Paphnutia the Virgin

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Paphnutia the Virgin (fl. 300 C.E.) was an Egyptian alchemist living around the time of 300 C.E. who was referred to in the letters between the alchemist Zosimos of Panopolis and his sister Theosebeia (also assumed to be an alchemist). Within these letters Zosimos criticizes Theosebeia for talking and exchanging ideas with Paphnutia, considering her someone that was uneducated and who incorrectly practiced alchemy. Little else is known about this ancient alchemist, other than it is thought that Paphnutia could have been connected to a competing school of alchemy than Zosimos, or that she could also have been a priestess.[1][2]


  1. ^ Rayner-Canham, Marelene (2001). Women in Chemistry: Their Changing Roles from Alchemical Times to the Mid-Twentieth Century. Philadelphia, PA: Chemical Heritage Foundation. p. 3. ISBN 0941901270.
  2. ^ Ogilvie, Marilyn (2014). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science. Routledge. p. 978. ISBN 9780415920384.