Review of: Alchemy

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Jabir's ultimate goal was Takwin , the artificial creation of life in the alchemical laboratory, up to, and including, human life. He analyzed each Aristotelian element in terms of four basic qualities of hotness , coldness , dryness , and moistness.

For example, lead was externally cold and dry, while gold was hot and moist. Thus, Jabir theorized, by rearranging the qualities of one metal, a different metal would result.

Jabir developed an elaborate numerology whereby the root letters of a substance's name in Arabic, when treated with various transformations, held correspondences to the element's physical properties.

The elemental system used in medieval alchemy also originated with Jabir. His original system consisted of seven elements, which included the five classical elements aether , air , earth , fire , and water in addition to two chemical elements representing the metals: sulphur , "the stone which burns", which characterized the principle of combustibility, and mercury , which contained the idealized principle of metallic properties.

Shortly thereafter, this evolved into eight elements, with the Arabic concept of the three metallic principles: sulphur giving flammability or combustion, mercury giving volatility and stability, and salt giving solidity.

In particular, they wrote refutations against the idea of the transmutation of metals. Whereas European alchemy eventually centered on the transmutation of base metals into noble metals, Chinese alchemy had a more obvious connection to medicine.

The philosopher's stone of European alchemists can be compared to the Grand Elixir of Immortality sought by Chinese alchemists. However, in the hermetic view, these two goals were not unconnected, and the philosopher's stone was often equated with the universal panacea ; therefore, the two traditions may have had more in common than initially appears.

Black powder may have been an important invention of Chinese alchemists. As previously stated above, Chinese alchemy was more related to medicine.

It is said that the Chinese invented gunpowder while trying to find a potion for eternal life. Described in 9th-century texts [ citation needed ] and used in fireworks in China by the 10th century, [ citation needed ] it was used in cannons by Gunpowder was used by the Mongols against the Hungarians in , and in Europe by the 14th century.

Chinese alchemy was closely connected to Taoist forms of traditional Chinese medicine , such as Acupuncture and Moxibustion.

In the early Song dynasty , followers of this Taoist idea chiefly the elite and upper class would ingest mercuric sulfide , which, though tolerable in low levels, led many to suicide.

The introduction of alchemy to Latin Europe may be dated to 11 February , with the completion of Robert of Chester 's translation of the Arabic Book of the Composition of Alchemy.

Although European craftsmen and technicians pre-existed, Robert notes in his preface that alchemy though here still referring to the elixir rather than to the art itself [62] was unknown in Latin Europe at the time of his writing.

The translation of Arabic texts concerning numerous disciplines including alchemy flourished in 12th-century Toledo, Spain , through contributors like Gerard of Cremona and Adelard of Bath.

These brought with them many new words to the European vocabulary for which there was no previous Latin equivalent. Alcohol, carboy, elixir, and athanor are examples.

Meanwhile, theologian contemporaries of the translators made strides towards the reconciliation of faith and experimental rationalism, thereby priming Europe for the influx of alchemical thought.

In the early 12th century, Peter Abelard followed Anselm's work, laying down the foundation for acceptance of Aristotelian thought before the first works of Aristotle had reached the West.

In the early 13th century, Robert Grosseteste used Abelard's methods of analysis and added the use of observation, experimentation, and conclusions when conducting scientific investigations.

Grosseteste also did much work to reconcile Platonic and Aristotelian thinking. Through much of the 12th and 13th centuries, alchemical knowledge in Europe remained centered on translations, and new Latin contributions were not made.

The efforts of the translators were succeeded by that of the encyclopaedists. In the 13th century, Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon were the most notable of these, their work summarizing and explaining the newly imported alchemical knowledge in Aristotelian terms.

Albertus critically compared these to the writings of Aristotle and Avicenna, where they concerned the transmutation of metals.

From the time shortly after his death through to the 15th century, more than 28 alchemical tracts were misattributed to him, a common practice giving rise to his reputation as an accomplished alchemist.

Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar who wrote on a wide variety of topics including optics , comparative linguistics , and medicine, composed his Great Work Latin : Opus Majus for Pope Clement IV as part of a project towards rebuilding the medieval university curriculum to include the new learning of his time.

While alchemy was not more important to him than other sciences and he did not produce allegorical works on the topic, he did consider it and astrology to be important parts of both natural philosophy and theology and his contributions advanced alchemy's connections to soteriology and Christian theology.

Bacon's writings integrated morality, salvation, alchemy, and the prolongation of life. His correspondence with Clement highlighted this, noting the importance of alchemy to the papacy.

He noted that the theoretical lay outside the scope of Aristotle, the natural philosophers, and all Latin writers of his time.

The practical, however, confirmed the theoretical thought experiment, and Bacon advocated its uses in natural science and medicine. In particular, along with Albertus Magnus, he was credited with the forging of a brazen head capable of answering its owner's questions.

Soon after Bacon, the influential work of Pseudo-Geber sometimes identified as Paul of Taranto appeared. His Summa Perfectionis remained a staple summary of alchemical practice and theory through the medieval and renaissance periods.

It was notable for its inclusion of practical chemical operations alongside sulphur-mercury theory, and the unusual clarity with which they were described.

Adepts believed in the macrocosm-microcosm theories of Hermes, that is to say, they believed that processes that affect minerals and other substances could have an effect on the human body for example, if one could learn the secret of purifying gold, one could use the technique to purify the human soul.

They believed in the four elements and the four qualities as described above, and they had a strong tradition of cloaking their written ideas in a labyrinth of coded jargon set with traps to mislead the uninitiated.

Finally, the alchemists practiced their art: they actively experimented with chemicals and made observations and theories about how the universe operated.

Their entire philosophy revolved around their belief that man's soul was divided within himself after the fall of Adam.

By purifying the two parts of man's soul, man could be reunited with God. In the 14th century, alchemy became more accessible to Europeans outside the confines of Latin speaking churchmen and scholars.

Alchemical discourse shifted from scholarly philosophical debate to an exposed social commentary on the alchemists themselves.

Pope John XXII 's edict, Spondent quas non-exhibent forbade the false promises of transmutation made by pseudo-alchemists.

These critiques and regulations centered more around pseudo-alchemical charlatanism than the actual study of alchemy, which continued with an increasingly Christian tone.

The 14th century saw the Christian imagery of death and resurrection employed in the alchemical texts of Petrus Bonus , John of Rupescissa , and in works written in the name of Raymond Lull and Arnold of Villanova.

Nicolas Flamel is a well-known alchemist, but a good example of pseudepigraphy , the practice of giving your works the name of someone else, usually more famous.

Although the historical Flamel existed, the writings and legends assigned to him only appeared in His work spends a great deal of time describing the processes and reactions, but never actually gives the formula for carrying out the transmutations.

Most of 'his' work was aimed at gathering alchemical knowledge that had existed before him, especially as regarded the philosopher's stone.

Bernard Trevisan and George Ripley made similar contributions. Their cryptic allusions and symbolism led to wide variations in interpretation of the art.

During the Renaissance , Hermetic and Platonic foundations were restored to European alchemy. The dawn of medical, pharmaceutical, occult, and entrepreneurial branches of alchemy followed.

These were previously unavailable to Europeans who for the first time had a full picture of the alchemical theory that Bacon had declared absent. Renaissance Humanism and Renaissance Neoplatonism guided alchemists away from physics to refocus on mankind as the alchemical vessel.

Esoteric systems developed that blended alchemy into a broader occult Hermeticism, fusing it with magic, astrology, and Christian cabala.

He was instrumental in spreading this new blend of Hermeticism outside the borders of Italy. Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus , Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, — cast alchemy into a new form, rejecting some of Agrippa's occultism and moving away from chrysopoeia.

Paracelsus pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine and wrote, "Many have said of Alchemy, that it is for the making of gold and silver.

For me such is not the aim, but to consider only what virtue and power may lie in medicines. His hermetical views were that sickness and health in the body relied on the harmony of man the microcosm and Nature the macrocosm.

He took an approach different from those before him, using this analogy not in the manner of soul-purification but in the manner that humans must have certain balances of minerals in their bodies, and that certain illnesses of the body had chemical remedies that could cure them.

John Dee 13 July — December, followed Agrippa's occult tradition. Although better known for angel summoning, divination, and his role as astrologer , cryptographer, and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I , Dee's alchemical [86] Monas Hieroglyphica , written in was his most popular and influential work.

His writing portrayed alchemy as a sort of terrestrial astronomy in line with the Hermetic axiom As above so below.

Proponents of the supernatural interpretation of alchemy believed that the philosopher's stone might be used to summon and communicate with angels.

Entrepreneurial opportunities were common for the alchemists of Renaissance Europe. Alchemists were contracted by the elite for practical purposes related to mining, medical services, and the production of chemicals, medicines, metals, and gemstones.

Although most of these appointments were legitimate, the trend of pseudo-alchemical fraud continued through the Renaissance.

Betrüger would use sleight of hand, or claims of secret knowledge to make money or secure patronage. Legitimate mystical and medical alchemists such as Michael Maier and Heinrich Khunrath wrote about fraudulent transmutations, distinguishing themselves from the con artists.

The terms "chemia" and "alchemia" were used as synonyms in the early modern period, and the differences between alchemy, chemistry and small-scale assaying and metallurgy were not as neat as in the present day.

There were important overlaps between practitioners, and trying to classify them into alchemists, chemists and craftsmen is anachronistic.

Sendivogious taught his technique to Cornelius Drebbel who, in , applied this in a submarine. Isaac Newton devoted considerably more of his writing to the study of alchemy see Isaac Newton's occult studies than he did to either optics or physics.

Other early modern alchemists who were eminent in their other studies include Robert Boyle , and Jan Baptist van Helmont. Their Hermeticism complemented rather than precluded their practical achievements in medicine and science.

The decline of European alchemy was brought about by the rise of modern science with its emphasis on rigorous quantitative experimentation and its disdain for "ancient wisdom".

Although the seeds of these events were planted as early as the 17th century, alchemy still flourished for some two hundred years, and in fact may have reached its peak in the 18th century.

As late as James Price claimed to have produced a powder that could transmute mercury into silver or gold. Early modern European alchemy continued to exhibit a diversity of theories, practices, and purposes: "Scholastic and anti-Aristotelian, Paracelsian and anti-Paracelsian, Hermetic, Neoplatonic, mechanistic, vitalistic, and more—plus virtually every combination and compromise thereof.

Robert Boyle — pioneered the scientific method in chemical investigations. He assumed nothing in his experiments and compiled every piece of relevant data.

Boyle would note the place in which the experiment was carried out, the wind characteristics, the position of the Sun and Moon, and the barometer reading, all just in case they proved to be relevant.

Beginning around , a rigid distinction began to be drawn for the first time between "alchemy" and "chemistry".

This move was mostly successful, and the consequences of this continued into the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

During the occult revival of the early 19th century, alchemy received new attention as an occult science. In the 19th-century revival of alchemy, the two most seminal figures were Mary Anne Atwood and Ethan Allen Hitchcock , who independently published similar works regarding spiritual alchemy.

Both represent attempts to discover the relationship of man to the cosmos and to exploit that relationship to his benefit. The first of these objectives may be called scientific, the second technological.

But the distinction is far from absolute, since both are interested in the influence of the stars on terrestrial events.

That both astrology and alchemy may be regarded as fundamental aspects of thought is indicated by their apparent universality.

It is notable, however, that the evidence is not equally substantial in all times and places. Evidence from ancient Middle America Aztecs, Mayans is still almost nonexistent; evidence from India is tenuous and from ancient China , Greece, and Islamic lands is only relatively more plentiful.

A single manuscript of some 80, words is the principal source for the history of Greek alchemy. Keep scrolling for more. Alchemist : Someone Who Transforms Things for the Better Today we recognize alchemy as a pseudoscience, and give chemistry its rightful place as a serious scientific field, but the two terms initially overlapped in meaning before separating by the 17th century, just as astrology and astronomy did during the same period.

First Known Use of alchemy 15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1. Learn More about alchemy. Time Traveler for alchemy The first known use of alchemy was in the 15th century See more words from the same century.

From the Editors at Merriam-Webster. Dictionary Entries near alchemy alchemist alchemistry alchemize alchemy alchera alchornea alchymie See More Nearby Entries.

More Definitions for alchemy. Kids Definition of alchemy. Comments on alchemy What made you want to look up alchemy?

Get Word of the Day daily email! Test Your Vocabulary. Love words? Some wealthy people hired alchemists to conduct research on their behalf, though they never saw returns on their investment.

Bogus alchemists were so common in the Middle Ages that several famous writers described them, including poets Ben Jonson and Geoffrey Chaucer in "The Canterbury Tales".

Though the philosopher's stone was a myth and alchemy failed, the alchemists weren't completely wrong: With modern physics equipment, such as particle accelerators , it is indeed possible to create gold from other elements, though the amounts are sub-microscopic and the process costs far more to create than the resulting gold is worth.

Though alchemy is long gone, the contrast between lead and gold remains; lead is a common, poisonous metal that can harm children and lead to brain damage; gold is highly valued, treasured, and often worn as jewelry.

Though alchemy never achieved its goals of immortality or turning lead into gold, it did leave an important legacy: alchemists were early practitioners of what would become modern chemistry.

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Alchemy was based on the belief that there are four basic elements in nature: air, fire, water and earth.

A simple but addictive game. Start with four basic items and use them to find dinosaurs, unicorns and spaceships!. Alchemy element symbols have existed for over a thousand years, and they were a key component of alchemy, as well as related fields of study such as astronomy, medicine, and philosophy. Each alchemy symbol corresponding to a specific element or compound. Alchemy (from Arabic: al-kīmiyā) is an ancient branch of natural philosophy, a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practiced throughout Europe, Africa, China and throughout Asia, observable in Chinese text from around 73–49 BCE and Greco-Roman Egypt in the first few centuries CE. Alchemy definition is - a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life. Alchemy was the name given in Latin Europe in the 12th century to an aspect of thought that corresponds to astrology, which is apparently an older represent attempts to discover the relationship of man to the cosmos and to exploit that relationship to his benefit.
Alchemy Als Alchemie oder Alchimie bezeichnet man ab dem 1./2. Jahrhundert die Lehre von den Eigenschaften der Stoffe und ihren Reaktionen. Sie ist ein alter Zweig der Naturphilosophie und wurde im Laufe des und Als Alchemie oder Alchimie (auch Alchymie; griechisch-arabisch-mittellateinisch alkimia, Some Modern Controversies on the Historiography of Alchemy. Alchemy ist eine Mikroprozessor-Familie der Firma Raza Microelectronics (kurz RMI). Die Prozessoren wurden am Juni von Advanced Micro Devices. alchemy Bedeutung, Definition alchemy: 1. a type of chemistry, especially in the Middle Ages, that dealt with trying to find a way to.


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