Alchemy is both a spiritual and magical practice and a philosophy. Its aim is famously to achieve immortality but also to achieve wisdom through transformation of both the alchemist and the substances he manipulates.
The world Alchemy may have come from the Old French alkemie or the Arabic al-kimia Greek khemeioa
The Greek khymatos is likely the oldest, means "that which is poured out" and is related closely to khymos meaning "juice, sap" and referred to the earliest pharmaceutical industry which was concerned with mixing together plants to make medicines.
The word Khemia was an old name for Egypt meaning "land of the black Earth". There may or may not be a connection between this name and the word Alchemy.
There is some disagreement among historians as to whether Alchemy originated in Persia, Egypt, Greece, India or China. However all of these regions had something that would be recognizable as Alchemy before they regularly spent time in each others' company though some of these did cross swords and rub elbows on occasion, certainly not all.
What has come to be formally recognized as alchemy was codified in ancient Egypt around 1900 BCE by an Egyptian king called Hermes Trismegistus by the Greeks. He is credited with many works on the subject, but the Emperor Diocletian of the Holy Roman Empire is said to have destroyed most of them in the 3rd century AD. Remaining are but 3 works. The Emerald Tablet, The Asclepian Dialogues, and The Divine Pymander.
Additional looks at ancient Greco-Egyptian alchemy, written by a number of different authors, can be found in the Greek Magical Papyri
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