By alchemy is understood the whole system of transformation of metals and the human spirit, existing in various systems. It must be said that alchemy was able to give impetus to the development of many modern sciences, mainly chemistry. Many scientists of the past were persistent in their work by researchers who were looking for hidden opportunities, including the spirit in every inorganic grain of matter.
Alchemy included not only a banal search for gold, this science was nourished by the ideas of Gnosticism, which, formally, before oblivion of the Renaissance, was in oblivion. Carl Jung suggested that alchemical philosophy was in fact protopsychology, aimed at achieving the individual’s individuality. So the most famous alchemists were outstanding people of their time, intelligent and multifaceted. These individuals will be discussed below. Albert the Great (1193-1280).
Maitre was born in the wealthy family of Count von Bolshtedt. Legends say that as a child, Albert’s success in school was rather modest. Nobody even thought that in the future he would become one of the most prominent scientists. The miracle that happened to the young man explains this transformation. Entering the Order of Dominicans Albert was the Virgin Mary, who asked him for a clear mind and prosperity in philosophy. In that era of endless wars, monasteries were a quiet place where one could cultivate. Although Maitre Albert and treated the Dominicans, he received considerable indulgence in the observance of the statute. To the scientist could engage in research, he was even allowed to use his personal capital. After spending several years in Cologne, Albert moved to Paris. There, to obtain a master’s degree, he begins to give lectures that are very successful. Albert was not only a philosopher, he is distinguished by universality. Albert studied plants, minerals, animals. He left work on inorganic chemistry, which far ahead of time. His name includes five alchemical tracts that have survived to this day. The most famous and so called – “On Alchemy.” The favorite disciple of Albert the Great from 1244 is Thomas Aquinas, who is present at the experiments on obtaining gold. The Alchemist is credited with many miracles, tales have been written about him. At the end of life, the scientist lost his memory and locked himself in a monastic ket. When Albert died, all of Cologne wore mourning clothes. In 1931, a scientist, philosopher, alchemist and sorcerer was officially canonized by Rome. Arnoldo de Villanova (1240-1311).
The great scientist received an excellent education. Classical science he studied in Aix-en-Provence, in Montpellier – medicine, then was the Sorbonne. Among the close acquaintances of Arnoldo were the English monk Roger Bacon, the author of the Mirror of Alchemy, and Albert the Great. I must say that de Villanova was jealous of his Dominican counterpart, who had much more opportunities for experiments. After finishing his studies, Arnoldo traveled all over Europe, becoming a popular and expensive doctor. However, unusual techniques and free talk led to persecution by the church authorities. Strange potions, amulets, hypnosis – all this indicated a connection with the evil forces. In medicine, the scientist used gold as a universal medicine, not disdaining to use the achievements of alchemy (mercury, salt, sulfur compounds). De Villanova’s life differed from religious alchemists, like Albert the Great, Roger Bacon or Thomas Aquinas. Teaching at the University of Paris, Arnoldo makes such bold speeches that the inquisition became alarmed. Speaking of alchemy, it is worth noting that a scientist is considered one of those who really managed to create a philosopher’s stone. This is indicated in his treatise “Great Beads”, however, historical confirmation does not exist. Arnoldo claimed that he managed to convert lead to gold. After the death of the scientist, the church decided to condemn him. Most of de Villanova’s writings were burned, and friendship with the pontiff did not help either.It is unclear today, what kind of works from the surviving ones, in fact, belong to the master. Raymond Lully (1235-1314).
In addition to the official history of alchemy, there is also a more reliable, oral, transmitted through generations of adepts. Raymond Lully is considered one of the greatest alchemists of all time. Official history is disputing. The fact is that shortly before his death, in 1311, the scientist released something like an autobiography, which indicated a list of all his works. Alchemical tracts were not found there. But for reasons of a religious nature, Lully preferred not to advertise this side of his activities. The scientist was born into a wealthy family and devoted all his youth to amorous adventures. However, his next passion, showing his eaten disease, called for the ministry of Christ, who can give an eternal reward. This, as well as mystical visions of a religious nature, so shocked Lully that he promised to devote his life to serving the Lord. In 1289, the theologian joined Alchemy Arnoldo de Villanova. Legends say that in London, at the request of King Edward, the alchemist made transmutation of metals, creating gold for six million pounds. The Franciscan monk traveled a lot, he learned Arabic, wrote works on physics and astrology. In addition to the activities of the alchemist Lulli did a lot to spread Christianity, founded many educational institutions. It is said that the gold coins created by him still exist, their name is Raymundini. Legends say that the alchemist could even get the elixir of immortality, but refused to accept it.
It is believed that this pseudonym belonged to a certain monk from the Benedictine monastery in German Erfurt. Valentine, without a doubt, is one of the most famous alchemists. True, it is rumored that his texts actually belong to a whole group of authors. Nevertheless, his treatises are most often translated and reprinted. Valentin’s authority as a scientist is also high. His name is mentioned in connection with many chemical discoveries. The alchemist is also a rather mysterious person. During his life, Valentine’s works were not published. According to legend, in the middle of the 15th century, several dozen years after the death of a scientist, one of the columns in the Erfurt Cathedral suddenly split. They found alchemical tracts belonging to the Benedictine, including the famous “Twelve keys to philosophy.” Nevertheless, the monk scientist did exist. From his works, you can find out even some facts about the biography of Valentine. In his youth he visited England and Belgium, contemporaries recalled him as a great scientist in the field of medicine and natural sciences. Vasily Valentin was able to open the antimony and clearly identify the third alchemical element – salt. They wrote that the monk outlined the soul of metal, which he called sulfur, substances – salts and spirit – mercury much more clearly than others. The famous maxim of the alchemist reads: “Penetrate properly into the depths of the earth, and you will find a hidden stone, a true potion.” The first letters of this saying in Latin are the word “vitriol”. This name Valentine gave the secret salt and the solvent used in his magisterium. Many principles of the alchemist were borrowed later and Paracelsus.
This famous physician is as famous as an alchemist. He was one of the first physicians began to consider the current in the human body from the point of view of chemistry. Although many deny the role of Paracelsus, as an alchemist, nevertheless some scientist used alchemical methods to obtain medicines. Born Paracelsus in 1493 in Switzerland, his pseudonym consists of two parts. The Greek word “para” means almost, and Celsus was a Roman physician of the 5th century, which, in the opinion of the scientist, was inferior to him in mastery. Having received education in several universities, the doctor traveled through Europe, healing mainly through natural means. In 1527 Paracelsus received the title of doctor and professor of medicine in Basel.There, he prominently burned the books of such authorities as Aristotle and Galen, whose ideas were obsolete. Paracelsus boldly went against the traditions, developing their own methods. He was helped by experience and mysticism. The scientist believed that magic can give the doctor more than all the books. Paracelsus devoted a lot of time to the search for a philosopher’s stone, but believed that he can not turn metals into gold. He needed the alchemist to give the elixir of immortality and to prepare miracle cures. I must say that this point of view has become a turning point from alchemy to chemistry. Alchemy of Paracelsus is the chemistry of life, a science accessible to everyone. You just have to be able to use it. A person endowed with reason can create something that nature would have gone on for many years. Also, Paracelsus predicted modern homeopathy. The present medicine in general owes much to this scientist. He openly ridiculed the theory that put epileptics obsessed with the devil. The scientist himself claimed that he could create a philosopher’s stone and will live forever. But Paracelsus died at the age of 48, falling from a height.
Nikola Flamel (1330-1418).
France has always been famous for its alchemists, but this adept was the most glorified. Flamel was born into a poor family, at an early age he went to Paris to become a clerk. Marrying a middle-aged woman, Nikola obtained capital and opened two workshops. Such a marriage allowed Flamel to join the ranks of the petty bourgeoisie. He decided to go in for books. Rewriting them, the Frenchman became interested in alchemical works. The beginning of the career was a dream in which the scribe appeared an angel and showed a book in which hidden secrets are still hidden. Flamel himself in his work “Interpretation of hieroglyphic signs” told how an ancient big book came to him. Nikola understood little then about primary matter, nor about the method of obtaining a philosopher’s stone. Flamel was convinced that he was going to realize his prophetic dream. Nikola began to study texts and figures, to his secret occupation, he even attracted his wife. The secret of primary matter Flamel received either through pilgrimage, or initiation and assistance of another alchemist. Three years later, according to the scientist in his basement, he was able to get a philosopher’s stone, thanks to him mercury was turned into silver. Soon the alchemist transmutes the gold. Since 1382 Flamel begins to grow rich fabulously. He buys houses and land, builds chapels and hospitals. Alchemist donates money and is engaged in charity. About the unexpected wealth Flamel learned even King Charles VI, but with the help of bribes, the alchemist managed to convince everyone of his poverty. In 1418 the death of a rich artisan was recorded. But only his story did not end so easily. Traveler Paul Luke, who lived in the XVII century, heard from a certain dervish that he knew Paul Flamel. Allegedly, the alchemist, having learned the secret of the philosopher’s stone, discovered the secret of immortality. Fascinated by death, he and his wife began to travel the world, moving to India as a result. Bernardo, Kind from Treviso (1406-1490).
This alchemist deserves special mention among other adepts. This graph of a small Italian border state, obeying Venice, began its work at the age of 14. And the philosopher’s stone was found to them only in 82 years. Bernardo was brought to the mysterious alchemy by his father, who gave the opportunity to study ancient compositions. Following the advice of his predecessors, the young count spent several years and a lot of money, but he did not succeed. The first series of experiments took 15 years of life and most of the capital, but the success did not happen. Following the advisers of one official, Bernardo five years evaporated the crystals of the philosopher’s stone. The poor alchemist tried many ways, turned to various treatises, but all was in vain. By 46 years from the former wealth of the Count, almost nothing remained. The next 8 years, he, along with the monk Geoffroy de Levreux, tried to isolate the primary matter from chicken eggs.Having failed, Bernardo began to travel around Europe, trying to find the true adept. The alchemist was in search of a secret, even in Persia, Palestine and Egypt. At 62, Bernardo was in Greek Rhodes, without money and friends, but in the confidence that the solution is close. The alchemist even took money to continue experiments with another scientist, who knew the secret of the philosopher’s stone. According to the legend, even before his death, the secret was opened by Bernardo. He also managed to unravel the mystery of a serene life – you just had to be content with what you have. The works of Bernardo are full of allegories, they are understandable only to these practical alchemists. The good fellow from Treviso could perfectly study the theory of the Master’s degree, which he paid to him at the end of his life. Denis Zasher (1510-1556).
The real name of this adept remains unknown. He was born in Gieni in 1510 in a noble family. Having received education in the castle of his parents, Zasher went to study philosophy in Bordeaux. His mentor was a certain alchemist, who introduced to this occupation a young curious person. Instead of academic disciplines at the university, Zasher searched for transmutation recipes. Together with his mentor, he moved to the University of Bordeaux, allegedly for the right. In fact, the couple tried in practice to check their recipes. Money from the future adept quickly ran out, flying away literally into a pipe. At the age of 25, Zasher returned home, but only to pledge his property. With unsuccessful experiences, money quickly melted. Once again laying the property, Zasher went to Paris. There he was surprised to find about a hundred practicing alchemists. Several years the scientist spent alone, studying the works of ancient philosophers. Finally, in 1550, Zasher managed to get gold from mercury. The Alchemist thanked the Lord and vowed to use this gift exclusively in his glory. Zasher sold his property and distributed debts. He moved to Switzerland, and then to Germany, where he intended to lead a quiet and peaceful life. However, a relative of Zasher killed him in a dream, escaping with his young wife. Edward Kelly (1555-1597).
The real name of this Englishman is Talbot. Parents dreamed of seeing him as a notary, which is why they sent him to study law and the Old English language. However, the young man was carried away deciphering ancient manuscripts. Kelly learned to forge old letters, doing fraud. However, he was quickly caught, sentenced to ejection and cutting off his ears. The disgraced Talbot decided to change his name. In Wales, Kelly unexpectedly found an ancient manuscript, which spoke of gold and transmutation of metals. The document was bought for a pittance along with the mysterious powder that was in the box with the paper. But Kelly, having studied the document, quickly realized that his insignificant knowledge of chemistry would not even allow us to understand the terms. Returning secretly to London, Edward calls for the cooperation of his friend, John Dee, a well-known and still occultist. After studying the powder, friends found that he is able to turn lead into gold! Dee and Kelly entered the confidence of the Poles Laski, continuing their experiments at his home in Krakow. There were no results, in 1585 the alchemists moved to Prague. There Kelly conducted a series of public transmutations that stunned the city. He became idols of the secular public, a welcome guest at receptions. Under the charm of a wonderful powder, even Emperor Maximilian II, who made Kelly Marshal, fell. Only here adept Kelly himself did not, I use the old reserves, bought together with the manuscript. Bragging brought the collapse closer. The emperor ordered the alchemist to produce a few pounds of magic powder when Kelly could not do this, he was put in jail. Did not help, and a loyal friend of John Dee, an appeal to the Queen of England. When trying to escape from the fortress Kelly fell and broke his legs and ribs. These injuries became fatal for him. Although the alchemist was not a real scientist, but rather a clever fraudster, there are a lot of evidence in his history of his marvelous transformation of metals into gold.
Little is known about this Scotsman, until recently his work was generally attributed to another, Michael Sendivog. It was to him Seton before his death that he gave a little powder, which he began to demonstrate, posing as an adept of Cosmopolitan and author of the treatise “The New Light of Chemistry.” The first mention of him belongs to the beginning of the XVII century. Seton by that time was already well-established alchemists. In 1602, he showed his friends in Germany transmutation of an unknown metal into gold. It is not clear only where the Setok learned his art. It is also worth noting his disinterestedness. Wherever he went, propagating alchemy, his experiments ended in a marvelous transformation. The scientist at the same time cared not about enrichment, but about the conviction of doubters. Created Seton precious metals even simply handed out to unbelievers. At that time the adepts changed the vector of their action. Their actions cease to be directed at themselves. Seton became a missionary of his science, which was then quite a dangerous occupation. Cosmopolitan traveled around Germany, not giving out his real name. After all, he was hunted by the church, and greedy monarchs. In the end, the young cossack of Saxony Christian II, not satisfied with a small portion of the powder, ordered to grab the alchemist and demanded from him to reveal the secret of the philosopher’s stone. Seton refused to do this. In Dresden at the time was Sendivog, who asked the kurfyusta to allow him a meeting with Cosmopolitan. The Alchemist promised to tell his secret in exchange for salvation. Sendivog sold the property, bribed the soldier and stole the scientist. Dying from the wounds received because of torture, Seton still refused to tell his secret. Sendivog went to the wife of an alchemist and a little powder, and later part of the glory. Treat Seton “New Light of Alchemy” Sendivog released already in his own name.
About this alchemist, who lived in France in the middle of the XVIII century, for a long time no one knew anything. Only in 1963 Vernar Husson told the story of Zephild in his “Alchemical Studies”. The alchemist was written by those people who could not be suspected of lying, besides, they received all the information at first hand. Zepheld was born in Austria in the second half of the 18th century. From an early age, he became interested in alchemy and the search for a philosopher’s stone. His unsuccessful attempts provoked a wave of ridicule, so the scientist had to leave the country. He returned to the country of Zefeld only after 10 years, settling in the small town of Rodau. There he demonstrated to his master and his family in appreciation of the transmutation of tin into gold. Soon the whole city knew that they had a real alchemist. Quiet life did not last long – the gendarmes from Vienna appeared. In the capital, everyone noticed that Zephild has a lot of gold. The alchemist was accused of fraud and deceit and sentenced to life imprisonment in the fortress. Over time, Emperor Franz I decided to pardon the scientist, but demanded that he continue the experiments exclusively for him alone. Having proved his skills, the alchemist nevertheless fled from Austria. He began to lead a wandering life, he was seen in Amsterdam and Halle. Over time, Sefeld disappeared into thin air. It is unclear whether he was an adept or a real alchemist. Perhaps during the years of wandering, he just met another master, who gave him a wonderful powder. Perhaps Sefeld repeated the fate of Sendivog – having a philosophical stone, and not learning to create it.
This person is one of the most mysterious in history. He was born in England, presumably in 1612. This follows from the fact that when writing his main work in 1645, Philaret was not yet 33 years old. Early years Filaret spent in North America, where he became friends with the druggist Starkey. In his presence, the alchemist conducted experiments, creating a lot of gold and silver. The alchemist is similar to Cosmopolitan in that he broke into History, already possessing a full knowledge of the hidden mystery.In the book “The open entrance to the King’s private palace,” Filaret himself says that he is trying to help those who are lost in the labyrinth of delusions. This work was intended to illuminate the path to those who want it. By his work the alchemist wanted to teach people to create pure gold, since the worship of this metal leads to vanity and luxury. The treatise was to make gold and silver the usual thing. It was said that the alchemist demonstrated his talents to the very English King Charles I. At the same time, Filaret’s powder had amazing power. In 1666, the alchemist appeared in Amsterdam, instructing him to translate his work into Latin. At the same time, Filaret claimed that he possessed so much of a philosopher’s stone, which is enough to create 20 tons of gold. The end of the life of the alchemist is even less known than about its beginning. He just disappeared. Many believe that Filaret used the philosopher’s stone to create a drug of immortality. It was even said afterwards that Eireney Filaret and the Earl of Saint-Germain were the same person. And the treatise of the alchemist was very appreciated even by Isaac Newton himself, leaving many notes on the margins of the book.