Alchemy: Turning Stones into Gold Since the Middle Ages!

Alchemy. Such an obscure science. I hope this article can help fix the situation for whoever reads it.

Alchemy is an ancient art that was first practiced in the Middle Ages. It was dedicated to finding a substance that could transmute (or turn) common metals into gold, silver, or other precious metals, as well as cause people to become immortal. Humans probably first delved into chemistry through alchemy.

Alchemy began in ancient Egypt and was especially prevalent in Alexandria during the Hellenistic period. At the same time, China was also tinkering with ideas. The early writings of Greek philosophers on alchemy are sometimes considered the first chemical theories. Empedocles (im-ped-oh-klees) formulated the all-too-famous theory that all existing things are made of air, fire, earth, and water. Later, Emperor Diocletian (die-oh-klee-shun) ordered all Egyptian texts on the chemistry of gold and silver to be burned and all research stopped.

Zosimus Fivanets discovered that sulfuric acid was a solvent for metals, and using this he removed the oxygen from the red mercury oxide, turning the oxidized mercury back into pure mercury, much like if you were to remove rust from a nail, it would be normal. the nail again. The fundamental concept of alchemy comes from Aristotle’s doctrine that everything strives to reach perfection at some point. Since other common metals were “less perfect” than gold and other precious metals, it was reasonable for these researchers that these metals would eventually turn into gold. It was also believed that nature must produce gold from base metals deep in the earth, so with luck this process could be carried out in the laboratory with good results.

Alchemy eventually reached Arabia, where the first book on chemistry was written. From there he traveled through Spain to Europe. Roger Bacon and Albert the Great believed that transmutation into gold was possible. Most people, including these two famous alchemists, believed that gold was the perfect metal, and that when the Philosopher’s Stone was created, it would be a substance far more perfect than gold, which would cause the less perfect metals to transmute.

Roger Bacon believed that gold dissolved in aqua regia* was the elixir of life. The Italian scholastic philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catalan churchman Raymond Lully and the Benedictine monk Basil Valentin also did a lot for the further development of chemistry and alchemy, discovering the use of antimony, the production of amalgam, and the isolation of spirits. wine or ethyl alcohol.

Perhaps the most famous alchemist was the Swiss Philip Paracelsus. He believed that the elements of complex bodies were salt, sulfur, and mercury, representing earth, air, and water. However, the fire was insignificant to him. He also believed that there was another element, the source of the four ancients. This single element which created all was called the Alcachest, and he declared that, when found, it would prove to be a universal medicine, an admirable solvent, and a philosopher’s stone. In other words, it was the highest form of perfection.

After that, the alchemists of Europe divided into two main groups. Those based on facts and serious research, as well as those who practiced metaphysics, confused alchemy with fraud, necromancy, and imposture. This gives alchemy its current mysterious status.

Perhaps the most interesting part of alchemy are the cryptic engravings made at the time. Many of them still exist and are almost impossible to decipher without explanation. The use of obscure characters, including the planets themselves, as symbols of something unknown. Lots of kings, queens, crows, multi-flowered flowers and green lions.

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