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Alchemy

Lecture #4 in "The History of Magic for English Learners"
by

Ted Hand

on 16 August 2013

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Transcript of Alchemy

Maria the Prophetess - "bain marie" or alchemical bath heats metals evenly
Zosimos - Hermetic priest, texts include a "Vision"
Alchemy in Late Antiquity
*Translation of Greek Manuscripts into Arabic
*Khalid ibn Yazid (d.704)
*Emerald Tablet of Hermes
*Jabir Ibn Hayyan (d.815)
*Sulfur/Mercury school of matter theory
Alchemy in the Arabic World
Alchemy
Michael Maier's Atalanta Fugiens
Multimedia - fugues, images, poetry
Dense allegory -- not just about chemical operations but also about transmutation of the soul?
16th-17th Century: Emblems+Artisans
13th Century:
Geber - Translation/reworking of texts from Jabir ibn Hayyan's school
origins of corpuscular matter theory?
R.Bacon--artificial gold better than natural.
Power over nature?
Alchemy in Medieval Europe
Paracelsus
Empiricism vs. Authority
"Let the patient be your book."
Weight and Measure:
"The dose makes the Poison"
Using Alchemy to make medicines.
Emphasis on separation
Added third principle "salt" to Jabir's Sulpher-Mercury theory of matter.
"Paracelsians" built on his "bold" legacy and invented a whole mythical figure.
Vitalism vs. Mechanism, "Archeus"
Local knowledge - German Cures
Alchemical Processes
Distillation (making purified alcohol)
Separation - "Solve et Coagula"
Calcination - reduction by burning
Ablution - purification by washing
Coloration - adding a dye or tincture
Exaltation - raising to more perfect state
Fulmination - preparation of explosive
Fixation - make a volatile substance solid
Fumigation - exposure to corrosive smoke
Further Reading
*Alchemy not considered science because it was "practical" knowledge.
*Alchemy was dangerous: fire, exposure to toxic chemicals, legal trouble, financial risk

Alchemical Lab
Lawrence Principe
The Secrets of Alchemy
William R. Newman
Promethean Ambitions
Bruce Moran
Distilling Knowledge
http://www.alchemywebsite.com/alch-pro.html
Art of Transmutation
Origins of Chemistry?
Really just Spiritual?
Full transcript