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Encyclopedia > Paracelsus
Presumed portrait of Paracelsus, attributed to the school of Quentin Matsys.
Presumed portrait of Paracelsus, attributed to the school of Quentin Matsys.

Paracelsus (11 November or 17 December 1493 in Einsiedeln, Switzerland24 September 1541) was an alchemist, physician, astrologer, and general occultist. Born Phillip von Hohenheim, he later took up the name Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, and still later took the title Paracelsus, meaning "equal to or greater than Celsus", a Roman encyclopedist from the first century known for his tract on medicine.[1] File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Ugly Duchess by Quentin Matsys (1525-30) Oil on wood, 64 x 45,5 cm National Gallery, London Quentin Matsys, also known as Quentin Massys, Quentin Metsys or Kwinten Metsys (1466 - 1530), was a painter in the Flemish tradition, founder of the Antwerp school. ... is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1493 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Einsiedeln is a small municipality in Switzerland best known for its monastery, the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey and as place where Paracelsus born. ... is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events The first official translation of the entire Bible in Swedish February 12 - Pedro de Valdivia founds Santiago de Chile. ... For other uses, see Alchemy (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Doctor. ... An astrologer practices one or more forms of astrology. ... For other uses of this term, see occult (disambiguation). ... Aulus Cornelius Celsus Aulus Cornelius Celsus (25 BC—50) was a Roman encyclopedist and possibly, although not likely, a physician. ...



Paracelsus was born and raised in the village of Maria Einsiedeln in Switzerland, of a Swabian (Wilhelm Bombast von Hohenheim) chemist and physician father and a Swiss mother. As a youth he worked in nearby mines as an analyst. At the age of 16 he started studying medicine at the University of Basel, later moving to Vienna. He gained his doctorate degree from the University of Ferrara.[2] Germany, showing modern borders. ... Hohenheim is a suburb of Stuttgart in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. ... The University of Basel (German: Universität Basel) is located at Basel, Switzerland. ... The University of Ferrara (Università degli Studi di Ferrara) is main university of the city of Ferrara in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. ...

His wanderings as an itinerant physician and sometime journeyman miner [3] took him through Germany, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. In Russia, he was taken prisoner by the Tartars and brought before the Grand Cham at whose court he became a great favorite. Finally, he accompanied the Cham's son on an embassy from China to Constantinople. This article is about the city before the Fall of Constantinople (1453). ...

Known portrait of Paracelsus attributed to Augustin Hirschvogel.
Known portrait of Paracelsus attributed to Augustin Hirschvogel.

Paracelsus rejected Gnostic traditions, but kept much of the Hermetic, neoplatonic, and Pythagorean philosophies from Ficino and Pico della Mirandola; however, Hermetical science had so much Aristotelian theory that his rejection of Gnosticism was practically meaningless. In particular, Paracelsus rejected the magic theories of Agrippa and Flamel; Paracelsus did not think of himself as a magician and scorned those who did, though he was a practicing astrologer, as were most, if not all of the university-trained physicians working at this time in Europe. Astrology was a very important part of Paracelsus' medicine. In his Archidoxes of Magic Paracelsus devoted several sections to astrological talismans for curing disease, providing talismans for various maladies as well as talismans for each sign of the Zodiac. He also invented an alphabet called the Alphabet of the Magi, for engraving angelic names upon talismans. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Self Portrait as Cartographer (1548) Augustin Hirschvogel (1503 – February 1553) was a German artist, mathematician, and cartographer known primarily for his etchings. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Hermeticism should not be confused with the concept of a hermit. ... Neoplatonism (also Neo-Platonism) is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, founded by Plotinus and based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists. ... Pythagoras of Samos (Greek: ; between 580 and 572 BC–between 500 and 490 BC) was an Ionian (Greek) philosopher[1] and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. ... Marsilio Ficino (also known by his Latin name, Marsilius Ficinus) (Figline Valdarno, October 19, 1433 - Careggi, October 1, 1499) was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance, astrologer, and a reviver of Neoplatonism who was in touch with every major academic thinker and writer of... Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (February 24, 1463 – November 17, 1494) was an Italian Renaissance humanist philosopher and scholar. ... For other uses, see Aristotle (disambiguation). ... Not to be confused with Magic (illusion). ... Cornelius Agrippa, as portrayed in Libri tres de occulta philosophia. ... It has been suggested that Perenelle Flamel be merged into this article or section. ... An astrologer practices one or more forms of astrology. ... Hand-coloured version of the anonymous Flammarion woodcut (1888). ... The term zodiac denotes an annual cycle of twelve stations along the ecliptic, the apparent path of the sun across the heavens through the constellations that divide the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude. ... The Alphabet of the Magi was an alphabet invented by Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim for the use of engraving angelic names apon talismans. ... Look up talisman in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Paracelsus pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. He used the name "zink" for the element zinc in about 1526, based on the sharp pointed appearance of its crystals after smelting and the old German word "zinke" for pointed. He used experimentation in learning about the human body. His hermetical views were that sickness and health in the body relied on the harmony of man, the microcosm, and Nature, the macrocosm. He took an approach different from those before him, using this analogy not in the manner of soul-purification but in the manner that humans must have certain balances of minerals in their bodies, and that certain illnesses of the body had chemical remedies that could cure them. (Debus & Multhauf, p.6-12) For the chemical substances known as medicines, see medication. ... General Name, symbol, number zinc, Zn, 30 Chemical series transition metals Group, period, block 12, 4, d Appearance bluish pale gray Standard atomic weight 65. ... List of bones of the human skeleton Human anatomy is primarily the scientific study of the morphology of the adult human body. ... For the definition of the word microcosm, see here. ... This article is about the physical universe. ... Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of reality. ...

He summarized his own views: "Many have said of Alchemy, that it is for the making of gold and silver. For me such is not the aim, but to consider only what virtue and power may lie in medicines." (Edwardes, p.47) (also in: Holmyard, Eric John. Alchemy. p. 170) GOLD refers to one of the following: GOLD (IEEE) is an IEEE program designed to garner more student members at the university level (Graduates of the Last Decade). ... This article is about the chemical element. ... Eric John Holmyard (1891-1959) was an English science teacher at Clifton College[1], and historian of science and technology. ...

Paracelsus gained a reputation for being arrogant, and soon garnered the anger of other physicians in Europe. He held the chair of medicine at the University of Basel for less than a year; while there his colleagues became angered by allegations that he had publicly burned traditional medical books. He was forced from the city after having legal trouble over a physician's fee he sued to collect. The University of Basel (German: Universität Basel) is located at Basel, Switzerland. ...

He then wandered Europe, Africa and Asia Minor, in the pursuit of hidden knowledge. He revised old manuscripts and wrote new ones, but had trouble finding publishers. In 1536, his Die grosse Wundartzney (The Great Surgery Book) was published and enabled him to regain fame. For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... Anatolia (Greek: ανατολη anatole, rising of the sun or East; compare Orient and Levant, by popular etymology Turkish Anadolu to ana mother and dolu filled), also called by the Latin name of Asia Minor, is a region of Southwest Asia which corresponds today to...

He died in 1541 in Salzburg, and was buried according to his wishes in the cemetery at the church of St Sebastian in Salzburg. His remains are now located in a tomb in the porch of the church. This article is about the capital of the Austrian state of Salzburg. ...

After his death, the movement of Paracelsianism was seized upon by many wishing to subvert the traditional Galenic physick- and thus did his therapies become more widely known and used. A medical movement based on the theories and therapies of Paracelsus, Paracelsianism was prominent in late-16th and 17th century Europe and represented one of the most comprehensive alternatives to the traditional system of therapeutics, derived from Galenic physiology. ... For other uses, see Galen (disambiguation). ...

His motto was "alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "let no man that can belong to himself be of another" For other uses, see Motto (disambiguation). ...

Contributions to toxicology

Monument to Paracelsus in Beratzhausen, Bavaria
Monument to Paracelsus in Beratzhausen, Bavaria

Paracelsus, sometimes called the father of toxicology, wrote: Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (480x640, 74 KB) de: Beratzhausen (Oberpfalz, Bayern): Paracelsus-Denkmal. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (480x640, 74 KB) de: Beratzhausen (Oberpfalz, Bayern): Paracelsus-Denkmal. ... For other uses, see Bavaria (disambiguation). ... Toxicology (from the Greek words toxicos and logos [1]) is the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms [2]. It is the study of symptoms, mechanisms, treatments and detection of poisoning, especially the poisoning of people. ...

German: Alle Ding' sind Gift und nichts ohn' Gift; allein die Dosis macht, dass ein Ding kein Gift ist.
"All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."

That is to say, substances often considered toxic can be benign or beneficial in small doses, and conversely an ordinarily benign substance like water can be deadly if over-consumed.[4]

He wrote the major work On the Miners' Sickness and Other Diseases of Miners documenting the occupational hazards of metalworking including treatment and prevention strategies. He also wrote a book on the human body contradicting Galen's ideas.

Galen put forward the theory that illness was caused by an imbalance of the four humours: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. He recommended specific diets to help in the "cleansing of the putrefied juices" and often purging and bloodletting would be used. This theory was accepted until challenged by Paracelsus who believed that illness was the result of the body being attacked by outside agents.

Legend and rumour

Paracelsus is often cited as coining the phrase "the dose makes the poison". Although he did not say this precisely, it seems that Paracelsus was indeed well aware of the principle (see discussion on Toxicology above).

Many books mentioning Paracelsus also cite him as the origin of "bombastic" to describe his often arrogant speaking style. However, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the word "bombastic" is not a play on Paracelsus's middle name, Bombastus. Instead, that dictionary cites "bombast": an old term for cotton stuffing. The Oxford English Dictionary print set The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is the most successful dictionary of the English language, (not to be confused with the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, formerly New Oxford Dictionary of English, of...


Published during his lifetime

  • Die große WundarzneyUlm, 1536 (Hans Varnier); Augsburg (Haynrich Stayner (=Steyner)), 1536; Frankfurt/ M. (Georg Raben/ Weygand Hanen), 1536.
  • Vom Holz Guaico, 1529.
  • Vonn dem Bad Pfeffers in Oberschwytz gelegen, 1535.
  • Prognostications, 1536.

Posthumous Publications

  • Wundt unnd Leibartznei. Frankfurt/ M., 1549 (Christian Egenolff); 1555 (Christian Egenolff); 1561 (Chr. Egenolff Erben).
  • Von der Wundartzney: Ph. Theophrasti von Hohenheim, beyder Artzney Doctoris, 4 Bücher. (Peter Perna), 1577.
  • Kleine Wundartzney. Basel (Peter Perna), 1579.
  • Opus Chirurgicum, Bodenstein, Basel, 1581.
  • Huser quart edition (medicinal and philosophical treatises), Basel, 1589.
  • Chirurgical works (Huser), Basel, 1591 und 1605 (Zetzner).
  • Straßburg edition (medicinal and philosophical treatises), 1603.
  • Kleine Wund-Artzney. Straßburg (Ledertz) 1608.
  • Opera omnia medico-chemico-chirurgica, Genevae, Vol3, 1658.
  • Philosophia magna, tractus aliquot, Cöln, 1567.
  • Philosophiae et Medicinae utriusque compendium, Basel, 1568.
  • Liber de Nymphis, sylphis, pygmaeis et salamandris et de caeteris spiritibus

Online bibliographies

Paracelsus in modern culture

  • Paracelsus is the title of a 1943 film by Georg Wilhelm Pabst. [2]
  • Paracelsus is a lengthy dramatic poem by Robert Browning.
  • Paracelsus and The Rose is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges.
  • Paracelsus is one of the people featured on a Chocolate Frog card in the Harry Potter series. A bust of Paracelsus is also present in the castle at Hogwarts, near Gryffindor, between the entrance to the Gryffindor common room and the Owlry, as mentioned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • In the anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, the father of Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric is called Hohenheim of Light. Having succeeded in his alchemical researches, he and his former lover, Dante, have achieved a costly pseudo-immortality, one of the traditional goals of alchemists, by using the legendary alchemical amplifier, the Philosopher's Stone, whose creation was another goal for alchemists. Hohenheim also created the first ever homunculus (400 years before the series takes place). Because he is an alchemist who has lived since medieval times, it's possible that Hohenheim is actually Paracelsus.
  • In the manga version of Fullmetal Alchemist, the same character is called Van Hohenheim. He is the doppelganger of the manga's villain, known as 'Father,' and refers to himself both as 'an alchemist' and 'a monster.' It is revealed he was nearly named Theophrastus Bombastus Van Hohenheim, after a part of Paracelsus's name.
  • Paracelsus was the name used by the burn-scarred and masked nemesis and former ally of Father in the CBS television series Beauty and the Beast. He was portrayed by Tony Jay.
  • In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the Paracelsus Table creates homunculi to make mock battles, used for the mini-game for characters to fight one another.
  • In the Phantom comic strip, Paracelsus appeared in a story by Ulf Granberg and Jaime Vallvé from 1977 entitled The Ring. According to this story, it was Paracelsus who gave the first Phantom the Skull Ring.
  • In the Guilty Gear video games, the character A.B.A uses a key-shaped ax named Paracelsus as a weapon.
  • At the end of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Jill Valentine discovers what appears to be a railgun of sorts in a deserted factory. Named Paracelsus's Sword, the weapon was designed by the U.S. government for the express purpose of destroying the most dangerous of the Umbrella Corporation's bio-organic weapons.
  • In the book Esbae: A Winter's Tale, by Linda Haldeman, Professor Leo Ernst is a college professor teaching a Western Civilization class. While lecturing about witchcraft, sorcery, and magic in the Middle Ages, he briefly covers Paracelsus, including the fact that his real name was "Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim! Now there's a name to conjure with." Later in the book, Chuck Holmes, unable to remember the proper incantations, uses the name to summon the demon Asmodeus.
  • The DC Comics comic book The Human Race features a villain named Paracelsus who employs genetic engineering techniques.
  • The Bruce Coville A.I. Gang trilogy includes a faux-AI chatterbot named Paracelsus, which is encased in the head of a Greek statue.
  • "Paracelsus" is the title of a musical composition that was written by Mont Campbelland performed by the "Canterbury" jazzrock-band National Health in 1976. An excerpt appears on the NH compilation "Complete."
  • Paracelsus appears as the villain in Peter David's 2006 Arthurian fantasy novel, Fall of Knight, in which he is depicted as both an alchemist and magician (despite his historical antipathy toward magic) who gained immortality, and like King Arthur, appears in the modern day world, having acquired the Spear of Destiny from the Nazis in 1945, and who tries to acquire the Holy Grail from Arthur in the early 21st century.
  • Paracelsus appears in the visual novel Animamundi: Dark Alchemist as a legendary figure who was thought to have succeeded in creating the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life. He helps the main character throughout the game, disguised as a young boy.
  • Professor Bulwer in the 1922 Murnau film Nosferatu is a follower of Paracelsus.
  • Paracelsus is mentioned as an inspiration to Victor Frankenstein, the main character in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
  • Paracelsus appears in the Japanese release of Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny. (In the U.S., he is known as Palaxius).
  • In the DC comic book series The Sandman, one of the characters, a writer named Richard Madoc, puts forth the idea of writing a story about Paracelsus and Raymond Lulli being the same person. This is, of course, impossible, given that they lived a century or more apart.
  • "Paracelsus" is referenced at the beginning of Operator's Side, a voice-controlled game for PS2.

Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Georg Wilhelm Pabst (August 25, 1885 - May 29, 1967) was a film director. ... Robert Browning (May 7, 1812 – December 12, 1889) was a British poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets. ... Borges redirects here. ... This article is about the Harry Potter series of novels. ... Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a fictional setting in J. K. Rowlings best-selling Harry Potter series. ... OotP redirects here. ... “Fullmetal” redirects here. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... This page lists characters from the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist. ... This page lists characters from the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist. ... For other uses, see Philosophers stone (disambiguation). ... This page lists characters from the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist. ... The concept of a homunculus (Latin for little man, sometimes spelled homonculus, plural homunculi) is often used to illustrate the functioning of a system. ... “Fullmetal” redirects here. ... For other uses of the word Doppelgänger please see Doppelgänger (disambiguation). ... Roy Dotrice (born May 26, 1925) is a British actor. ... This article is about the broadcast network. ... A television program is the content of television broadcasting. ... Beauty and the Beast is an American television series, originally broadcast in 1987, centered around the relationship between Catherine (Linda Hamilton), an attorney who lived in New York City, and Vincent (Ron Perlman), a gentle, but lion-faced beast who belongs to a society of misfits and outcasts (see mole... Tony Jay (February 2, 1933 - August 13, 2006) was an English/American actor. ... Introduction Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is the third game in the Star Ocean video game series. ... For other uses, see Phantom. ... This article is about the comic strip, the sequential art form as published in newspapers and on the Internet. ... Screenshot of Ky Kiske attacking Sol Badguy. ... A.B.A is an artificial lifeform, a character introduced within the Guilty Gear fighting game series. ... Jill Valentine is a video game character in the Resident Evil survival horror series. ... A railgun is a form of gun that converts electrical energy (rather than the more conventional chemical energy from an explosive propellant) into projectile kinetic energy. ... This article or section on a video game-related subject may need to be cleaned up and rewritten because it describes a work of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Asmodeus (Asmodeus, Asmodaeus, pronounced Ashmed or Ashmedeus in Hebrew, also Chammadai, Sydonai) is a semi-Biblical demon mostly known thanks to the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit; he is also mentioned in some Talmudic legends and in demonology, as he is a leading figure in the construction efforts of the Temple... DC Comics is an American comic book and related media company. ... A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... Bad guy redirects here. ... Kenyans examining insect-resistant transgenic Bt corn. ... Bruce Coville (b. ... Hugo Martin Montgomery Campbell, formerly known as Mont Campbell, now Dirk Campbell (born 30th December 1950 in Ismalia, Egypt) is a British progressive rock musician, best known as a member of Egg. ... National Health was a progressive rock band associated with the Canterbury Scene. ... Peter Allen David (often abbreviated PAD) (born September 23, 1956) is an American writer, best known for his work in comic books and Star Trek novels. ... King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Britain. ... For other uses, see Fantasy (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see King Arthur (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Holy Lance. ... For other uses, see Holy Grail (disambiguation). ... A visual novel is an interactive fiction game featuring mostly static graphics, usually with anime-style art. ... Anima Mundi: Dark Alchemist is an interactive PC game developed by Karin Entertainment and distributed by Hirameki. ... Victor Frankenstein is the protagonist of the 1818 novel Frankenstein, written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. ... Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (née Godwin) (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English romantic/gothic novelist and the author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. ... This article is about the 1818 novel. ... The Sandman, in folklore, is a figure who brings good sleep and dreams by sprinkling magic sand onto sleeping children. ... Ramon Llull. ... Lifeline (Operators Side in Japan) is a video game released by SCEI and Konami for the PlayStation 2. ...


  1. ^ Read, J. Through Alchemy to Chemistry. Bell and Sons; London; 1961
  2. ^ [1] A historical essay and travelogue on Paracelsus
  3. ^ Conner, Clifford D., A Peoples History of Science, Nation Books 2005 ISBN 1-56025748-2, p. 306
  4. ^ January 26, 2007: Dr. Adrian Cohen was saddened, but not surprised, to hear about the 28-year-old woman who died earlier this month after drinking nearly two gallons of water to try to win a radio station contest. (WashTimes)

External links

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NAME Paracelsus
ALTERNATIVE NAMES von Hohenheim, Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus
SHORT DESCRIPTION physician, occultist
DATE OF BIRTH 11 November or 17 December 1493
PLACE OF BIRTH Einsiedeln, Switzerland
DATE OF DEATH 24 September 1541

  Results from FactBites:
Paracelsus (640 words)
Paracelsus (born 11 November or 17 December 1493 in Einsiedeln, Switzerland - 24 September 1541) was an alchemist, physician, astrologer, and general occultist.
Paracelsus was born at Einsiedeln, Switzerland, of a Swabian chemist father and a Swiss mother.
Paracelsus rejected Gnostic traditions, but kept much of the Hermetic, neoplatonic, and Pythagorean philosophies; however, Hermetical science had so much Aristotelian theory that his rejection of Gnosticism was practically meaningless.
Paracelsus - LoveToKnow 1911 (2386 words)
Doubtless Paracelsus learned rapidly what was put before him, but he seems at a comparatively early age to have questioned the value of what he was expected to acquire, and to have soon struck out ways for himself.
Paracelsus had burst upon the schools with such novel views and methods, with such irresistible criticism, that all opposition was at first crushed flat.
Paracelsus had seen how bodies were purified and intensified by chemical operations, and he thought if plants and minerals could be made to yield their active principles it would surely be better to employ these than the crude and unprepared originals.
  More results at FactBites »



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