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In alchemy, an athanor is a furnace used to provide a uniform and constant heat for alchemical digestion. Etymologically, it descends from a number of Arabic texts of the period of the Califate which use the term "al-tannoor" in talismanic alchemy, meaning a bread-oven, from which the design portrayed evidently descends.

The athanor was also called Piger Henricus ("Slow Henry"), because it was chiefly used in slower operations, and because when once filled with coals, it keeps burning a long time. For this reason the Greeks referred to it as "giving no trouble", as it did not need to be continually attended. It was also called the Philosophical furnace, Furnace of Arcana, or popularly, the Tower furnace.[1]

Other references[edit]

In the work Life of Apollonius by Philostratus the Athenian, an allegorical description is given of an occult hill. The author gives this hill the name "Athanor".

Athanor is also the name of two works by Anselm Kiefer: one currently displayed in the Toledo Museum of Art and the other commissioned by the Louvre museum in 2007 and displayed there.

Athanor is also the title of a 1968 book of poetry by the Romanian author Gellu Naum

Athanor is also the name of a musical work for orchestra by French composer Joël-François Durand, written in 2001 and premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra (cond. Pierre-André Valade), in 2003.

Athanor is also the name a series by American author Jane Lindskold. The titles in this series are Changer, published in 1996, and Legends Walking, published in 1999.

Athanor is also the title of an artwork by Romanian artist Geta Bratescu (b. 1926), consisting of a photo collage dated from 1974 and currently part of the art collection of Instituto Inhotim, in Brazil.

Athanor is also the title of an artwork by Janet Saad-Cook located at Boston University's Photonics Center.

The Athanor Academy of Performing Arts Passau founded in 1995 in the German town Passau is also named after this furnace.

Athanor (loge) [nl], Masonic Lodge (Reguliere Grootloge van België [nl])

In EVE Online there is a structure called the Athanor that can be anchored by players.

The review[edit]

Athanor is now a review of language philosophy, history, and international politics. It is published once or twice a year. Its latest issue has been No. 13 (new series), November, 2009.

In music[edit]

French composer Joël-François Durand composed an orchestral piece called Athanor from 2000 to 2001.


  1. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "article name needed". Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al. [1]

External links[edit]