Tuesday, 6 September 2005

Alchemists - the First Chemists

Alchemists believed that one substance could be canged into another. The Greek god Hermes was supposed to have started alchemy so it was called the Hermetic art and practised widely by the Greeks and Romans of the 3d century AD. When the Arabs conquered much of the East they developed the principles of alchemy even further and passed on to the medieval West via Spain.

According to Roger Bacon, alchemy is "...a Science teaching how to transform any kind of metal in to another...". It is not surprising therefore to find out that the main focus for the alchemist was to transform any metal in to gold. Because alchemists believed that everything in the world can be perfected they were attracted to the idea of making everything as perfect as it was in the Garden of Eden. Clearly their beliefs were strongly influenced by Christian thinking. Because they saw gold as being the perfect metal, they felt that all metals must be slowly changing into gold. Their intervention was seen as giving God a helping hand.

4 comments:

John Doom said...

Watched a show on Modern Marvels which discussed Alchemists and the introduction of paint. It's really interesting to find that they somehow discovered to place lead in a dual chambered clay pot above vinegar, and dung surrounding the outside of the pot to create white lead pigment.

media scum said...

On the same thread, there is some evidence of ancient civilizations developing some kind of primitive battery. I wonder if this was an accidental by product of dabbling in early alchemy ?

Meatbag said...

There is a bit of controversy surrounding the subject, but some claim that the Bagdad Battery was used for electroplating. Which brings us back to alchemy. If you can't change lead to gold, at least you can electroplate it so it looks like gold.

Also, technically the alchemists were right. You can change one substance into another, as we do in nuclear reactions. But it's probably good that they never figured out how, since it releases quite a bit of energy.

Please keep it up Alterior. I'm both fascinated and infatuated at this point. I love a woman with big lobes.

Lara Kim said...

Hey my name is chris im wrighting a science exam tomorrow and need to find out as much info as i can for what was the first chemist name who named it y did the name it that what were they using what did they make how did they make it im a 16 year old boy i go to gorge campbell high school really enjoy my science and history please if any one who has info for me please email me on chrisprobert0910@gmail.com