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Pseudo-Democritus was a Greek philosopher writing on chemical and alchemical subjects under the pen name "Democritus," probably around 60 AD.[1] His real name is unknown. He was the second most respected early pseudonymous writer on alchemy (after Hermes Trismegistus). Four of his books survive, including Natural and Secret Questions (Greek: Physika kai Mystika). His works are quoted extensively by Zosimos of Panopolis and by early medieval Byzantine alchemical writers, and he is mentioned in the Stockholm papyrus.

Natural and Secret Questions describes "An art, purporting to relate to the transmutation of metals, and described in a terminology at once Physical and Mystical"; the book includes straightforward recipes for making imitation gold and silver.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martelli, Matteo, The Four Books of Pseudo-Democritus (Maney Publishing: Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, 2013)
  2. ^ Taylor, F Sherwood (2004). Allen G. Debus (ed.). Alchemy and Early Modern Chemistry: Papers from Ambix. Jeremy Mills Publishing. pp. 30–42. ISBN 0-9546484-1-2.