Synopses & Reviews
Alchemy, whose beginnings and#8212; possibly in Egypt, Babylon, India, or China and#8212; 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 and#8212; such as the search for the ever-elusive philosopher's stone and#8212; 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.
Well-researched study traces history of alchemy, chronicling search for philosopher's stone and elixir of life, alchemist's laboratory and apparatus, symbols and secret alphabets, famous practitioners, plus contributions to field of chemistry. Concise, authoritative. Unabridged reprint of the classic 1932 edition. 77 black-and-white illustrations, 31 plates.
Table of Contents
I. THE DAWN OF ALCHEMY
II. THE ROMANCE OF THE SEVEN METALS
III. THE DIVINE ART IN THE NEAR EAST
IV. THE MYSTERY OF THE EMERALD TABLET
V. THE INFLUENCE OF ASTROLOGY ON ALCHEMY
VI. THE GREEK ALCHEMISTS
VII. ALCHEMY IN CHINA AND INDIA
VIII. THE ARABIAN ALCHEMISTS
IX. THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE AND ELIXIR OF LIFE
X. FAMOUS ALCHEMISTS OF MEDIEVAL TIMES
XI. ENGLISH ALCHEMISTS OF THE MIDDLE AGES
XII. ALCHEMY IN THE TIME OF JOHN GOWER AND GEOFFREY CHAUCER
XIII. THE ALCHEMIST'S LABORATORY AND HIS APPARATUS
XIV. ALCHEMICAL SYMBOLS AND SECRET ALPHABETS
XV. SOME NOTABLE ALCHEMICAL MANUSCRIPTS
XVI. ALCHEMISTS AND ROYALTY
XVII. ALCHEMISTS IN FORTUNE AND MISFORTUNE
XVIII. FAMOUS ALCHEMISTS OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
XIX. CÆTANO AND BORRI
XX. ALCHEMISTS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
XXI. "BEN JONSON'S "ALCHEMIST" AND OTHER QUACKS"
XXII. THE ROSICRUCIANS AND ALCHEMY
XXIII. MORE ALCHEMISTS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
XXIV. THE LAST OF THE ALCHEMISTS
XXV. THE DAWN OF THE SCIENTIFIC CHEMISTRY
XXVI. ALCHEMY AND GOLD-MAKERS IN MODERN TIMES
XXVII. WHAT WE OWE TO THE ALCHEMISTS