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Medieval Alchemy

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Alexandra Elias

on 7 November 2012

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Transcript of Medieval Alchemy

By: Alexandra Elias Medieval Alchemy Alchemy was a philosophical tradition that contributed to science while incorporating religious beliefs.

The introduction of alchemy came with the completion and translation of the Arabic "Book of the Composition of Alchemy"
-This book also brought along new words that had no English translation, such as alcohol and elixir. What WAS Alchemy? There were 3 main reasons a person would study alchemy: Chrysopoeia, also known as transmutation of gold, was the main reason people wanted to study alchemy.

They wanted to find a way to turn simple, ordinary metals into pure gold.

However, to this day, no one has been able to successfully transmute gold. Transmutation of gold Others wanted to find the elixir of life.

It was believed that this elixir could bring immortality and great health to the person who used it. Elixir of Life This legendary stone is said to be able transmute gold from basic materials and bring youth those who hold it.

So basically, just having it gives you everything you want. The Philosopher's Stone "The Alchymist, In Search of the Philosophers' Stone" by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1771. Alchemy was a hated job, so not many people did it willingly. However, the idea of being able to make gold out of nothing facinated many, including the King. In fact, even though the creation of gold during this time was illegal, the King handed special permits for certain individuals wanting to do it. Who did it? A few alchemists, however, didn't study alchemist for any of these things. Instead, they used alchemy as a way to purify themselves by eliminating the "base" of themselves and achieving "gold of enlightenment". Everyone must've loved alchemists...right? WRONG.
In fact, alchemy was viewed down upon.
The Medieval Church viewed it with suspicion because its origins predated Christianity, and they also thought that practicing alchemy was like treading into God's domain.
Some famous poets, such as ante and Chaucer, called alchemists thieves and liars. Born in 1220
Died in 1292
Believed that alchemy was based on science and mathematics instead of magic and religion.
This was unheard of since everything during this time period revolved around religion.
Credited with creating gunpowder Roger Bacon Nicolas Flamel Born in 1330
Married his wife, Perenelle
Taught philosophy and theology
Not entirely an alchemist, but he was interested in the Philosopher's Stone.
He CLAIMED to have found the elixir of youth, making him and his wife immortal (He died in 1418).
Some people claimed that he could control the weather. There were no set rules for alchemy; each person had his own method.
Usually, however, experiments were made using observations and theories. How was this done? Every alchemist kept track of his research in a journal.
However, it was written in code so that no one else could decipher it (this is why a lot of work from this time has been lost).
It wasn't unusual to see strange symbols in the journal. Research Much of the equipment used for alchemy is still used today
Examples: beakers, tongs, and burners, and flasks

This is what a typical alchemy lab looked like: Equipment Alchemy has molded modern chemistry, though much if it was based on religion and spiritual beliefs.
In addition to gunpowder, new materials were made and discovered, such as nitric acid, sulfuric acid, and hydrochloric acid.
It also brought water distillation to Europe. Contributions of Alchemy: Works Cited: "Alchemy." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Oct. 2012. Web. 27 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alchemy>.
Obrist, Barbara. "Visualization in Medieval Alchemy." Visualization in Medieval Alchemy. 2003. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www.hyle.org/journal/issues/9-2/obrist.htm>.
"Nicholas Flamel: The Immortal French Alchemist." Nicholas Flamel: The Immortal French Alchemist. The Alchemy Website. Web. 07 Nov. 2012. <http://www.alchemylab.com/flamel.htm>.
Hackett, Jeremiah, "Roger Bacon", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2012/entries/roger-bacon/>.
Dooling, D. M. "What Is Alchemy? A Look at the History and Principles of Personal Transformation." What Is Alchemy? A Look at the History and Principles of Personal Transformation. Alchemy Lab. Web. 07 Nov. 2012. <http://www.alchemylab.com/what_is_alchemy.htm>.
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