Minerals, Metals, and Other Materials


Why are alchemical symbols for metals and astrological symbols for planets identical?

The ancient Greeks and Romans knew seven metals and also knew seven “planets” (the five nearer planets plus the sun and the moon). They related each planet to a specific metal. Alchemy, originating in about the third centuryB.C.E., focused on changing base metals, such as lead, into gold. Although at times alchemy bordered on mysticism, it contained centuries of chemical experience, which provided the foundation for the development of modern chemistry.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Science Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App