What is Alchemy?

17 Jan

I took down snippets from what was mentioned during the episodes of Arabic Science.

Alchemy is involved in coin making (through the making of alloys), tile making, glass making, weapon making and how to distill alcohol. There is a detailed description on how soap making emerged and the presence of Alkali which comes from the Arabic word of Al-Khali (ashes of roots of certain plants). Islamic chemist discovered ways to change the colour of glass using manganese. The distillation of perfumes in the middle east.

Alchemy, originally derived from the Ancient Greek word khemia (Χημεία – in Modern Greek) meaning “art of transmuting metals”, later arabicized as Arabic word al-kimia (الكيمياء, ALA-LC: al-kīmiyā’), is both a philosophy and an ancient practice focused on the attempt to change base metals into gold, investigating the preparation of the “elixir of longevity”, and achieving ultimate wisdom, involving the improvement of the alchemist as well as the making of several substances described as possessing unusual properties.[1] The practical aspect of alchemy can be viewed as a protoscience, having generated the basics of modern inorganic chemistry, namely concerning procedures, equipment and the identification and use of many current substances.

Alchemy has been practiced in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), India, Persia (modern Iran), China, Japan, Korea, the classical Greco-Roman world, the medieval Islamic world, and then medieval Europe up to the 20th and 21st centuries, in a complex network of schools and philosophical systems spanning at least 2,500 years.

Source : Wikipedia

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