CANCELLED: 27th International Medieval Congress

Conference Date: Jul 06, 2020–Jul 09, 2020 Location: University of Leeds Leeds UK Session Title: Byzantine Alchemy between Art and Science (Session 326) Session Date: Jul 06, 2020 (4:30 PM - 6:00 PM)

Byzantine Alchemy between Art and Science

The study of Byzantine alchemy is in its infancy. The present session investigates it on its own terms as a vibrant field of medieval knowledge-production poised at the boundary between art (manipulating the world) and science (understanding it). The papers argue that: (1) alchemical terminology in alchemical and non-alchemical literature reveals alchemy’s diverse resonances among different Byzantine scholars; (2) alchemy was intimately related to other domains of Byzantine and Arabic science; and (3) manuscripts encompassing detailed artisanal treatises alongside theoretical alchemical texts reveal a Byzantine ‘artisanal turn’ in which art-making was deliberately reframed as epistemologically significant for investigating nature.