Stephanus of Alexandria; on the Structure and Date of his Alchemical Work

Maria K. Papathanassiou


On the authorship of Stephanus' of Alexandria On the great and sacred art of making gold many questions have arisen, and many scholars have in my estimation misunderstood and undervaluated it. As a commentary on selected passages of earlier alchemical texts it in fact offered an opportunity to its author to demonstrate wide rhetorical prowess, extensive learning, and significant breadth of philosophical understanding. In this article we present additional arguments in favour of Stephanus' authorship of the work; demonstrate that what was its concluding portion has been lost; indicato how two of the origial lectures it contained have each been divided into two other lectures; and attempt to pin-point its exact date of compostition on the basis of astronomical infromation it cointains. 


Key words: Stephanus of Alexandria - Stephanus of Athens - Alchemy 

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