Acque divine e liturgie celesti. Tracce di una realtà alchemica fra ellenismo e iranismo
The starting point of the diffusion of the alchemical ideas is the Hellenistic
Egypt, the environment in which bloomed the wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus,
the interprætatio graeca of Egyptian god Thōt.
The Islamic conquest of Egypt in the seventh century A.D. exiled the Greek alchemy
to Constantinople, where the alchemical ideas undewent a process of stasis.
Alchemy, the «sacred art», is in the ancient world the meeting place of many
cultures, a crossroad between Iran and Hellenism.
Among the texts of alchemy it is worth mentioning a series of pseudoephigrapha
ascribed to several ancient authors; among these
there is a prominent pre-Socratic philosopher, Democritus,
whom the oldest sources make a disciple of Magi and Chaldaeans.
Democritus appears in these writings as a follower of the Persian Mage Ostanes,
who in the temple of Memphis initiated him in the mysteries of the ancient writers.
In this texts we find the sum of different traditions, the same as those of a
Coptic Gnostic treatise found at Nag-Hammadi, the Apocalypse of Adam. A text
that describes a revelation of Adam to his son Seth about a coming of a Phōster,
the future «Illuminator», who manifests himself and «rises» from the waters.