are known only by pseudonyms, such as Moses, Isis, Cleopatra, Democritus, and Ostanes.
He was the second most respected early pseudonymous writer on alchemy (after Hermes Trismegistus).

Air (classical element)

airWindAerial Calamity
An important example of alchemy's roots in Greek philosophy, originated by Empedocles and developed by Aristotle, was that all things in the universe were formed from only four elements: earth, air, water, and fire.
Air is one of the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy and in Western alchemy.

Metallurgy

metallurgistmetallurgicalMetallurgical Engineering
Technology – The dawn of Western alchemy is sometimes associated with that of metallurgy, extending back to 3500.
The word was originally an alchemist's term for the extraction of metals from minerals, the ending -urgy signifying a process, especially manufacturing: it was discussed in this sense in the 1797 Encyclopædia Britannica.

Cleopatra the Alchemist

Cleopatra
Most of the Greco-Roman alchemists preceding Zosimos are known only by pseudonyms, such as Moses, Isis, Cleopatra, Democritus, and Ostanes.
Cleopatra the Alchemist who likely lived during the 3rd century A.D., was a Greek alchemist, author, and philosopher.

Western esotericism

esotericesotericismesotericist
The perfection of the human body and soul was thought to permit or result from the alchemical magnum opus and, in the Hellenistic and Western mystery tradition, the achievement of gnosis. Modern discussions of alchemy are generally split into an examination of its exoteric practical applications and its esoteric spiritual aspects, despite the arguments of scholars like Holmyard and von Franz that they should be understood as complementary.
After the fall of Rome, alchemy and philosophy and other aspects of the tradition were largely preserved in the Arab and Near Eastern world and reintroduced into Western Europe by Jews and by the cultural contact between Christians and Muslims in Sicily and southern Italy.

Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes TrismegistosHermesTrismegistus
The central figure in the mythology of alchemy is Hermes Trismegistus (or Thrice-Great Hermes).
The Hermetic literature among the Egyptians, which was concerned with conjuring spirits and animating statues, inform the oldest Hellenistic writings on Greco-Babylonian astrology and on the newly developed practice of alchemy.