Zozimus of Panopolis

(b. c. 250)

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(born c.250) Greek–Egyptian alchemist

Little seems to be known about the life of Zozimus except that he was born at Panopolis (now Alchmon in Egypt). He is best known for his writings – a 28-volume encyclopedia of chemical arts. Zozimus showed how alchemy had progressed since the time of Bolos of Mende, a hellenized Egyptian who lived in the Nile Delta. Sulfur, mercury, and arsenic were essential ingredients in this alchemy, mercury being alluded to variously as ‘divine dew’ or ‘Scythian water’. The main aim was the preparation of gold from base metals and its success depended on the production of a series of colors, usually from black to red, yellow, white, black, green, and finally purple. Although the search for the philosopher's stone had not yet begun Zozimus refers to ‘the tincture’, a substance the alchemists believed to exist, that could instantly transform base metals to gold.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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