L'age d'or de l'alchimie en France. (French text);
Master of Arts thesis
Alchemy was probably born in Egypt, sometime during Antiquity. It received the influence of the Greek and hermetic doctrines (Chapter II). The Arab civilisation adopted it and brought it into the Western world. Alchemy quickly developed there, until it became widespread throughout France and the rest of Europe (Chapter III). Alchemy, as it was practised till the Renaissance, was not just the art of transmuting baser metals into gold. It was a philosophy which strove to bring to light the hidden architecture of the whole universe. In fact, the real aim of alchemy was the regeneration of the human soul to its divine condition (Chapter IV). The alchemists concealed in their highly allegorical, cryptic language the fabulous secrets of their Art. In Europe, some adepts started to use the alchemical symbolism in various forms of art (poetry, painting,...) which testify to the mysticism and exaltation of the alchemists (Chapter IV).