By Sean Martin
Alchemy has usually been considered as 'the background of an error', an instance of mediaeval gullibility and greed, during which alchemists attempted to show lead into gold, create exceptional wealth and locate the elixir of existence. yet alchemy has additionally been defined as 'the mightiest mystery guy can possess', and it obsessed the likes of Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and plenty of of the founders of recent technological know-how. This e-book explores the heritage of the so-called Royal artwork, from its mysterious beginnings in Egypt and China, during the Hellenistic global and the early years of Islam and into mediaeval Europe. many of the maximum minds of the center a while, figures resembling Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon and Thomas Aquinas have been interested in alchemy, and mythical alchemists corresponding to Nicholas Flamel have been suggestion to have really succeeded find The Philosopher's Stone. in the course of the Renaissance, Paracelsus and his fans helped revolutionise medication, and through the 17th century, alchemy performed an important function in paving the best way for contemporary technological know-how. throughout the 20th century, it turned a spotlight of curiosity for the psychologist Carl Jung and his fans, who believed that the alchemists had found the subconscious. during this absolutely revised version, Sean Martin has multiplied the sections on chinese language and Indian alchemy and has extra new fabric at the courting among alchemy and early sleek technology, whereas additionally creating a clean review of this so much enduringly mysterious and interesting of matters, to which all others were defined as 'child's play'.
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Extra info for Alchemy and Alchemists
610–641), perhaps the most eminent alchemist in Egypt since the time of Zosimos. • 48 • Alchemy 16/10/06 11:15 am Page 49 ALCHEMY IN THE WEST Stephanos was a favourite at the court of the Byzantine Emperor Herakleios I, who, aside from being a great military leader, was also a man of learning and seems to have done much to encourage the intellectual life of the time. Like the later Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II, Herakleios seems to have devoted so much time to the study of alchemy in his later years that affairs of state took second place to the search for the Stone.
Needless to say, none has ever been part of official Church dogma or liturgy. • 38 • Alchemy 16/10/06 11:15 am Page 39 Alchemy in the West The Origins of the Name The word alchemy itself could have originated a number of ways. It is thought to derive from al-kimia, a late Greek word for transmuting gold and silver. Its earliest known occurrence is in the decree issued in 296 CE by the Emperor Diocletian against the writings of the Egyptian kimia-ists. Suidas, writing in the tenth century, explains that the word means those who have knowledge of the Egyptian art, further enhancing Egypt’s claim to be the cradle of alchemy.
Perhaps the two most frequently cited are ‘As Above, So Below’ and ‘Solve et Coagula’. The first comes from The Emerald Tablet, the most influential text in the history of Western alchemy, and summarises the belief that everything in the great world, or macrocosm, is related to everything in the little world, the world of the microcosm of humanity. : visitabis interiora terra,rectificando,invenies occultum lapidem (‘Visit the Interior of the Earth, and by Rectifying, You Will Find the Hidden Stone’).
Alchemy and Alchemists by Sean Martin