Although the concept of man-made life has been around since antiquity homunculi have only been around since about the 16th century. The creation of a homunculi was one of the ultimate achievements for an alchemist, next to chrysopeia, the transmutation of a base metal into a precious one, and the creation of an alkahest, a universal solvent.
The Swiss German scholar Paracelsus is believed to have been the first to write about homunculi by name, and details a method of creating an artificial human using a man’s sperm in a horse’s womb.
Homunculi are often compared to golems and Magic employs both as creature types. Golems are represented as colorless artifact creatures, but homunculi are generally depicted as blue. The distinction comes from the difference in the motivation: the creation of a homunculus is to prove the capacity of human intellect and achievement while golems are created simply to do the bidding of a master.