• Transmutation Theory in the Greek Alchemical Corpus

    Author(s):
    Olivier Dufault (see profile)
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    Alchemy, Late Antiquity
    Subject(s):
    Alchemical allegory, Alchemy
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Greek alchemy, Olympiodorus of Alexandria, transmutation, Zosimus of Panopolis
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/6h4g-hs13
    Abstract:
    This paper studies transmutation theory as found in the texts attributed to Zosimus of Panopolis,“the philosopher Synesius,” and “the philosopher Olym-piodorus of Alexandria.” It shows that transmutation theory (i.e. a theory explain-ing the complete transformation of substances) is mostly absent from the work attributed to these three authors. The text attributed to Synesius describes a gilding process, which is similar to those described by Pliny and Vitruvius. The commentary attributed to Olympiodorus is the only text studied here thatdescribes something similar to a transmutation theory. It is unclear, however, if this was a theory of transmutation or if the writer meant something more like the literal meaning of the word “ekstrophê,” a term used to describe the transformation of metals, as the “turning inside-out” of what is hidden in a substance. A similar conception of ekstrophê can be found in the works of Zosimus, who discussed transmutation to make an analogy with self-purification processes,which, from the perspective of his own anthropogony, consisted in the“turning inside-out”of the“inner human” (esô anthrôpos).
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name:pdf dufault-transmutation-theory-in-the-greek-alchemical-corpus.pdf
     Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 309