Alchemy is a study which combines chemistry, physics, medicine, astrology, metallurgy, mysticism and art. Alchemy was practised in ancient Egypt, India, China, ancient Greece, and Rome and in Europe – in schools to the end of the 19th century. Alchemy is not a science any more. It was one of main ancestors of modern sciences. Some things that the alchemists learned about were important for other sciences, like chemistry, metallurgy. Alchemy is very interesting for historian of science and philosophy because of its mystical and art aspect.
Alchemists were considered to be charlatans, blackleg and madmen because of their believes, that space is composed of 4 main elements – air, fire, water and soil, they created different drugs, poisons, and magical elixirs..
Ambitions of alchemists are marked as Opus Magnum – big opus/task/work. The most known objects of hunt of alchemists:
Creating of nostrum (panacea) – it could be called as “drinkable gold” which could eliminates diseases. This drug may have affected as regenerator.
Looking for philosopher’s stone – it could eliminate diseases and elongates life and changes common metals to gold – we can find this theme in many books – Harry Potter.
They tried to create gold and silver from common metals.
They were looking for materia prima. It is very old substance which is everywhere – in each substance - universal substance. From materia prima alchemist could create each substance – gold. From this matter all opposites are created – up/down, man/woman. Alchemists wanted to join these opposites and form androgynous.
Alkahest – or alkali est is universal dissolvent which could dissolve all matters (bottle in which is placed, too).
At the beginning of the 18th century was alchemy considered to be respectable science. Isaac Newton spread a lot of time by studying and describing of alchemy – more than by optic and physics. I think that the most known alchemist is Nicolas Flamel. He was a graffer. One day some man sold him a book. This book was written by cipher text. He thought that there is written how to prepare gold. However, he was not sure. He and his wife Perenella tried to resolve it for 20 years but without any effects.
Nobody could help him to resolve text. He decided to travel to Spain (book was from Spain) and when he came back, he became very rich. He gave money for hospitals, orphans, poor families...
Perenella, died in 1397 and Nicolas continued in alchemy and notation of his experiments. Nicolas Flamel died on 22. March 1417 and he was buried in near of his house in church of St. Jacob.
Can we believe that he created gold from common metal or philosopher´s stone?? Did he travel to Spain? Or did he lie? After his death burglars entered his house. They were looking for gold but there was nothing – no gold, any philosopher´s stone – they found big nothing. So they decided to open Flamel´s casket because they thought that philosopher´s stone could be there. However, there wasn´t philosopher´s stone and there wasn´t Flamel, too!!!!!!!! Some people thought that he created elixir of life and he lived with his wife together. Some officer said that they lived in India and in 1761 somebody saw them in Paris´ opera.
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Nicolas Flamel - Alchemy
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