The 3rd century BC to the 16th century AD were dominated by Alchemy. The word Alchemy comes from Arabic and means AL-Khemy, The chemistry.
It began in the 3rd century BC in Alexandria, the center of convergence of the time and recreation of Greek-Pythagorean, Stoic, Egyptian and Eastern traditions.
There are three mixtures of currents in Alchemy: Greek philosophy, Eastern mysticism, and Egyptian technology.
In metallurgy, they achieved their great success, which was the production of papyrus and laboratory apparatus. However, they did not achieve their main goal which was the philosopher's stone and turning metals into gold.
Alchemy had a mystical character that came from the occult sciences of Mesopotamia, Persia, Chaldea, Egypt, and Syria. It had an air of legend and mystery.
Two thousand years before our present age, the Babylonians and the Egyptians sought to synthesize gold and turn metals into gold. At this time, it was held in secrecy because it was considered an occult science.
It had a strong influence on the oriental sciences and alchemists began to attribute supernatural properties to plants, letters, stones, geometric figures, and the numbers that were used as an amulet, such as 3, 4, and 7.
Alchemy combined chemistry, physics, astrology, philosophy, art, metallurgy, medicine, mysticism and religion.
Alchemists used magic formulas and recitations to invoke gods and demons favorable to chemical operations.
During the Middle Ages, many alchemists were accused of having a pact with the devil. For this reason, they were arrested, excommunicated and burned alive at the stake by the Inquisition of the Catholic Church. To this day, the use of sulfur is associated with the devil.
Many of the alchemists' manuscripts were made incomprehensible to those who did not know her. This was done because the alchemists wanted to hide more than reveal their findings.
Some of his discoveries are still used today, such as soap making, techniques such as distillation and the discovery of new metals and components.
The main purposes of Alchemy were:
- turn metals such as mercury and lead into gold or silver;
- prepare the elixir of long life, a panacea that cures all ills and develops youth.
- to transform the spiritual of the fallen man alchemist into a perfect creature.
For the Chinese, their goal was to achieve immortality. They believed that gold was immortal because it reacted with almost nothing.
They made elixirs containing arsenic, sulfur and mercury. Many emperors died poisoned thinking they were taking the elixir of long life.
One of the most significant alchemists was the Frenchman Nicolás Flamel. There is no confirmation, but he must have been born in the year 1330.
Flamel probably had alchemical writings in his hands to copy, but he had never aroused interest in alchemy. Until one day, according to what he wrote, when he was deeply asleep, an angel appeared to him, holding in his hand an ancient book.
Flamel - said the angel - take a good look at this book. You will not be able to understand it; neither you nor anyone. But there will come a day when you will be able to see something no one will see.
With this dream and the influence of some alchemists he came to know over time, he practiced and wrote many works about Alchemy and especially accounts of his search for the philosopher's stone.
The alchemist died on March 22, 1418. Then his house was looted by treasure hunters and people who wanted to find the philosopher's stone or recipes for their preparation.Continues after advertising
Legend has it that Flamel and his wife did not die, because in their tomb were found only their clothes instead of their bodies. They say they had seen both of them three centuries later very well in India.
Alchemy involved a lot of mystery and secrets. At the time it was not accepted as science, it was seen as witchcraft.
The philosopher's stone has never been found and we don't even know how to turn metals into gold.
But Alchemy was important for the advancement of chemistry as a science, as until today methods of obtaining some elements and compounds are used.