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Calid (Khalid bin Yazid I)
Died85 AH/ 704
OccupationPrince, Chemist
EraMedieval Islamic

Calid, Kalid, or King Calid is a legendary figure in alchemy, latterly associated with the historical Khalid ibn Yazid (d. 704), an Umayyad prince.[1][Notes 1] His name is a medieval Latin transcription of the Arabic name Khalid (or Khaled).

Khalid ibn Yazid[edit]

In alchemy, Kalid refers to a historical figure, Khalid ibn Yazid (died 704). He was an Umayyad prince, a brother of Muawiyah II[2] who was briefly caliph. Prince Khalid lost the chance of inheriting the title, but took an interest in the study of alchemy, in Egypt. A book collector,[3] he facilitated translations into Arabic of the existing literature. It is to this Khalid that later allusions to Calid rex (King Calid) refer.[4][5][6]

Attributions to Calid[edit]

It is contested whether the attributions to Khalid ibn Yazid of alchemical writing are justified.[7][Notes 2] A popular legend has him consulting a Byzantine monk Marianos (Morienus the Greek).[Notes 3] The Book of the Composition of Alchemy (Latin: Liber de compositione alchimiae), which was the first alchemical work translated from Arabic to Latin (by Robert of Chester in 1144)[8] was purportedly an epistle of Marianos to Khalid.

Another traditional attribution is of the Liber Trium Verborum.[Notes 4] Forms as Calid filius Ysidri[Notes 5] attempt to distinguish ibn Yazid from others named Calid. Calid filius Hahmil certainly intends ibn Umail. There is a Calid filius Jaici mentioned by Jean-Jacques Manget, who includes an attributed Liber Secretorum Artis in his 1702 compilation Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa.


  1. ^ Also Kalid, possibly Galid. Haly or Hali is likely Haly Abenragel.
  2. ^ There are numerous variant names. The Jewish Encyclopedia gives Kalid ben Jasiki. Variants on that are Kalid ben Jazichi, Kalid Persica, or Calid, son of Sazichi.[1]
  3. ^ This made its way much later into occult lore. Cedrenus (A.D. 491) gives an example of a magician who professed Alchemy. Morienus (a Hermit, whose works were translated from Arabic into Latin as early as A.D. 1182) learned the Art of Transmutation, or the Great Elixir, at Rome of Adsar, an Alexandrian and a Christian, and afterwards taught it to Calid, or Evelid, the son of Gizid the Second, who was King of Egypt about the year A.D. 725. From John Yarker, Introduction to the Golden Tractate.[2]
  4. ^ See for example [3]. This book is also attributed to Rasis or to a Radianus/Rodianus. Another work but with the same name is attributed to Ramón Lull.
  5. ^ Or Calid filius Seid, Calid filius Isid.[4]. Filius here stands for 'son of' in Latin, so translating 'ibn'. Also Kalid ben Jesid, Calid fils de Jesid, Calid filius Gesid, etc.


  1. ^ Patai, Raphael (1994). The Jewish Alchemists: A History and Source Book. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691603124. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  2. ^ Ali, Wijdan. The Arab Contribution to Islamic Art: From the Seventh to the Fifteenth Century. American University in Cairo Press. p. 24. ISBN 977-424-476-1.
  3. ^ "A Brief History of the World's Libraries". Library: A Neglected Islamic Heritage.
  4. ^ Tshantz, David W. "A Short History of Islamic Pharmacy" (PDF).
  5. ^ Fakhry, Majid (1983). A History of Islamic Philosophy (2nd ed.). Columbia University Press.
  6. ^ Ruska, Julius. Arabische Alchemisten, I, Chalid Ibn Yazid Ibn Muawiya [Arab Alchemists, I: Khalid Ibn Yazid Ibn Muawiya]. Heidelberg. Khalid ibn Yazid was aided by his translator Istifan al-Kadim, his contributions were later noted by Al-Khwarizmi al-Khati (1034) and Al-Akfani (1924).
  7. ^ "Islamic Medical Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine". National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 18 May 2010. There is in fact no direct evidence to suggest that he had anything to do with early alchemy.
  8. ^ "The Arabic Origin of Liber de compositione alchimiae". History of Science and Technology in Islam.

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