By Sean Martin
Alchemy has routinely been seen as 'the heritage of an error', an instance of mediaeval gullibility and greed, within which alchemists attempted to show lead into gold, create fantastic 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 technology. This booklet explores the background of the so-called Royal artwork, from its mysterious beginnings in Egypt and China, throughout the Hellenistic international and the early years of Islam and into mediaeval Europe. the various maximum minds of the center a while, figures akin to Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon and Thomas Aquinas have been attracted to alchemy, and mythical alchemists resembling Nicholas Flamel have been inspiration to have really succeeded find The Philosopher's Stone. through the Renaissance, Paracelsus and his fans helped revolutionise medication, and through the 17th century, alchemy performed an immense position in paving the way in which for contemporary technology. through the 20th century, it grew to become a spotlight of curiosity for the psychologist Carl Jung and his fans, who believed that the alchemists had came upon the subconscious. during this totally revised version, Sean Martin has improved the sections on chinese language and Indian alchemy and has extra new fabric at the dating among alchemy and early sleek technological know-how, whereas additionally creating a clean overview of this such a lot enduringly mysterious and engaging of matters, to which all others were defined as 'child's play'.
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Additional resources for Alchemy and Alchemists
250 BCE), who wrote a book called the Phusika kai mustika: phusika refers to the things of nature, while mustika refers to mysticism, but it would be slightly inaccurate to translate the work as ‘On Natural and Mystical Things’. Mustika has a sense in which it refers to being initiated into knowing, so the work may be more accurately rendered as On Natural and Initiatory Things. The concepts of nature and initiation will recur in almost all of later alchemy. 370 BCE), the originator of atomic theory, and for many years it was believed that the Phusika was in fact the work of Democritus.
The loss of the library is one of the greatest disasters in human history and also one of the most damning indictments of religious fundamentalism: our knowledge of the ancient world would be infinitely greater had any of the texts survived. The irony of the Muslim sack of Alexandria was that almost as soon as Islam began to establish itself, around the same time, it encouraged learning in a way that Christianity never did, and Islam began to inherit the wisdom of Greece and Egypt. 704). It is said that Khalid was the son of the Caliph Yazid I, and that, upon Yazid’s death, he was succeeded by Khalid’s elder brother Muawiya II.
In what is almost the only text in the Mutus Liber, the student is advised to ‘Pray,Work, Read, Read and Reread, and you shall find’. In using the metaphor of repeated washing and constant prayer and study, the alchemists are suggesting that the work involves much repetition and purification, over and over until the work is brought to completion. The Language of the Birds Alchemists were masters of wordplay. Many alchemical texts claim that they are ‘hiding a secret openly’, meaning that initiates • 35 • Alchemy 16/10/06 11:15 am Page 36 ALCHEMY AND ALCHEMISTS will understand them, and that everyone else will see complete gibberish.
Alchemy and Alchemists by Sean Martin