ASTRONOMER, 1504. The Arabian astronomer, Messahalah (c740-815). Woodcut by Albrecht Dürer from title page to Messahalah’s ‘De scientia motus orbis,’ Nuremberg, Germany, 1504.
The De scientia motus orbis is probably the treatise called in Arabic “the twenty-seventh;” printed in Nuremberg 1501, 1549. The second edition is entitled: 'De elementis et orbibus coelestibus’, and contains 27 chapters.
Alchemy eludes definition and is difficult to understand. It has been associated since its inception with charlatans, opportunists, and deluded chemists, and nowadays is often confused with sorcery and occultism. However, its strange imagery continues to capture the popular imagination. Its cultural influences have been wide, encompassing not only chemistry and medicine, but also philosophy, psychology, art, music and literature.
The aims of alchemy have always proved hard to explain.