The Alchemy web site on Levity.com

Chronology of Greco-Egyptian Alchemy

Extracted from an article by William Jerome Wilson in Ciba Symposia for 1941.


2980-2475 BC.    Old Kingdom of Egypt: Dynasties 3-6.
c. 2900 B.C.    Nubian gold mines in operation.
2160-1788 B.C.    Middle Kingdom: Dynasties 11-12.
c. 2000 B.C.    Invention of bronze tools.
1580-1090 B.C.    New Kingdom, or Empire: Dynasties 18-20.
c. 1400 B.C.    Amarna Letters: Test of gold by fire.
c. 1300 B.C.    Turin Papyrus: Map of Nubian gold mines.
c. 1200 B.C.    Invention of carburized iron tools.
663-525 B.C.    Saite Period: Dynasty 26.
525-332 B.C.    Persian Period: Dynasties 27-30.
c. 500-430 B.C.    Empedocles: Doctrine of the four elements.
c. 460-362 B.C.    Democritus of Abdera: Atomic theory.
384-322 B.C.    Aristotle: Theory of chemical combination.
332-30 B.C.    Hellenistic Period: Alexander the Great and Ptolemies I-XVI.
c. 330 B.C.    Manetho: Chronicler of Egypt.
c. 300 B.C.    Theophrastus: Philosopher and naturalist.
c. 200 B.C.    Bolus of Mende: 'Virtues' of animals, plants and stones.
196 B.C.    Rosetta Stone, inscription in Greek and Egyptian.
c. 150 B.C.    Agatharcides: Description of Nubian gold mines.
30 B.C.    Egypt a Roman Province.
23-79 A.D.    Pliny the Elder: Natural History.
c. lst cent. A.D.    Anaxilaus of Larissa: 'Virtues' of plants, etc.
1st or 2nd cent. A.D.    Kyrannides: 'Virtues' of plants, etc.
1st or 2nd cent. A.D.    Hermetica: Writings ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus.
1st or 2nd cent. A.D.    Democritus the alchemist: Recipes for colouring or alloying base metals.
1st or 2nd cent. A.D.    Mary the Jewess: Leading experimental alchemist.
1st or 2nd cent. A.D.    Cleopatra: Experimental alchemist.
1st or 2nd cent. A.D.    Comarius: Experimental alchemist.
1st or 2nd cent. A.D.    Dioscorides: Materia medica.
130-c. 200 A.D.    Galen: Greek physician.
d. 232 A.D.    Julius Sextus Africanus: Historian and alchemist.
c. 250-300 A.D.    Leyden and Stockholm Papyri: Recipes for colouring or alloying base metals.
296 A.D.    Diocletian: Supposed ban on alchemy.
c. 300 A.D.    Zosimus of Panopolis: Alchemical allegorist.
4th (or 8th?) cent. A.D.    Heliodorus: Alchemical poet.
4th or 5th cent. A.D.    Olympiodorus: Historian and alchemist.
410-485 A.D.    Proclus: Epistles on alchemy.
c. 484 A.D.    Aeneas Baracus of Gaza: External testimony to alchemy.
7th cent. A.D.    Stephanus: Alchemical lecturer.
641 A.D.    Arab Conquest of Egypt.
c. 9th or 10th cent. A.D.    Suidas: Greek encyclopedist.
c. 1000 A.D.    Codex Marcianus 299: Earliest surviving Greek alchemical Ms.
1018-c. 1079 A.D.    Michael Psellus: On the Hieratic Art (alchemy theologised).