Transmutation Theory in the Greek Alchemical Corpus

  title={Transmutation Theory in the Greek Alchemical Corpus},
  author={Olivier Dufault},
  pages={215 - 244}
  • Olivier Dufault
  • Published 2015
  • Philosophy, Medicine
  • Ambix
  • Abstract This paper studies transmutation theory as found in the texts attributed to Zosimus of Panopolis, “the philosopher Synesius,” and “the philosopher Olympiodorus of Alexandria.” It shows that transmutation theory (i.e. a theory explaining 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… CONTINUE READING


    Publications referenced by this paper.
    A and L have autoī toī botaioī. Elsewhere, the botarion appears to be the bottom part of a still (see CAAG 60 with MA cxxi)
      Aristote et l'alchimie grecque
        Building on the same (or similar) physical notions that made Heraclitus compare a beam of light to a "dry soul, excellent, and very wise
          Its meaning might be the same as kataspao. Ruelle and Berthelot translate it as "to extract" or "to pull out from
            Les alchimistes Gréco-alexandrins
              MA 10.7a-16a. Note that Mertens has published two different versions of this passage. I have here retained only one
                Other uses of dunamis and energeia in their Aristotelian sense can be found in the Summaries to Eusebeia
                  The bowl-altar is likened to an apparatus by the use of the term phile, a libation vessel
                    The opposition here would be between the slow cooking of the automatareion (a hapax, which Berthelot and Ruelle translated as "digesteur") and the fast cooking of an instrument with bellows