Arabic Alchemy

Topics: Alchemy, Geber, Classical element Pages: 4 (1325 words) Published: September 28, 2011
Arabic Alchemy
The origins of Arabic alchemy date back to the 7th century, when the Arabs started their territorial expansion. From India to Andalusia, empire and influence was drawn to the Arabs as a result of their expansion. Also included in their expansion were the contacts with ancient cultural traditions, which the Arabic culture absorbed and reinterpreted very readily. Alchemy had been practiced in ancient Greece, and Hellenistic Egypt, so when the Arabs expanded to Egypt, they found a strong alchemical tradition. Arabic alchemy relied on the doctrines derived from the multicultural milieu of Hellenistic Egypt. By the later part of the 8th century, Arabic knowledge of alchemy was at its peak, so a huge and impressive book about alchemical works was produced. However, even though lots of valuable information was known about alchemy, lots of information was also a mystery. The origins of alchemy are steeped in legend. The etymology for the word "alchemy" is still foggy and unclear, but there are some predictions about where the word could have come from. One of the most plausible origins for the word comes from the Egyptian word "Kam-it", or "Kem-it," which indicate the Land of Egypt, also known as the Black Land. The other less likely origins for the word are from the Greek word, khumeia or khemeia, meaning the art of melting metals and of producing alloys, or the Hebrew term, Kim Yah, meaning "divine science." Some alchemists thought that the mythological origins of alchemy could be attributed to the angels who fled from God, to go to the other biblical characters who could teach them the secrets of mining and metals. This idea helped dignify the origins of alchemy, so it wouldn’t be persecuted due o its close relation to magic. Other than the origins of alchemy, there were also many contributions from alchemy. Arabic alchemists contributed greatly to the history of alchemy. These alchemists a offered the very earliest descriptions of some of the...
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