The history of chemistry on Earth and Almea

This was some research I did in order to name chemical substances in Verdurian... a project that required learning quite a bit about the history of chemistry on Earth. (Chemistry, unlike biology and culture, will work the same on every planet!)

I didn't want to simply adapt terrestrial chemical terms, because these are based on elements; you have to have a quite sophisticated theory and practice of chemistry to name something (say) "carbon dioxide".

I wanted to go about it 'the right way': to understand what substances would be known by cultures of various sophistication, how they were derived, what technology was required or where they might occur naturally, what they were used for, what properties they have. Knowing all this, a plausible chronology of discovery and a reasonable set of names could be derived for Almea.

If this is just too geeky for you, here's just the good parts.


The discovery of substances on Earth Every inorganic substance people knew about before about 1800, in chronological order.

Verdurian substance names and their origins. Organized, of course, by Cadhinorian alchemical principles.

Order of discovery on Almea. Includes some caveats about names and the limits of historical knowledge that applies just as well to Earth.

Substances on Earth [To Index]

Modern chemical names are in red.

Prehistory [To Index]

Prehistory: knew gold, silver, iron, mercury, tin, copper, lead.

Iron and manganese oxides were found in the caves of Lascaux, and used as pigments.

flint (rel. Gr. plinthos 'tile') or silex is a grayish hard stone, often with white incrustations; a very pure form of silicon dioxide. Quartz is a crystalline form, with many variations depending on impurities.

Clay is chemically a hydroxyl-bearing alumino-silicate with a sheet structure.

Earliest civilizations (Egypt, Mesopotamia) [To Index]

Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. The Egyptian name is asem.

Pottery was fired in pits ~ -70C and in kilns ~ -35C. The results depend on heat. Unfired clay is "leather-hard" but melts when exposed to water. "Low-fired earthenware" (e.g. fired in open campfires) is rather soft. At white heat, 1800o F, the sheetlike structure collapses and a hard, less porous "stoneware" is produced. And at 3000o the minerals melt into a semi-glassy state, forming a very hard, non-porous porcelain.

salt is of course sodium chloride NaCl. It's not important for hunter/gatherers, but it is for agriculturalists (-60C).

natron, fr. Gk nítron 'nitre' = saltpetre; Egyptian n-t-r. Native sodium sesquicarbonate Na2CO3. An alkaline salt, occuring naturally in dry lakes. In Egypt, was more important than ordinary salt. Used, along with salt and gypsum, in embalming, cleansing, and preservation. Known as early as -50C.

Quite a few minerals later important in metallurgy were first used as pigments. Egyptians used malachite and galena; later we have azurite, ochre, realgar, orpiment, stibnite. All these were obtained naturally rather than prepared chemically.

Copper was smelted from malachite (Gk 'mallow-like' (color)) starting ~ -40C, probably in Iran, which was rich in ores. The temperatures necessary are obtainable only with an air blast, and it seems areas of strong wind were used for furnaces (e.g. in Palestine and in Peru). Very likely metallurgy co-developed with pottery kilns. Malachite (hydrous copper carbonate) is a deep green, glassy mineral. The Egyptians used it as a pigment, notably for painting the eyes.

Gypsum. Lt; Gk gupsos. Hydrous calcium sulfate. Heated, could be used as a plaster, and was in Paris: thus plaster of Paris. Used as a plaster in Egypt before -34C.

tinstone or cassiterite (from Gk kassiteros 'tin') is the most common ore of tin-- stannous oxide. It was known to the Phoenecians.

Bronze was smelted before -30C, probably in Iran. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin; the latter ws probably obtained from tinstone.

lime, an alkaline earth formed by roasting limestone or seashells. Calcium oxide. Lt was calx. A brittle white solid, very caustic. Combined with clay and water, forms mortar. Also used in making glass and leather; and in the Middle Ages, soap and fertilizer. Made by -25C in Babylonia.

bitumen (Lt) is a type of pitch, occurring naturally in the Mideast, and used for plaster; it's basically a stew of hydrocarbons. Naphtha is a liquid form, which can also occur naturally.

Tar is a dark, oily substance produced by distilling wood, coal, or peat. It's used for its antiseptic properties and to protect wood. Further distillation produces pitch, used for waterproofing, caulking, and paving.

steatite ('tallow-like stone') or soap-stone or French chalk, a heavy type of talc Mg3Si4O10(OH)2, greyish[-green], soapy in feel. Used for writing, statues, lubrication, even as a soap. Powdered, it's talcum powder. 'Talc' itself originally meant any shiny substance.

True glass appears -25C; it's made from sand plus 2-10% lime and 15-20% soda or natron. The mixed ingredients, just before melting to form glass, are called frit, and this was also used (ground up) as a blue pigment-- the first artificial pigment. Up to 1500 years earlier, glazed stones were produced (quartz or soapstone covered with soda or lime water and heated). Intermediate in technology is faience: heated quartz powder mixed with soda or lime water.

charcoal was the usual source of carbon, a black porous substance formed by imperfect combustion of organic matter. If pure it's wholly carbon. Essential for making iron. Also used for coloring and heating and in many (al)chemical operations. "Coal" originally meant charcoal but generally implies mined coal. Seems it's purposely made only when metallurgy develops. Earliest reference to it is in Egypt, -20C, but it was probably known earlier.

alum (potassium aluminum sulfate): a whitish transparent crystalline mineral salt, found naturally as a crystal efflorescence (with an 'astringent' taste) on rocks in rain-poor regions. Mordant for dyes, astringent (binding or constricting substance). Known in Egypt by -20C. Tended to be confused with vitriol.

-8C: Powdered sulphur plus lead, copper, or silver produced a blackened alloy named niello ('little black'), used for decoration; Homer mentions shields with colored designs produced from niello, gold, silver, and copper.

Glazes are applied to pottery c. -15C.

Litharge (Gk 'stone silver') is lead oxide, PbO. Sez here you can get some by exposing melted lead to a current of air. Also produced in extracting gold & silver from ores containing lead. Gk molúbdaina from mólubdos 'lead', latinized as molybdaena or plumbago, a word later applied to graphite. For its early use see below.

Litharge was used along with antimony oxide to form Naples yellow, a yellow lead antimoniate glaze, in Assyria, -8C.

stibium or antimony. Gk stimmi, Lt stibium, Ar. ithmid, whence antimony. Originally used for antimony trisulphide, which in native form is gray antimony, later called stibnite, and when calcined and powdered, black antimony or kohl (the latter word is related to 'paint'). Used as a pigment. Antimony was used in the -7C to decolorize glass.

The Greeks [To Index]

Note that identification of many of these substances is not always easy. Ancient terms may have given their names to different modern substances. And the ancients often confused similar substances, or gave different names to the same substance based on where it came from.

Greek alchemy: based on knowledge of metallurgy, dyeing, medicine. Belief in transmutability of metals was helped by a) philosophies which derived everything from the basic elements anyway, and b) none too firm a grasp on the differences between metals or on what exactly an alloy was.

Greek theory of alchemy: remove nature from element, creating a blank slate for adding others. E.g. lead is dense, soft, grey; gold is dense, soft, and yellow. all that should be necessary is to change the color!

Belief that metals grow in the earth like plants.

Amid all this silliness, a real insight-- or good guess-- from Plato, who held that oxides were produced by the weathering of metal.

sulphur (= brimstone) too. A greenish-yellow substance found abundantly in volcanic regions. Occurs naturally as crystal. Highly flammable. "Flower of sulphur" is powdered sulphur.

cinnabar: red or crystalline mercuric sulphide-- "the most important ore of mercury." Because red, often used to make "gold". Known by 1612 to be made of 'quick-silver' and 'brimstone'. As a pigment, known as vermilion (the name comes from 'worm' but refers to cochineal) and valued for its scarlet color. Mercury can be formed from it by heating.

orpiment or [yellow] arsenic (Roman auri pigmentum, Gk. arsenikón): trisulphide of arsenic As2S3: a pigment. Bright yellow mineral.

realgar (Arabic rehj al-gha:r "powder of the cave"), aka ruby sulphur or red arsenic or red orpiment: Gk/Lt sandaraca. Arsenic disulphide, As2Ss. Native mineral or made. Known as a poison.

white lead or cerusse or calx of lead is a lead carbonate and lead hydrate PbCO3 + PbH2O2, used as a pigment and medicine (e.g. for eye ointments). Seems to have a waxy quality to it. White lead doesn't occur in nature; rather, it's created by corroding lead with vinegar.

Similary ios, copper acetate, verdigris or verdet 'little green', was produced by corroding copper with vinegar. Used as a pigment and medicine.

I'm not sure when marble (Gk 'sparkling'?) was first used. Chemically it's a crystalline form of limestone.

The Romans [To Index]

Petroleum (a hydrocarbon stew) has been known from ancient times-- it's mentioned in Pliny. It occurs naturally on the surface in some rocks and bodies of water, especially in the middle east. The medieval name means 'rock oil'. A cute later name was Seneca oil, from the Indian tribe which collected it.

The Romans had some tests for the purity of gold. These were all based on the resistance of gold to various chemical treatments.

Argentite or silver-glance, silver sulphide, mentioned by Pliny.

Chalcopyrite is also mentioned by Pliny as a copper ore. It's an iron-copper mixture, normally found below the normal sources of malachite, which indicates deeper mining going on by this time.

Pyrites, mentioned by Pliny, could be used for the above or for flint (hence its name); but in modern times it's used for iron sulphide FeS2, also called fool's gold. It's a very common mineral, a yellowish grey in color-- looks to me like nickel. In ancient times it was mined mostly to get the copper of gold nearby; today it's mined as a source of sulphur. Roasted, the sulphur is driven off and is recovered in water as sulphuric acid.

galena (Lt name) or potter's ore, the common lead ore, lead sulphide. The source for lead of course, but also used in glazing pots. Extraction is particularly easy: you can toss it in a campfire and pick up the lead fragments later.

Calamine or cadmia (zinc carbonate) was used, with charcoal and copper, to make brass, starting in Roman times. The zinc existed only as a vapor and was not yet known as a metal.

Minium was used for cinnabar or for lead oxide, used as a pigment. Multhauf identifies it as Pb3O4 and notes it can be obtained from litharge by further oxidation; it's not certain if this was realized in ancient times. Dioscurides knew it could be made by heating white lead, or from heating certain stones occuring with silver ore.

Vitriol (from 'glass') or copperas (from 'coppery water'): a protosulphate of copper, iron, or zinc. Generated from the weathering of pyrites; but run off with water except in special circumstances, as in mines. Green vitriol, or simply vitriol, or (confusedly) green copperas, proto-sulfate of iron, used in dyeing, tanning, and making inks (in alchemy called the "green lion"). Gathered from iron mines; later (16C) formed by weathering pyrite. Blue vitriol is of copper; it occurs in the drainage of copper mines, and is also called chalcanthum (Gk 'copper flower'); this term is also sometimes applied to the iron form. White vitriol is of zinc.

Potash is an alkaline substance formed by leaching the ashes of land plants and evaporating the solution in iron pots-- thus the name. Used to make soap. Chemically this is a crude form of potassium carbonate.

An alkali is Arabic al-qali:y, originally the roasted ashes of certain marine plants, producing sodium carbonate, also in this sense soda or soda ash; used in making glass and soap. It later was used for any caustic substance which could make soap and neutralize acids.

lye, sodium hydroxide, also caustic soda, is made from a precipitation reaction of lime and soda ash. Actually Pliny notes it too, but using lime and natron. As a strong base, it will dissolve grease and hair. It was at first used only to make soap, which was produced by the 3C.

A lodestone ('way-stone') is a magnetic iron oxide. In ancient times often called magnesia 'Magnesian stone'

Pliny mentions opium (from a Gk dim. of 'vegetable juice'), tho' I'm not sure it was used in quite its present significance. The OED mentions the word from the 12C.

Distillation known in ancient world-- going back to devices of 3000 BC used for making perfumes. greatly improved in Alexandria, 1C. 'Maria the Jewess' is credited with inventing much of the classical distillation apparatus, tho' Multhauf thinks it couldn't have been very effective if the alchemists never discovered alcohol or the mineral acids. Or it could be that the failure derives from an excessive interest in sulphur and the arsenic sulphides-- the later alchemists were more interested in alums and salts.

Also "calcination": reduction of a solid to a powder via heat. This produced a calx, taken as an essential form of the mineral, tho' actually usually an oxide.

Galen, the 2C Greek physician, emphasizes holistic remedies, and the quintessential Galenic recipe was a compound of various substances, mostly botanical.

fluorspar is calcium fluoride CaF2, of various colors, and usually crystallized. Fluor was first a term for a class of minerals, lighter than gems and used in smelting; and later applied to fluorspar in particular.

manganese: a black mineral, manganese oxide, later called pyrolusite, used in glass-making. The name is a corruption of magnesia (which however meant either magnets or talc) and it's also called black magnesia.

3C: Gilding is done by painting an object with gold amalgam (the term originally was any softened metal, but came to mean a compound with mercury). Heat then removes the mercury. Or, you dip the object in a molten alloy of lead and gold, then corrode it, which removes the lead. The latter process is older, and was also known in the Americas.

white arsenic, later called arsenolite and flowers of antimony. Arsenic trioxide As2O3. A white mineral, very poisonous. Obtained by roasting one of the arsenic sulphides, orpiment or realgar. Known to the Hellenistic alchemists, and used by the Renaissance iatrochemists as a medicine.

NB: Arsenic, antimony, and bismuth are similar in properties, and all their compounds were not really disentangled till the 19C. The metals themselves were often previously mistaken for lead, and the oxides with sulphur.

Chinese [To Index]

Chinese elements: water, metal, earth, wood, fire.

1C: The blast furnace was known in China, 15 centuries before Europe. Used to produce high-quality cast iron, as opposed to the impure wrought iron produced in primitive furnaces.

4C: Chinese can distill alcohol from wine. Done in Europe in 12C.

gunpowder = saltpetre, charcoal & sulphur.

saltpetre (potassium nitrate) is found naturally. A white crystalline substance with a salty taste. Used in gunpowder and medicine. Lt sal petræ "salt of stone", since it occurs as an incrustation on rocks. Also formed by evaporating certain earths containing animal refuse. Also called nitre. Some historians say the Babylonians knew it, but the identification isn't supported by archeology. The Arabs and Europeans got it in the 13C. Sometimes the word is used for sodium nitrate.

Porcelain was first made by the Chinese, and European imitations appeared in the 16C.

Arab [To Index]

8C: Ja:bir, classic Arab alchemist (perhaps apocryphal); another was al-Ra:zi, who was also celebrated as a physician.

Arab medicine relied much more on mineral than on botanical preparations. Just about all the minerals known were used somehow. Antimony was used for eye diseases, for instance.

9C: Arabs had nusadir, sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride NH4Cl), from distilling hair with salt and urine-- OED says, from camel dung from temple of Jupiter Ammon; it also occurs naturally in volcanic deposits (e.g. in the Tarim). A hard white opaque crystalline salt. Useful in coloring and dissolving metals.

Borax is a white salt, sodium tetraborate; it occurs naturally in central Asia in saline deposits. Tincal is an unrefined form, greasy greenish or yellowish crystals, found in lakes or in the earth.

9C: It was discovered how to manufacture cinnabar from mercury and sulphur.

Antimony isolated. It's a flaky crystalline metallic substance, bluish white. Presumably made from black antimony or kohl, and orig. called regulus of antimony. A regulus is the purer or metallic part of a mineral, which sinks to the bottom of your crucible.

Mercury is sublimed with vitriol and salt by the Spanish Islamic alchemists to produce corrosive sublimate (mercuric chloride, HgCl2). A white crystalline substance and a strong acrid poison. One use was to eat away dead flesh.

Medieval [To Index]

12C: Europeans get round to distilling alcohol. Called "acqua vitae" or "acqua ardens" (burning water). Some identified it with quintessence. Gold dissolved in it produced potable gold, believed to have healing powers.

13C: Nitric acid, HNO3, is called acqua fortis. A clear liquid with a very pungent smell and acrid taste. Noted that it separates gold and silver (and indeed dissolves silver, though not gold). Said to be isolated by Geber, who however is probably not the Arab Ja:bir but a European taking his name. Distilled from vitriol and saltpetre.

13c: Sulphuric acid H2SO4was vitriolic acid or oil of vitriol. Distilled from vitriol or alum.

13C: Hydrochloric acid (HCl) was muriatic acid or spirit of salt. From muria 'brine'. You heat salt with a solution of sulphuric acid.

Acqua regia, a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids, could dissolve gold (but not silver).

These "mineral acids" revolutionized chemistry. They couldn't be produced till distillation apparatus was improved (for alcohol, cooling was key), and glassware was stronger!

Sphalerite (from Gk 'deceptive'; the name is modern), blende (German 'deceptive'), or zinc sulphide is the most common ore of zinc. The disapprobatory names come because it resembles galena, but yields no lead. This was undoubtedly noticed long ago, but I can't tell when, nor find an ancient name.

13C: zinc or spelter (both words are of obscure origin). A hard bluish-white metal. Recovered by heating zinc ores with carbon, first done in India at this time (and in Europe in the 16C).

13C: red precipitate or calx of mercury or mercuric oxide (HgO) first formed by gentle heating of mercury in air, or by the thermal decomposition of mercury nitrate. The alchemists' goal was to 'redden' mercury, presumably to make it more like gold. Later important in medicine, e.g. as an 18C treatment for syphilus.

Chaucer notes: alkali, alum, argol, armenian bole, arsenic, ashes, borax, brimstone, bull's gall, burnt bones, chalk, clay, dung, egg white, hair, iron scales, litharge, oil of tartar, prepared salt, quicklime, quicksilver, ratsbane, sal ammoniac, saltpetre, silver, urine, vitriol, waters albificated ('whitened'), waters rubificated ('reddened'), wort, yeast.

Armenian bole is more usually bole armoniac; a "soft friable fatty earth of a pale red color."

Argol is crude potassium bitartrate, the unpurified cream of tartar, which is used as a medicine (and, today, in baking powder). It's found caked on the sides of wine casks. Poss. fr. Arabic durdi: 'dregs'.

Salt of tartar is potassium carbonate, a transparent white powder KClO3, used in making glass, pigments, ceramics, and soaps. It liquefies if exposed to air. A saturated solution of this is called oil of tartar. It was known in the 17C at least. (Actually potash has the same formula, so I suppose this is just a purified form.) It could also be produced by burning tartar (wine lees).

Black lead, also called plumbago and now graphite, is a greyish-black shiny substance, mostly carbon with a little iron, and used for drawing and for polishing iron.

Alchemists concerned with medicine are not so interested in Galenic compounds, as in "essences" and "elixirs" formed by distillation. The urge to decompose substances was instrumental in the development of chemistry.

Renaissance [To Index]

16C (OED): tin-glass, later called bismuth, a reddish-white metal, found pure and in ores. Brittle and easily melted; similar to antimony. Used for alloys; oxides and salts used in medicine (often confused with antimony and arsenic). It occurs native, or in its common ores, bismuth oxide (Bi2O3) or bismuth ocher or bismite (yellowish white, earthy or flaky), and bismuth sulphide (Bi2S3) or bismuth glance or bismuthinite (a lead-grey lustrous mineral, hard to tell from stibnite, antimony sulphide).

Early 16C: calomel or sweet precipitate, mercurous chloride Hg2Cl2, produced. A yellowish-white powder much used in medicine (it's much less caustic than mercuric chloride). (The name means 'beautiful black' and has various explanations, the most likely imho referring to a stage in its manufacture.)

cobalt, named for the demon because of its uselessness and unhealthiness, often containing sulphur or arsenic. First meant the ores of the metal (it doesn't occur in pure form). The most common ore is an arsenide of cobalt (CoAsS) called cobalt glance, cobaltine, cobaltite or silver-white cobalt-- silvery but not silver, thus considered enchanted by kobolds.

copper-nickel or niccolite or nickeline, a compound of arsenide and nickel, named for its disappointing resemblance to copper.

wolfram is a tungstate of iron and manganese. Mostly important for the problem of separating it from useful metals like tin, it seems.

The word tungsten (Sw. 'heavy stone') or ponderous stone was originally calcium tungstate.

16C, Paracelsus: emphasis on medical uses. An advance was to localize diseases; previously all diseases were problems of whole body. "Three principles" of salt, sulphur, and mercury.

Paracelsus had a remedy he named laudanum, whose recipe is obscure. It was widely taken as, and came to mean, a less caustic preparation of opium. It's now (OED) an alcoholic tincture of opium.

He also obtained butter of antimony, antimony trichloride, by subliming antimony. He got its origin wrong, calling it mercury of life. Later we find butter of antimony, arsenic, bismuth, tin, zinc, all anhydrous chlorides.

A contemporary, Cordus, distilled ether (diethyl ether, C4H10O) from sulphuric acid and alcohol. It was sometimes (mistakenly) called sulphuric ether. Paracelsus's "sweet oil of sulphur" also seems to be ether.

Antimony (sulphide) was a popular remedy, often used as a purgative. The confusion of antimony with arsenic and the use of the latter by unscrupulous or uninformed physicians contributed to the disrepute and sometimes prohibition of antimony remedies.

As Multhauf says, however, the iatrochemist was an experimenter, and could "discover new drugs faster than his critics were able to expose them."

Van Helmont (d. 1644): emphasis on quantitative and careful methods-- e.g. grew trees in a jar, weighing soil first; concluded that only water was needed. Didn't think of the air. Still, a real experiment with an emphasis on control. Invented word and arguably the concept gas.

Sylvius (d. 1672): big on alkali vs. acid. Effervescence when combined was (but recently) known; but this mutual definition was inadequate.

17C: spirit of hartshorn obtained from, oddly enough, harts' horns. This was an acqueous solution of ammonia; also called aquila coelestis. A spirit obtained from distilling urine (which seems to have been done as early as the 14C), was later (early 18C) called volatile alkali, turned out to be ammonia itself.

1620: Sala synthesizes sal ammoniac from 'volatile salt of urine' (ammonia) and 'spirit of salt' (hydrochloric acid).

17C (OED) coke is the impure carbon residue left by roasting (heating without air) coal.

1649: Elemental arsenic isolated. This can be done by reducing the oxide with coke.

1650: Air pump (Germany).

1661: Boyle's Sceptical Chymist attacks 4-element and Parcelsian doctrines, e.g. pointing out not all substances can be divided into all 4 aristotelian elements. In effect old theory of elements had to be destroyed before new concept emerges. Found that "syrup of violets" changed color when touched to an acid or a base. Boyle also used air pump to investigate combustion; linked pressure and volume: Boyle's law.

1674: Mayow shows that a candle or a mouse removes the "nitrous part" of the air and loses pressure ("elasticity"). This is not nitrogen but another Paracelsus-style simplication into overall principles, this time sulphur and nitre, as in gunpowder, hypothesized also to cause lightning, combusion, etc.

1675: Hennig Brand, an alchemist, extracts phosphorus from urine. (He boiled urine to a paste, then heated it, causing phosphorus to form by sublimation.) This produces white phosphorus, a waxy solid that burns (glowing blue-green) when exposed to air; it's quite poisonous. Roasting it produces the powdery, less toxic red phosphorus.

It glows in the dark; thus the name. At first it was considered just one of several glowing substances, such as Bolognian phosphorus or barium sulphide, which glows under calcination (1602), or heated nitrates or sulphides of calcium.

1693 (OED): molybdena applied to molybdenum disulphide, the principle ore of molybdenum, occuring in bluish-grey crystals; the name comes from a confusion with ores of lead; it also closely resembles graphite. Now usually molybdenite.

The crystalline ammonium carbonate was first called salt of hartshorn (attested 1698) and later called smelling salts.

17C: It's noticed that iron placed in copper vitriol "turns into copper": the solution becomes iron vitriol and copper precipitates. By the end of the century it's understood that copper and iron participles are exchanging places, and it's said that iron has a greater "affinity" for the acid.

17C: Various nitrates (of tin, mercury, copper, lead, silver, and calcium) produced. These were at first called vitriols; later, nitres.

18th century [To Index]

early 18C: chemists interested in "elective affinities" and create tables showing what reacts with what. not yet realized that mass, temp, pressure have an effect too.

1702: Narcotic salt of vitriol, later boric acid H3BO3, distilled by Homberg from borax and vitriol. Springs of sedative salt discovered in Italy later in the century proved to be the same substance.

Stahl (d. 1734): phlogiston theory. 3 invisible earths or elements; form secondary principles like gold, silvers, and many calces (=oxides), impossible to simplify; these in turn produce higher "mixts" like salts. Thought of oxidation not as a metal gaining oxygen but as a metal losing phlogiston. Later noticed that calxes are heavier; some saved the theory by giving phlogiston negative weight! Stahl also distinguished inorganic & organic chem and thus nixed the idea that metals grow in the earth.

18C: jargon or zircon, a silicate of zirconium, found in tetragonal crystals of varius colors. Probably known for a long time in its place of origin, Ceylon.

1730s: Brandt isolates cobalt, a reddish-grey brittle metal, much like nickel.

1735: platinum isolated. It was discovered by the Spanish in the Americas, but seems to have been generally recognized as a metal only at this time.

1675 Epsom salts (chiefly magnesium sulfate) obtained from the mineral water of Epsom. Seidlitz in Bohemia has similar salts.

heavy spar or barytes or barite (words all referring to its heaviness), barium sulfate. Used in medicine and later as a white paint.

18C (OED): feldspar ('field shiny-metal'), the most abundant aluminosilicate (containing also potassium, sodium and calcium), the commonest form of aluminum. A white or pink quartzy mineral, pretty much omnipresent. (The principal rock of the crust is granite, composed of feldspar and quartz with some other minerals. The name is Italian ('grained') but the substance was undoubtedly known in ancient times.)

1754: earth of alum, later called argil and then alumina; aluminum oxide. A white insoluble substance, the chief part of clay, and found crystallized as sapphire.

1754: nickel is isolated from copper-nickel. A hard but malleable silvery-white lustrous mineral.

1754: fixed air (carbon dioxide CO2), made from alkaline substances by solution in acids or by calcination. First isolated by Black.

1756: Black shows that potash is really a compound. Remove the CO2 and you get a powerfully caustic substance, hard white and brittle, potassium hydroxide KHO, which is what chemists now mean by 'potash'-- also called caustic potash.

1758: pitchblend, a native uranium oxide, found in blackish pitch-like masses, sometimes crystalline.

1765: Pneumatic trough-- used to collect and thus study "airs" (gases).

Lavoisier (d. 1794): revolutionized chemistry. Improved equipment. Showed that demonstrations of "water turning to earth" was due to leaching of glass from the apparatus. Understood transition of water to vapor and thus the 3 states of matter. Understood oxidation as "fixing" of air (thus the increase in weight), 1773.

Priestly (d. 1804): Experiments on air-- produced over 20 "new airs", including what Priestly calls dephlogisticated air (oxygen), 1774; the Swede Scheele isolated it in 1772 and called it fire air.

1760s: "Fixed air" (CO2) shown to make plants thrive; 1780s: plants found to give off "dephlogisticated air" (O).

1774: manganese isolated from its oxides (and now takes their name). It's greyish white and of almost no use in metallic form.

It was known that mercury could be produced from mercuric oxide just by heating, without charcoal (a difficulty for phlogistonism). The air produced is of course oxygen; Lavoisier invented the name (1778) on grounds it's used to produce acids-- incorrect as it turns out. But produced a theory explaining oxidation, acid formation (O reacting with nonmetals), and even the internal heat of organisms.

Non-respirable part of air (nitrogen 'nitre-forming') first called azote (from 'non-life-(supporting)') or mofette, wh. however is also a term for volcanic exhalations of CO2.

1778 molybdenum isolated from molybdena. A brittle, hard to melt silver-white metal. Rapidly oxidizes.

1782: tellurium, a tin-white brittle substance, occuring naturally in crystals.

1783: tungsten isolated from calcium tungstate (previously called tungsten) and/or wolfram. A heavy grey metal.

1787 Guyton comes up with name carbon, from Lt carbo 'charcoal'.

1789: zirconium, a black powder or a greyish crystalline substance, isolated from zircon.

Hydrogen called inflammable air, produced when metal was treated with an acid.

1785: ammonia decomposed into N and H. NH3. Obtained from sal ammoniac, from which it takes its name.

flower of zinc = zinc oxide. Appeared in large quantities in the flues of brass furnaces.

1780s: water determined to be hydrogen + oxygen. Several did the experiment but Lavoisier interpreted it correctly. In 1789, water synthesized using electric spark. He also produced a new theory of acids and largely generated today's system of naming elements and compounds (replacing a mishmash of names). Invented terms such as sulfate, oxide. Defined elements as things that couldn't be decomposed further.

Lavoiser called chlorine oxygenated muriatic acid-- muriatic acid being hydrochloric acid.

Lavoisier's elements: light, caloric (heat), oxygen, azote (N), hydrogen sulphur, phosphorus, charcoal, muriatic radical, fluoric radical, boracic radical antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cobalt, copper, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdena, nickel, platina, silver, tin, tungsten, zinc lime, magnesia, barytes (barium oxide), argilla (alumina), silex (silica)

Didn't make the alkalis, potash and soda, elements-- suspected they were compounds, like ammonia. Davy indeed decomposed them in 1808.

1789: uranium isolated from pitchblend or other ores. A rare, heavy, grayish metallic element.

1791: titanium, an iron-grey lustrous powder, isolated from rutile ('reddish') = titanium dioxide.

1792: Richter quantizes acidity/baseness by seeing how much of what substances neutralize others.

1797: chromium isolated from its brilliantly-colored compounds. What we call chrome these days is usually chromium plating.

1797: yttria or a yttrium oxide, a white powder obtained from gadolinite, a silicate of yttrium. Very soon decomosed into yttrium.

1798: beryllium or glucinum isolated from its oxide, glucina ('sweetish') or beryllia (from the gem beryl).

19th century [To Index]

Dalton (d. 1844): Atomism. Explained ratios of substances and their compounds as arising from integral numbers of atoms combining. Assumed smallest integers first & thus first misinterpreted water as HO and ammonia as NH. This of course led to wrong atomic weights, but idea was good.

Dalton created a theory of static gases based on sizes of particles; superseded in 1850s by kinetic theory of gases.

1800: Invention of battery or pile, literally a pile of zinc and silver disks. Many experiments with electrolysis followed.

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) investigated by Davy (1800s). Used as an anesthetic in 1846.

180xs: Davy isolates calcium (a gold-like but highly oxidizing metal--leave it out and you get lime), strontium and barium from alkaline earths. (Barium, a white metallic element, comes from baryta, the protoxide of barium; strontium from strontia, strontium monoxide.) Renamed oxymuriatic acid "chlorine". Isolates potassium from potash, 1807.

1810: Berzelius creates electrical theory of "affinities".

1813: Berzelius introduces element abbreviations and subscripts; varied it over time. In 1840s Thomas Graham culminated a century of graphical experimentation by creating the chemical equation.

Berzelius also notes that 2 volumes of H to one of O are needed to synthesize water, and so corrects the formula for water to H2O.

1815: Prout notices that atomic weights are all close to whole numbers and suggests that all "elements" are compounds of hydrogen.

1825: aluminum isolated by Wohler-- another book says Oersted-- by reduction of aluminum chloride with potassium dissolved in mercury. Sez here that Davy "obtained it as an alloy of iron and proved its metallic nature in 1809" but doesn't say how.

1859: Spectroscope invented. Used to identify new elements like thallium and rubidium; and in 1868, based on solar spectrum, helium.

Verdurian substance names and their origins [To Index]

The Cadhinorians divided the world into seven elements (ftaconî), each of which was associated with a type of intelligent being made from it, and also with a type of human nature. Cadhinorian alchemy was based on this division. Verdurian chemists no longer hold to the theory, but it is still used to classify and describe substances (and personalities!).
ur clay men practicality
për rock elcarî determination
mey water iliî benevolence
endi wood pizî or icëlanî delicacy
gent metal gdeonî (giants) calm
tshur fire ktuvokî (demons) energy
shalea air vyozhî (spirits) intellectuality
Below I give the Verdurian names of the substances known to the Verdurians as of Z.E. 3480. I also give the etymologies, tracing the words back wherever possible till a derivation from simpler morphemes is possible. CAPITALS indicates a Cadhinorian term.

Clay (Ur) [To Index]

Clays proper
ur - clay; earth (as primary element) [HUROS]
binges - alumina (aluminum oxide) [Cuolese (of Belshai) binggec 'white clay']
- pot [TUANA]
ledli - porcelain or fine china [after Ledley, Flora, a center for its manufacture]
sesüza - glaze [CESUENSA 'waterproofing', from CESUES 'wet']
ladriyo - brick [LADRILO]
kef - ashes [KEVER]
fulyo - soot [FULGO]
kef lezüny - sodium carbonate (soda ash) ['ashes of Leziunea']
kef steklei - potassium carbonate (potash) ['glassmaker's ashes']
Crusts (rhecämî)
teb - rust (iron oxide) [TAEBROS]
civru verdul - copper acetate (verdigris) ['greened copper']
përnápa - potassium nitrate (saltpetre) [PIEDRONAPPA, 'rock crust']
Powders (prakî)
sably - sand; a stretch of beach [SABLIS]
steklo - glass (substance) [back-formation from steklom 'glassblower', regularized from OV stereklo or sterec-lo, from STEREC 'tender' + LEO 'glas s (acc.)']
hasifa - sulfur [KhAMSIFA, from Methaiun 'hot-springs sand'; cf. Kebreni h'ansiva]
puil - dusty; dust [PURIL 'dusty']
krhumprak - black powder (explosive) ['exploding powder']
ricorek - talc (powdered soapstone) [dim. of ricora 'soapstone']
- kohl (powdered, calcined antimony trisulphide) [HIESCORRES 'eye-dark']
rhoga - plaster; gypsum (hydrous calcium sulfate) [KROGA]
Calxes (chuelî)
chuél - calx, the powder (generally an oxide) resulting from roasting a metal or ore [TUREL 'result of burning']
creza - (m) lime, quicklime (calcium oxide); classroom chalk [CREIDAS, from Cuêzi creidas 'eating substance']
chuél camside - arsenic trioxide (white arsenic) ['calx of orpiment']
chuél choshave - mercuric oxide (red precipitate) ['calx of mercury']
chuél mlakonei - coke ['calx of coal' ]
chuél plomei - lead carbonate + lead hydrate (white lead) ['calx of lead' ]
erüzula ogudula - lead oxide Pb3O4 (minium) ['roasted litharge']
Salts (selî)
sel - salt (sodium chloride); or any salt [SAEL]
sel imelilec - smelling salts (ammonium carbonate) ['invigorating salt']
sel Mirashcarei - Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) ['Mirashcaré salt']
sel sheveië - sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride) ['salt of hair']
sel vinnape - cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) ['salt of wine dregs']
selembre - natron (sodium carbonate) ['bitter salt']
selkare - sodium tetraborate (borax) ['salt of the Kara desert']
(sel) elcarin - copper sulfate (blue vitriol) ['elcar salt']
verde (sel) elcarin 'green elcar salt' - iron sulfate ['green elcar salt']
brunarë - alum (potassium aluminum sulfate), a mineral salt used as a mordant and astringent [INDETIA BERUNDARIES 'astringent of Berunor']
Earths (susî)
sus - earth, soil [SONSOS]
leut - slime, mud [OV lisut, from LISUTES 'slimy']
përshruma - bitumen, coal tar ['rocky pitch']
- tar [variant of sima 'resin']
shruma - pitch [SCRUMA]
- phosphorus [Tzhuro gitlesheli 'glowing wax']
fale brisgent - bismuth oxide (bismuth ocher) ['white bismuth' ]

Rock (për) [To Index]

camsida - yellow arsenic, orpiment (arsenic trisulphide) [ECAMMISIDAS, from Cuêzi, 'yellowizing substance']
crezapër - limestone, chalk (calcium carbonate) ['lime rock']
crifpër - graphite ['write-stone']; also mole plom 'soft lead'
crifpër Benécë - molybdenite (MoS2) ['Benécian graphite']
erüza - cinnabar (mercuric sulphide) [ERUIDAS, from Cuêzi 'reddener', from ruyisi 'red']
- realgar (arsenic disulphide) [EVRANKhRAS 'realgar, minium', from Methaiun evrankhras 'red mineral', which comprehended also cinnabar]
grisruda - pyrite (iron sulphide) ['gray ore']
mira plomei - lead sulphide (galena) ['mother of lead']
mlakon - coal [MELANKONDOS augmentative of MLAKES 'black']
mlakon brisgentei bismuth sulphide (bismuth glance) ['coal of bismuth']
mlakon yeshorei antimony trisulphide (grey antimony) ['coal of kohl']
murca - magnet [TASIMURCA, from Cuêzi tâsimurga 'pull-stone']
- calamine (zinc carbonate) [PAThETA, from Methaiun patheta; cf. mod. Kebreni patheda]
erüzula - lead oxide (litharge) ['little cinnabar', from its color]; also plom pushul 'blown lead'
porute - marble [PORUNTE, Cuêzi poronte, from Poron, site of famous marble quarries]
- soapstone (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2) [RICOMURGA, from Cuêzi rico:rimurga 'fatty stone']
samplom - zinc sulphide (blende, sphalerite) ['without lead']
shushchat mlakon - charcoal ['dead coal']
stampër - tinstone (stannous oxide) ['tin-stone']
rhena - (m) flint (uncrystallized silicon dioxide) [KRENA]
Jewels (zhoyî)
azurda - (m.) sapphire [ADURDAS, from Cuêzi adu:rdas 'blue substance']
seslina - turquoise (CuAl6 plus hydroxides, water) [Ismaîn seslines 'nobleman's jewel']
berole - malachite (hydrous carbonate of copper) [BEREOLE, from Cuêzi bereole 'green jewel']
camsidole - arsenic ['orpiment crystal']; earlier chuél camside mlakonul [ 'reduced calx of orpiment']
crator - ruby [CURANTOR, from Cuêzi curanto:re, from Elkarûl kurântur]
dadhusha - jade [DAThUSIA, from DAThUSOS, a mountain town where it was mined]
iluti - quartz [ILONTIS]
lazhar - lapis lazuli, lazurite [LADZUAR, from Munkhâshi lajwar (gem found in Ctelm)]
lökol - black manganese (manganese dioxide) [LEUKOL 'iron for (making) glass']
moshtol -
feldspar [Barakhinei mushtol, from MUSTOLE, from Cuêzi mûsstole 'common crystal']
- amethyst ['(the color of a) far mountain']
tánulac - zircon (zirconium silicate) [Xurnásh tanulak, from Gurdagor tanulak, from Chia tran üleg 'blood (color) gem']
tsísia - diamond ['glittering']
yatar - amber [IANTAR]

Water (mey) [To Index]

mey - water [MEIS]
cüe Kare - petroleum ['oil of Kara'; Kara is a desert where it occurs naturally]
beh - spirit, essence-- a substance formed by distillation [BAEKh 'essence']
beh michii - acqueous ammonia (NH3) ['base of urine']
beh elcarinei
- sulphuric acid (oil of vitriol) ['essence of vitriol']
beh selei - hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid) ['essence of salt']
crezheca choshava - mercuric chloride (corrosive sublimate) ['corrosive mercury']
kefmey - sodium hydroxide (lye) ['ash water' ]
mashre mey - nitric acid (acqua fortis) ['master water']
- alcohol ['wine base']

Metal (gent) [To Index]

gent - metal [GUENTOS]
arzhent - silver[ARGENTOS]
brisgent - bismuth ['break(able)-metal']
civru - copper [KIBRU]
choshava - mercury [TUORESAMBAS, from Cuêzi to:ure- 'flowing' + sambas 'bright stuff']
elnamë - platinum [ELEINAMIEIS, from Cuêzi ele:inamie:i 'mistress of elements']
emur - an alloy of silver and tin, often used for coins [HAEMUR]
gent meiladei - cobalt ['metal of cobaltite']
gent meuciborei - nickel ['metal of niccolite']
gent samplomei - zinc ['metal of blende']
gent yeshorei - antimony ['metal of kohl']
kol - iron [KOL]
kolë - steel [KOLILE, derivative of KOL]
laitón - brass; brass instrument [LAITONDOS, from LAITA, modern Lädau, the city in Kebri associated with its manufacture]
meilad - cobaltite (cobalt sulpharsenide, CoAsS) [Barakhinei mêlilôd 'fool's silver', from MUEL 'blunt' + ILALDE, Eärdur dialect 'silver', from Cuêzi ilaldê, a nominalization of alaldas 'star': the starry metal]
meucibor - niccolite, copper-nickel (nickel sulpharsenide) [Barakhinei mêlkibor 'fool's copper'; cf. meilad and civru]
- gold; golden [OV oh, gen. orhei; from OKh]
plom - lead (metal) [PLOMBOS]
plomul - pewter [stan plomul 'leaded tin']
selon - bronze (copper-tin alloy) [CELONDOS, from Cuêzi cêlon 'sword material']
stan - tin [STANNOS]
zhuranami - wolfram (manganese/iron tunstate) [Tzhuro juranami 'black tin']

Fire (tshur) [To Index]

tshur - fire [TUROS 'ember, source of fire', from TURAN 'burn']

Air (shalea) [To Index]

shalea - air; breath; life, the spirit [SCALEIA 'breath']Note: The gas names with shalea are also seen with scaleia 'gas'; but the former are older and more common.
shalea cipulátei - carbon dioxide (fixed air) ['air of effervescence']
shalea michii - ammonia (NH3) ['air of urine']
zhivë shalea - oxygen ['lively air']
fäsula shalea - nitrogen ['remaining air (after oxygen is removed)']

Wood (endi) [To Index]

I don't list all known organic substances here. They would be classified either as woods or as waters.
endi - wood [ENDIS]
maflosh - the drug obtained from dried mafla flowers, intoxicating in small quantities and sedative in large quantities, an alkaloid resembling opium ['mafla stuff', from MAPOLA 'poppy']
- rubber [CALTUCO]
chuzhec - starch [TUGENDEC, from TUGENDAN 'stiffen']
dónia - wax [DONGA]
azipa - (m.) fat, grease [ADIPAS]
mey vezhë - sap ['water of plants']
sabun - soap [SABUND, augmentative of SABOS 'tallow']
sima - resin [SIMOLA]
simula - varnish [sherë simula 'resined beer'-- one way of making a varnish]
stäv - straw [STAUBROS]
zhezho - jelly [*CTEIUS 'sticky thing', from CTEIES 'sticky']
zhezhoil - gelatine [adjectival form of zhezho]

Processes and Categories [To Index]

Acid/Base = sichise/credre.

Processes: chuelát calcination (heating below melting point, generally produces oxides), kopurát distillation; pushát blowing air across, ogudia roasting (one source says, without air; OED says = calcination but wouldn't the latter require air? And another chem book says, with air!); mlakonia reduction-- heating with carbon to reduce an oxide to its element, the opposite of calcination

Sublimation? = heating to produce a vapor, which is then condensed on a cooling surface.

Also: vitrification, volatilization, dissolution, and precipitation.

Order of discovery on Almea [To Index]

This section lists substances in the order they were discovered in the Cadhinorian plain. The order would be different, of course, in any of the other major cultures of Almea: Xurno, Skouras, Dhekhnam, Belesao, Uytai.

The early parts of the list understate the knowledge of the ancients, largely because we have no archeological access to Almea, and must rely on linguistic and historical evidence, which may be subject to differing interpretations, or lacking entirely.

"Knowledge" of a substance is here taken to be the ability to recognize a substance, distinguish it from other substances, and either find or manufacture more of it. The mere presence of a substance as a by-product in a known process does not count.

The major caveats-- all of which apply also to terrestrial historiography:

Prehistory [To Index]

Substances known from the earliest times.
arzhent - silver
civru - copper
iluti - crystallized silicon dioxide (quartz)
kol - iron
orh - gold
sel - sodium chloride (salt)
shushchat mlakon 'dead coal' - charcoal
stan - tin
ur - clay
rhena - silicon dioxide (flint)

Methaiun times (-4000+) [To Index]

Methaiun is a cover term for the Monkhayic cultures of the Plain, conquered (except in Kebri) by the Cuzeians and Cadhinorians. Since their language was unwritten and we have no archeological records, it's very difficult to know the state of their knowledge, which this list surely understates. The list below consists either of items we know or can deduce they understood (e.g. due to the invention of metallurgy), or words Cadhinor borrowed from the Methaiun languages.
chana - pot
plom - lead
sëm - tar
- rust (iron oxide)
evranka 'red mineral' - arsenic disulphide (realgar)
hasifa 'hot-springs sand' - sulphur
sesüza 'waterproofing' - glaze

Cuzei (-300+) [To Index]

The Cuzeians were the more advanced of the two Eastern nations that invaded the Plain starting around ZE -350. This list is mainly based on borrowings from Cuêzi into Cadhinor and Verdurian, and again understates Cuzeian science.
berole 'green jewel' - hydrous copper carbonate (malachite)
camsida 'yellow stuff' - arsenic trisulphide (orpiment)
civru verdul 'greened copper' - copper acetate (verdigris)
choshava 'flowing bright stuff' - mercury
creza 'eating stuff' - calcium oxide (lime)
crezapër 'limerock' - calcium carbonate (limestone, chalk)
elnamë 'mistress of metals' - platinum
erüza 'reddener' - mercuric sulphide (cinnabar)
moshtol 'common crystal' - feldspar (aluminosilicate)
murca '(pull)-stone' - magnetic iron oxide (lodestone)
porute 'of Poron' - marble
ricorek - powdered soapstone (talc)
selon 'sword material' - bronze
stampër - tinstone (stannous oxide) ]

Cadhinorian [To Index]

This list is mainly comprised of terms attested in the literate period of Cadhinorian history, from about 700 on. With the previous lists, it can be taken as summarizing the chemical knowledge of imperial civilization.
(sel) elcarin 'elcar salt' - copper sulfate (blue vitriol)
brunarë 'Bérunor astringent' - potassium aluminum sulfate (alum)
cüe Kare 'oil of Kara' - petroleum
- iron sulphide (pyrite)
laitón from Laita in Kebri - brass
lökol 'glass iron' - manganese dioxide (black manganese)
maflosh 'mafla stuff' - an alkaloid much like opium
mira plomei - lead sulphide (galena)
mlakon yeshorei 'coal of kohl' - antimony trisulphide (grey antimony)
pattea - zinc carbonate (calamine)
përnápa 'rock crust' - potassium nitrate (saltpetre)
përshruma - bitumen, coal tar
plom pushul 'blown lead', erüzula 'little cinnabar' - lead oxide (litharge)
samplom 'without lead' - zinc sulphide (blende, sphalerite)
selembre 'bitter salt' - sodium carbonate Na2CO3 (natron)
shruma - pitch
steklo - glass (Cadh leus)
verde (sel) elcarin 'green elcar salt' - iron sulfate
yeshore 'eye-dark' - antimony trisulphide, powdered (kohl)
rhoga - hydrous calcium sulfate (gypsum)

Late Cadhinorian [To Index]

Substances discovered after the classical period, from 1900 on.

The foundations of alchemy-- cerhecát, the art of changing the nature (hecu) of a substance. There was plenty of 'chemical' knowledge before this, from metallurgy, glassmaking, ceramics, pigments and dyes, and medicine, among other things; but it was at this time that true alchemical investigations began, with the aim of 'changing the nature of things': changing one substance into another, or discovering new substances.

This period marks the discovery of calcination (chuelát), roasting under the melting point, a process which typically produced oxides. The distillation of alcohol dates to this time, though its consequences were only explored later.

crifpër 'write-stone' or mole plom 'soft lead' - graphite
chuél camside 'calx of orpiment' - arsenic trioxide (white arsenic)
chuél mlakonei 'calx of coal' - coke
chuél plomei 'calx of lead' - lead carbonate + lead hydrate (white lead)
erüzula ogudula 'roasted litharge' - lead oxide Pb3O4
kef lezüny 'ashes of Leziunea' - sodium carbonate (soda ash)
kef steklei 'glassmaker's ashes' - potassium carbonate (potash)
kefmey 'ash water' - sodium hydroxide (lye)
selkare 'salt of Kara' - sodium tetraborate (borax)
vimbeh 'wine base' - alcohol

Dark Years [To Index]

The Dark Years are deemed to have started with the fall of the Empire to the Red Cabal, c. 2300. Though much knowledge was lost, alchemical investigations continued.
chuél choshave 'calx of mercury' - mercuric oxide (red precipitate)
gent yeshorei 'metal of kohl' - antimony
ledli 'Ledley, Flora' - porcelain
meilad 'fool's silver' - cobalt sulpharsenide (cobaltite)
meucibor 'fool's copper' - nickel sulpharsenide (niccolite)
sel sheveië 'salt of hair' - ammonium chloride (sal ammoniac)
sel vinnape 'salt of wine dregs' - potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar)

Early modern era [To Index]

The Verdurian era, from about 2900 on: scholars rediscovered classical knowledge and began to move beyond it. Distillation (kopurát) had been known for some time, but it was now systematically explored.

The discovery of nitric acid, which can dissolve silver, was exciting and disquieting. It propelled the last gasp of pure alchemy-- such mastery over a solid metal seemed to augur great power-- but was also taken to call into question eternal truths. Alternatives to the Cadhinorian classification into seven elements were seriously explored.

beh elcarinei 'essence of vitriol' - sulphuric acid (oil of vitriol)
beh michii 'base of urine' - acqueous ammonia (NH3)
beh selei 'essence of salt' - hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid)
brisgent 'break-metal' - bismuth
camsidole 'orpiment crystal' - arsenic; earlier chuél camside mlakonul
crezheca choshava 'corrosive mercury' - mercuric chloride (corrosive sublimate)
fale brisgent 'white bismuth' - bismuth oxide (bismuth ocher)
gent samplomei 'metal of blende' - zinc
krhumprak 'explosive powder' - gunpowder
mashre mey
'master water' - nitric acid (acqua fortis)
sel Mirashcarei
'Mirashcaré salt' - magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts)

Recent [To Index]

Discoveries in the last two centuries, since about 3300. During this period there has been an increasing movement to the modern conception of elements as an substances which cannot be decomposed into anything else; the final nail in the coffin was the demonstration that air itself is not an element. The bold are already predicting that the same will prove true of water. Chemical studies are now called mecliviso, the study of mixtures. Note that some of these substances were discovered in other Ereláan cultures; chemistry is now a continental effort.
binges 'white clay' - aluminum oxide (alumina) [Belshai]
crifpër Benécë 'Benécian graphite' - molybdenum disulphide (MoS2)
fäsula shalea 'remaining air' - nitrogen
gent meiladei 'metal of cobaltite' - cobalt
gent meuciborei 'metal of niccolite' - nickel
gitlesheli 'glowing wax' - phosphorus [Skouras]
mlakon brisgentei 'coal of bismuth' - bismuth sulphide (bismuth glance)
sel imelirec 'invigorating salt' - ammonium carbonate (smelling salts)
shalea cipulátei 'air of effervescence' - carbon dioxide (fixed air)
shalea michii 'air of urine' - ammonia (NH3)
tánulac 'blood-color gem' - zirconium silicate (zircon) [Luduyn]
zhivë shalea 'lively air' - oxygen
zhuranami 'black tin' - wolfram, a manganese/iron tungstate

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