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Alchemy in ancient Egypt?

 
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2004 9:59 pm    Post subject: Alchemy in ancient Egypt? Reply with quote

Did the ancient Egyptians really have alchemy? I've seen it written countless times that the word 'alchemy' comes from the word Kemet (as do words like chemistry, chemical, etc) but I'm not sure if that's true.
Apparently there are lots of references to Egyptian deities in greco roman or medieval alchemical texts.
However some scholars say that alchemy was invented by the Chinese, becuase they are very advanced with chemistry. I'm not sure how advanced the Egyptians were with chemistry though.
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Psusennes III
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2004 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to "Van Dale Etymologisch Woordenboek":

Alchemie (Alchemy): Byzant.-Gr. Chumeia (the art of casting metal) derives from Gr. Cheo (to cast, to mould)
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anneke
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought alchemy was kind of a piece of fiction that some people bought into in the middle ages. Alchemy is usually described as trying to turn base metals into gold, and looking for the elixer of life (supposed to grant immortality).

Maybe it can be thought of as a kind of experimental chemistry, but as usually understood I don't see why the egyptians would try to turn base metals into gold (not a real shortage I think).
Not sure they would be looking for the elixer of life either given their beliefs...

Now given the amount of gold found, some may have thought that the egyptians must have had the knowledge to turn metals to gold.

I'm not sure how much chemistry the egyptians would have known or needed.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alchemy, as far as I know, was where more scientific studies of chemistry started out. It was full of magic and a lot of stuff was pure fantasy (like the philosophers stone etc) but I do remember seeing a programme saying that Isaac Newton practised it, so even renowed scientists dabbled in it.
I think the Egyptian connection is related to Hermes Tri-something (can't spell it) who was like a Greek version of Thoth, and there are many alchemical texts that relate to him. Apparently there is an alchemic/hermetic text relating to Isis and Horus. It supposedly tells of the wisdom that Isis told her son, and she had learned it from thoth/Hermes...anyone heard of it?

Talking of chemistry and the ancient Egyptians, and a bit off topic, it reminds me of this very odd and quite ludicrous claim I saw on a website some time ago. It claimed that the Egyptians invented gunpowder Shocked and used it in their religious ceremonies! Somehow, I cannot believe that ancient Egyptian religious ceremonies had fireworks or explosives...
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anneke
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's some info about the books of Thoth here:
http://forum.egyptiandreams.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=409

Those books may have given rise to Alchemy.
I'm not sure they really came from egypt or if they were some fabrication from a later time period.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I quite like the idea they might have had Egyptian roots, with Greek influences. Not sure if I agree on the Disney Land stuff in the link though...
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Stewart
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isisinacrisis wrote:
I think the Egyptian connection is related to Hermes Tri-something (can't spell it) who was like a Greek version of Thoth, and there are many alchemical texts that relate to him.


Hermes Trismegistus. Or Hermes "Thrice Great". Very Happy

He's supposedly involved in the Corpus Hermeticum, a book believed, until the last century, to be a contemporary telling of the stories of Moses. The stories of said book are now dated to about 200 AD.
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Stewart
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isisinacrisis wrote:
I think the Egyptian connection is related to Hermes Tri-something (can't spell it) who was like a Greek version of Thoth, and there are many alchemical texts that relate to him.


Hermes Trismegistus. Or Hermes "Thrice Great". Very Happy

He's supposedly involved in the Corpus Hermeticum, a book believed, until the last century, to be a contemporary telling of the stories of Moses. The stories of said book are now dated to about 200 AD.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't know it had anything to do with Moses.
But I do believe it had some Egyptian origins, no matter how old. My dictionary actually lists under the name Hermes Trismegistus that he was linked to Thoth. (I looked his name up after my friend heard about hermetic texts and she wanted to know more)
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