Episode 3 - A Coveted Pebble: Medieval Alchemy
Some may simply think of alchemy as the attempt to change base metals into gold. A few may know that, with this art, people attempted to produce the elixir of life which could heal any illness and extend the drinker's longevity. However, it is often romanticised as the mystical (if confused) early roots of modern science, or conflated with other branches of knowledge like chemistry, ritual magic, and herbalism. The art of alchemy, however, was distinct. A discipline composed of theories and practices which shared the goal of producing the philosopher's stone. With roots in antiquity, the art flourished in the early medieval Arabic world before being brought to Europe in the high middle ages. In this episode we begin to discuss this complex art, and how it made sense to medieval scholars, given how they understood the world to work.
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