Development of knowledge in the Middle Ages. Alchemy

Until the XIII century. Europeans drew knowledge mainly from the Bible and ordinary observations. This knowledge was not backed by experience, so it was often fantastic. For example, the world was represented to man in the form of three whales, which hold the Earth, inhabited by pesigolovtsami and other monsters. We thought that the “heavenly firmament” converges with the Earth.

But economic life required reliable applied knowledge, which could be applied in practice. Therefore, in the XIII century. first experienced knowledge appeared, primarily in mechanics and mathematics. At their sources stood the distinguished English scientist Roger Bacon, who was considered a sorcerer. He expressed bold ideas, which the churches seemed to be heretical. For example, he believed that you can use the knowledge not only of Christians, but also of pagans. Therefore, it is not surprising that the scientist spent the last 14 years of his life in prison.

XIII century. From the works of Roger Bacon

There are three sources of knowledge: authority, reason and experience. However, authority is inadequate if it does not have reasonable proof… And reason itself can not distinguish sophistry from real evidence if it can not confirm its findings by experience…

A person who has never seen fire has enough evidence that the fire burns, spoils and destroys things. However, his spirit would not be satisfied with such knowledge, and he would not be careful with the fire until he put a hand in the fire or some combustible object and was not convinced through experience in what he learned from the evidence.

Roger Bacon argued that a ship that can swim without rowers, a cart that will move itself “at an incredible speed”, an aircraft, a boat for movement “on the bottom of the sea or rivers” can make a ship. His... uncontrollable technical fantasy was realized in the XIX-XX centuries.

Much has been made for the development of research knowledge medieval Alchemy, which came to Europe through Byzantium from Egyptian Alexandria. In the VII-VIII centuries. she was engaged in all the countries conquered by the Arabs, especially in Spain.

Scientists-alchemists devoted themselves to the search for Panacea and the Philosopher’s Stone. The church was related to alchemical experiments – mixing in different proportions of substances and heating the mixture – with great alertness. However, they were fond of Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon and a number of other scholars, mainly Arab and Jewish. These experiments brought only great disappointment. “Father of English poetry” Jeffrey Chaucer wrote in the XIV century. about the craft of an alchemist:

Yes, who got involved in our craft,
Tom’s done. With him, He carried away the
wealth and lives of many,
In him to ruin the right road.
And who wants to manifest madness,
Let him begin to boil gold.

Scientists-alchemists nevertheless made a lot of important scientific discoveries. They gave impetus to the development of chemistry and metallurgy.

In the era of the Crusades, geographical knowledge was multiplied. Particularly contributed to their development of the traveling merchants. So, in the XIII century. The Venetian merchant Marco Polo visited China and Central Asia. In the XIV-XV centuries. other travelers described a number of other lands. This made it possible to compile more perfect maps, even the first atlases. The development of medieval geography has prepared the conditions for the Great Geographical Discoveries.

Alchemy – attempts to invent a universal medicine, artificially obtain gold or silver.

Panacea is a mythical cure for all diseases.

The philosopher’s stone is a mythical way of turning ordinary metal into gold or silver.

Development of knowledge in the Middle Ages. Alchemy