Caterina Sforza’s Experiments with Alchemy

Caterina Sforza

She collected over four hundred alchemical, medicinal, and cosmetic recipes, and corresponded with other alchemical adepts about materials and laboratory techniques.

What is the Splendor Solis?

Splendor Solis

The most beautiful and well known illuminated alchemical manuscript in the world.

Pedlars and Alchemists in Friuli History of itinerant sellers in an alpine reality

Medieval shops

This short review discusses about itinerant sellers in Friuli, who are Cramaro called (XI-XIX centuries). Attention is focused, in particular, on the question if some of theme were alchemists.

Depicting the Medieval Alchemical Cosmos: George Ripley’s Wheel of Inferior Astronomy

Picture from a 1550 edition of On the Sphere of the World, the most influential astronomy textbook of 13th-century Europe.

Alchemical writing often develops the idea of a physical or analogical correspondence between heaven and earth: a relationship most fre- quently and conveniently expressed by the use of the seven planetary symbols (Sol, Luna, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) to denote the seven metals (usually gold, silver, quicksilver, copper, iron, tin and lead respectively).

Visualization in Medieval Alchemy

Medieval alchemy

Therefore, rather than attempting to establish an exhaustive inventory of visual forms in medieval alchemy or a premature synthesis, the purpose of this article is to sketch major trends in visualization and to exemplify them by their earliest appearance so far known.

The Rise of Alchemy in Fourteenth-Century England

The Rise of Alchemy in Fourteenth-Century England

However the alchemical source of the early fourteenth century also explicitly maintained that knowledge of the secret of secrets involved an understanding of the hidden forces within the earth, and this in turn would bring earthly power. The most obvious manifestation of this interest in alchemical secrets lay in the belief that controlled experimentation with mercury and sulphur could effect transmutation of base metals into gold.

Fools, Devils, and Alchemy: Secular Images in the Monastery

Klaštorisko monastery

The fool is one of the most popular and stable character types throughout cultures and times. This is especially true of medieval Europe. The fool, sometimes a jester, sometimes a clown or a trickster, is always recognizable through his abnormal appearance.

Understanding the Language of Alchemy

A 16th century alchemist at work in the ante-room of his laboratory, fixing a portion of his apparatus. On the table is his luting box and knife. His laboratory is visible through the window with various-sized stills.

The editing of medieval alchemical texts poses a number of challenges to the modern scholar.

Towards a Context for Ibn Umayl, Known to Chaucer as the Alchemist ‘Senior’

Medieval alchemist

his article will present what we know of the life and times of an important alchemist, Ibn Umayl.

Harley MS. 3469: Splendor Solis or Splendour of the Sun – A German Alchemical Manuscript

Splendor Solis - Splendour of the Sun manuscript

Splendor Solis oder Sonnenglanz is the title of an illuminated manuscript that can rightfully be called one of the principal works of the alchemical tradition (fig. 1). The text survives in many witnesses dating from the early sixteenth to the nineteenth century, of which Harl. MS. 3469 is definitely the most famous and best preserved example.

The Magic of Image: Astrological, Alchemical and Magical Symbolism at the Court of Wenceslas IV

Wenceslas IV, a statue on the Old-Town Bridge Tower by the Charles Bridge in Prague, CZ

The Czech Renaissance man of letters Vaclav Hajek of Libocany explained the representations of kingfishers and half naked bathmaidens that he saw painted on some Prague buildings, as records of saucy affairs from the life of the King Bohemia Wenceslas IV.

Contributions of contemporary science to Chaucer’s work

Canterbury Tales - Chaucer

The thesis shows that the Medieval Sciences made a significant contribution to Chaucer’s mind and art, and that Chaucer shared the attitude of great scholars before and after him

Technology and Alchemical Debate in the Late Middle Ages

Medieval alchemy

The medieval world view was marked by a deep division between art and nature. Stemming partly from Aristotle, and partlyfrom other Greek, Latin, and Arabic sources, this view placed strict boundaries on the conceptual limits of technical innovation.

Conference on ‘Alchemy and Medicine from Antiquity to the Enlightenment’ taking place at University of Cambridge

A 16th century alchemist at work in the ante-room of his laboratory, fixing a portion of his apparatus. On the table is his luting box and knife. His laboratory is visible through the window with various-sized stills.

The University of Cambridge is hosting an international conference – Alchemy and Medicine from Antiquity to the Enlightenment – which will include over 25 papes ranging from the ancient Greeks to the alchemical remedies of the fifteenth-century English royal physician John Argentein. The meeting will be the first of its kind to bring together leading […]

Adelard of Bath and Roger Bacon: early English natural philosophers and scientists


Adelard of Bath and Roger Bacon: early English natural philosophers and scientists Hackett, Jeremiah M. Endeavour, Vol. 26(2) 2002 Abstract The image of Roger Bacon as a ‘modern’ experimental scientist was propagated as historical truth in 19th century scientific historiography. Twentieth century criticisms attacked this tradition, arguing that Bacon was primarily a medieval philosopher with ‘medieval’ scientific […]

Ibn Wahshiyya and Magic

Abu Bakr Ibn Wahshiyya - Muslim Egyptologist

Ibn Wahshiyya and Magic Anaquel de Estudios Árabes X (1999) HÁMEEM-ANTTILA, JAAKKO Magic has always had a role to play in Islamie society’. Its use has often been condemned by religious scholars, yet the efficacy of magic has never been contested; the early tenth-century religious scholar al-Ash ‘arT (d. 324/936), to take but one example, wrote […]

Graeco-Egyptian Alchemy in Byzantium


The main concern of this paper will be with the problems raised by the reception of ancient alchemy in Byzantium.

A Previously Unidentified Fragment of ‘Pearce the Black Monke Upon the Elixir’ in MS. Mellon 43

16th c. manuscript

A Previously Unidentified Fragment of ‘Pearce the Black Monke Upon the Elixir’ in MS. Mellon 43 Timmermann, Anke Marginalia, Vol.1 (2005) Abstract Among the manuscripts of the Mellon collection, which now forms part of Yale University’s Beinecke Library holdings, there is an alchemical miscellany of a diversity not unusual for sixteenth-century notebooks. The four (ex)tracts […]

Islamic Alchemy and the Birth of Chemistry

Jabir ibn Hayyan, from a 15th c. European portrait of "Geber", Codici Ashburnhamiani 1166, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence

Examines the development of the science of chemistry in the Arabic world, from its religious and philosophical background, and focusing on two famous Islamic scholars – Jabir ibn Hayyan and Muhammad ibn Zakariyaa Razi.

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