The Dacalbo Project

Digital archive concerning alchemy in Byzantium and in Greek-speaking communities of the Ottoman Empire

The DACALBO project addresses a significant gap in the current historiography of sciences, by exploring and carefully mapping the Byzantine and post-Byzantine alchemy through the creation of a comprehensive, open access, digitized, and searchable database and metadata material. Specifically the project aims to:

a) Identify, collect, digitize and classify all surviving manuscript and printed primary sources relevant to alchemy in Greek language during the periods of Byzantium and of the Ottoman Empire.
b) Collect and classify the secondary bibliography.
c) Create prosopographical entries for every identifiable author.
d) Evaluate the modifications or transformations which Byzantine alchemical tradition has undergone, and to ascertain its relations with Hellenistic, Arabic, or Latin alchemy.
e) Determine what twists in the development of alchemy have taken place after its introduction in the cultural context of Greek-speaking communities of the Ottoman Empire, from the 15th to the 18th century and the passage to “Chymistry”.

Additional objectives:

a) The enrichment of the history of Byzantium, drawing lines of connection between the historiography of Byzantine alchemy and that of the natural sciences in South-Eastern Europe.
b) The production of a historical material that is both profitable in terms of educational applications and suitable for activities tending to promote public awareness of the different temporalities that having been merged in the history of science and render the written monuments of this history tokens of a common cultural legacy.

The interdisciplinary team is constituted by historians, historians of science, philologists, palaeographers, chemists and didacticians.

The project is supported by the International Academy of History of Science and funded by the 7th European Community Framework Program.

Browse the dedicated DACALBO website