What are the branches of ancient human work which had many steps in common with Alchemy?
They were many: processing of saltpeter, urine, sea salt, calcification of horns, reduction of metals to powder, processing of alkalis, tartar of barrels, the distillation of spirits, turpentine, production of vinegar, beer, gunpowder, and incense, aging and magnetization of manure, collect and magnetize dews and products from the sky.
But it also went beyond pharmaceutical or agricultural products; for example, goldsmithing with the granulation of gold; the glassmaker with the production of enamels and pigments for glass.
Mirror craftsmen with mercury mirrors.
The potter’s work: the extreme pulverization with mortar.
Miners with their mineral assay; metallurgists and blacksmiths with working metals through changes of state; swordsmiths with tempering swords.
The builders with the reduction of rocks and stones into powder with hot vinegar and salt; the lime production.
The artisan perfumers with the sublimation of resins and metals.
The mummifiers of ancient Egypt.
Ancient monks and nuns when working with the preparation and preservation of bones.
Is it true that chemistry was the beginning of Alchemy?
Many of the chemical processes above mentioned have a lot in common with the initial operations of alchemy… then, of course, alchemists move on.
At what Alchemical stage could the works of ordinary chemistry be compared?
In the first-preparatory work, they were not compared, they could be the same. The wet path alchemists are used to volatilize and cohobate the matter to get the Mercurius, also involving the caput mortuum mixed with more volatile substances.
The iatrochemistry of the Baroque era pursued the same aims of volatilization of salts since medicine was intended to achieve high degrees of absorbability by the human organism. But the pharmacists used to stop at the first stage of volatilization. This aspect was expressed in many treatises.
Alchemists with operations not unlike metallurgists obtained their Mercurius.
The real difference was that chemists sought to obtain very heterogeneous products; alchemists the outpouring of Spiritus by means of continuous changes of state within the matter.
Had it ever happened that a chemist got the Philosophers Stone?
Mindlessly continuing with the same operations, he could quite certainly have obtained the Mercurius. However then he would hardly have arrived at the philosopher’s egg by chance. For the simple reason that he had hardly been farsighted enough to save Mercurius to feed the alchemical embryo and keep some slag for the egg construction.
Did the ancient workers follow the timing and astronomical code of the alchemists?
Surely. They knew the right moments to distill, volatilize, melt metals, and collect the products of the sky.
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