Now, you must be thinking what this blog post is about and whether I’ve imbibed too much fermented grape juice. (Been there, done that, getting harder to recover… hic…)
All jokes aside, alchemy is the impetus for this article. Why the sudden interest in the ‘arcane sciences’? My upcoming novella series, Coins of Time, is about a family heirloom that has unusual properties and once was a stone.
The Alchemist in Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, by Joseph Wright, 1771 By Joseph Wright of Derby –
The science of alchemy goes back to ancient Egypt and is a derivative from the Egyptian ‘khem’ and stems from the rich fertile soil after the flooding of the Nile River. The ancient Egyptians regarded the lush and productive refuse of the Nile as the First Matter (the Khem). The Arabs adapted the phrase to ‘al-kimia’, which translates to the Stone or Elixir by the Egyptians. From there, as alchemy grew popular, the alchemists of the day would search, refine and design experiments to create the Philosopher’s Stone or known as the Stone of Knowledge, to develop and acquire eternal youth and health, and to discover the means to transmute metals—turn metal into gold.
Unfortunately, the purity of alchemy was tainted by the growth of individuals who used this form of science to commit fraud, extortion and use black arts—witchcraft and sorcery. The latter two, where genuine people were using ancient techniques in healing and medicine were condemned as witches and pagans, devil worshippers, who were burnt at the stake during the medieval period. Sadly, innocent women were executed for their practice in healing.
While alchemy may have been considered the ‘devil’s work’, it did lead to the scientific discipline of chemistry. Not really quacks after all. Below is a list of references you may be interested in reading.
What are your thoughts? Were Alchemists fortune seekers or genuine researchers of science?
Thank you for your continued support and as always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.
Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet.
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What is Alchemy? https://www.livescience.com/39314-alchemy.html
The Language of Alchemy https://www.sciencehistory.org/distillations/the-language-of-alchemy
How Alchemy Paved the Way for Chemistry https://science.howstuffworks.com/alchemy-to-chemistry.htm
Alchemy Symbols and Meanings https://www.thoughtco.com/alchemy-symbols-and-meanings-4065063