Alchemy and Alchemists

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, Jan 1, 2002 - Science - 248 pages
Alchemy, whose beginnings — possibly in Egypt, Babylon, India, or China — are ancient and obscure, remained undocumented until about 2500 BC. Although it may have originated with metallurgy, the practice rapidly developed an association with magic, pharmacy, and astrology. In this richly illustrated and amply researched study, a noted expert traces the long history of alchemy, from its murky start to modern times.
Hermes Trismegistus and other famous alchemists appear here, along with discussions of the craft's associations with chicanery (as memorably portrayed in Ben Jonson's 1610 comedy, The Alchemist),
and its role in the secret society of Rosicrucians. Additional topics include the alchemist's laboratory and equipment, alchemical symbols and secret alphabets, noteworthy manuscripts, the influence of astrology, and more.
Although regarded today as a pseudoscience, alchemy gave rise to scientific chemistry. This volume illustrates the ways in which efforts to transmute metals — such as the search for the ever-elusive philosopher's stone — stimulated experimentation with hitherto untried substances, leading to improved knowledge of the materials vital to applied chemistry. Anyone intrigued by the origins and practices of this age-old and still-mysterious discipline, as well as those interested in the history of chemistry, will appreciate this concise, authoritative study.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER PAGE I THE DAWN OF ALCHEMY
9
THE ROMANCE OF THE SEVEN METALS
16
THE DIVINE ART IN THE NEAR EAST
25
THE MYSTERY OF THE EMERALD TABLET
31
THE INFLUENCE OF ASTROLOGY ON ALCHEMY
36
THE GREEK ALCHEMISTS
41
ALCHEMY IN CHINA AND INDIA
49
THE ARABIAN ALCHEMISTS
59
SOME NOTABLE ALCHEMICAL MANUSCRIPTS
134
ALCHEMISTS AND ROYALTY
140
ALCHEMISTS IN FORTUNE AND MISFORTUNE
150
FAMOUS ALCHEMISTS OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
159
CĂTANO AND BORRI
174
ALCHEMISTS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
188
BEN JONSONs ALCHEMIST AND OTHER QUACKS
197
THE ROSICRUCIANS AND ALCHEMY
203

THE PHILOSOPHERS STONE AND THE ELIXIR OF LIFE
68
FAMOUS ALCHEMISTS OF MEDIEVAL TIMES
77
ENGLISH ALCHEMISTS OF THE MIDDLE AGES
91
ALCHEMY IN THE TIME OF JOHN GOWER AND GEOFFREY CHAUCER
102
THE ALCHEMISTS LABORATORY AND HIS APPARATUS
108
ALCHEMICAL SYMBOLS AND SECRET ALPHABETS I 20
120
MORE ALCHEMISTS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
209
THE LAST OF THE ALCHEMISTS
216
THE DAWN OF SCIENTIFIC CHEMISTRY
222
ALCHEMY AND GOLDMAKERS IN MODERN TIMES
233
WHAT WE OWE TO THE ALCHEMISTS
240
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