Alchemy is several philosophical traditions spanning some four millennia and three continents.
These traditions' general penchant for cryptic and symbolic language makes it hard to trace their mutual influences and "genetic" relationships.
These included the pantheon of gods related to the Classical planets, Isis, Osiris, Jason, and many others.
The central figure in the mythology of alchemy is Hermes Trismegistus (or Thrice-Great Hermes).
It is still an open question whether these three strands share a common origin, or to what extent they influenced each other.
The start of Western alchemy may generally be traced to ancient and Hellenistic Egypt, where the city of Alexandria was a center of alchemical knowledge, and retained its pre-eminence through most of the Greek and Roman periods.
The four elements of the Greek were mostly qualitative aspects of matter, not quantitative, as our modern elements are; "...
True alchemy never regarded earth, air, water, and fire as corporeal or chemical substances in the present-day sense of the word.
Chemistry, from the ancient Egyptian word "khēmia" meaning transmutation of earth, is the science of matter at the atomic to molecular scale, dealing primarily with collections of atoms, such as molecules, crystals, and metals.The subject has also made an ongoing impact on literature and the arts.Despite this split, which von Franz believes has existed since the Western traditions' origin in a mix of Greek philosophy that was mixed with Egyptian and Mesopotamian technology, According to the Egyptologist Wallis Budge, the Arabic word al-kīmiyaʾ actually means "the Egyptian [science]", borrowing from the Coptic word for "Egypt", kēme (or its equivalent in the Mediaeval Bohairic dialect of Coptic, khēme).They wrote in Greek and lived in Egypt under Roman rule.Mythology – Zosimos of Panopolis asserted that alchemy dated back to Pharaonic Egypt where it was the domain of the priestly class, though there is little to no evidence for his assertion.Thus, according to Budge and others, chemistry derives from an Egyptian word khemein or khēmia, "preparation of black powder", ultimately derived from the name khem, Egypt.