Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum

The sixteenth century saw a renewed interest in two aspects of alchemy: the first, more philosophical and hermetic, was largely derived from Greek and humanist sources; the second, more practical, was closely linked to medicine. Spagyrics (from the Greek "I separate and reunite"—a reference to the analysis and synthesis of bodies) was the term coined by Paracelsus (1493-1541) for the new medical and therapeutic focus that he imparted to alchemy. Paracelsus saw chemistry as a spagyric art that could decompose compounds to obtain more efficient transmutations and medicines than the traditional ones, rooted in Hippocratic, Galenic, and Arab concepts.