• Snježana Paušek-Baždar


The fourteenth-century alchemic poem by Daniel Justinopolitanus, teacher of grammar in Koper, Slovenia and Pula, Croatia, is almost unknown of in the history of science. Today the text is located in St Mark’s Library in Venice. In 1599, it was published in Della Tramutatione metallica, an anthology edited by Giovanni Battista Nazari. This article gives an interpretation of the poem, showing that Daniel was actually explaining how to make the Philosopher’s stone. His argument is based on the hermetic statement that similar produces similar, and therefore, “natural gold produces synthetic gold”. Daniel also determined the role of the Stone in the preparation of an elixir, or universal cure. The value of Daniel’s poem is that it makes a distinction between “true” and “false” alchemies. “True” alchemy is the skill by which the Stone can be made from natural gold, rather than from the distillation of organic substances, which was the tradition of Arabic and medieval alchemy.

Key words: gold, silver, mercury, Philosopher’s stone, elixir, God, true alchemy, false alchemy