Read e-book online Alchemy and Alchemists PDF

By Sean Martin

ISBN-10: 1904048625

ISBN-13: 9781904048626

Alchemy has characteristically been considered as 'the historical past of an error', an instance of mediaeval gullibility and greed, within which alchemists attempted to show lead into gold, create terrific wealth and locate the elixir of lifestyles. yet alchemy has additionally been defined as 'the mightiest mystery guy can possess', and it obsessed the likes of Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and plenty of of the founders of recent technological know-how. This publication explores the background of the so-called Royal artwork, from its mysterious beginnings in Egypt and China, in the course of the Hellenistic international and the early years of Islam and into mediaeval Europe. many of the maximum minds of the center a while, figures resembling Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon and Thomas Aquinas have been interested in alchemy, and mythical alchemists similar to Nicholas Flamel have been notion to have truly succeeded find The Philosopher's Stone. in the course of the Renaissance, Paracelsus and his fans helped revolutionise medication, and through the 17th century, alchemy performed a tremendous function in paving the way in which for contemporary technological know-how. in the course of the 20th century, it turned a spotlight of curiosity for the psychologist Carl Jung and his fans, who believed that the alchemists had chanced on the subconscious. during this totally revised version, Sean Martin has increased the sections on chinese language and Indian alchemy and has extra new fabric at the courting among alchemy and early sleek technological know-how, whereas additionally creating a clean evaluation of this so much enduringly mysterious and engaging of topics, to which all others were defined as 'child's play'.

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The first name in European alchemy is that of Albertus Magnus (1193–1280), who was born in Lauingen in Swabia, and became a monk in 1223 when he joined the Dominicans in Padua. Although apparently not very tall, he became known as Albert the Great, the Doctor Universalis who excelled in all branches of learning. From 1228 to 1245 he taught at Freiburg, Ratisbon, Strasbourg and Cologne, before moving to Paris, where he taught St Thomas Aquinas and may have met Roger Bacon. • 54 • Alchemy 16/10/06 11:15 am Page 55 ALCHEMY IN THE WEST Like Jabir before him and Leonardo da Vinci after, Roger Bacon was a great polymath whose mind seems unfettered by the time he lived in.

Just as Hellenistic • 53 • Alchemy 16/10/06 11:15 am Page 54 ALCHEMY AND ALCHEMISTS alchemy flourished in the vibrant atmosphere of Alexandria in its heyday, so the West embraced alchemy in an atmosphere of renewed study, the so-called ‘Renaissance’ of the twelfth century. Most of Europe at the time the first translations were made was dominated by the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, who spent much of the century locked in conflict. Cities were expanding, and Europe’s economy was slowly becoming both urbanized and rationalized.

Just as Hellenistic • 53 • Alchemy 16/10/06 11:15 am Page 54 ALCHEMY AND ALCHEMISTS alchemy flourished in the vibrant atmosphere of Alexandria in its heyday, so the West embraced alchemy in an atmosphere of renewed study, the so-called ‘Renaissance’ of the twelfth century. Most of Europe at the time the first translations were made was dominated by the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, who spent much of the century locked in conflict. Cities were expanding, and Europe’s economy was slowly becoming both urbanized and rationalized.

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Alchemy and Alchemists by Sean Martin


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