TIMELINE OF MATTER
Essay by Johnes Ruta. 11.03.2001 - 10.31.3023
"The Age of Minerals"
The sophisticated use of minerals is evident in the archaeological remnants: A standardized system of weights & measures consisting of mineral cubes and barrel-shaped carved weights of chert, agate, sandstone, porphery, and limestone are evident in all settlements. Drinking glasses of green feldspar, carnelian necklaces and belts. One thousand years before the construction of cities, motifs emerge in artifacts which became pervasive in the mature civilization: Copper-alloy figurines, low-fired white steatite, sandstone and terra cotta medallions and sculptures of well-defined the Humped Bull, pipal tree, the sacrificial goat, the horned tiger, and the 3-headed beast (unicorn, bull, and antelope.) Silver, copper, and semi-precious stones were imported and worked into jewelry, vessels, and figurines for export incorporating lapis, gold, carnelian, agate, and steatite. Less-affluent women in wore jewelry which imitated that of the wealthy women.
"The Age of the Elements"
Metallurgy : from
previous to 6000 BCE copper is smelted from malachite which is found in
surface deposits and later mined; copper is molded into many types of
household items, cooking vessels and utensils, and tools, but is too soft
to hold an edge, and therefore of limited use in the production of weapons.
Around 3500 BCE however, a method of strengthening copper is finally discovered:
by mixing the molten metal with around 15% molten tin, the alloy called
bronze is produced.
In the later kingdom in the cities of the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the sky is studied nightly by the schools of Magabazae, or Magi, priests. Perceived patterns of stars in the black sky are named as the constellations, identified with animals and the pantheon of gods, such as Perseus, Cassieopia, Orion. The "dial of the animals" or the zodiac, which is the circle of constellations extending around the plane of the ecliptic, or evident narrow table of the planetary orbits of the solar system. The positions of the zodiac mark twelve segments in the sidereal year beginning with the vernal equinox, when the sun was positioned in the constellation of Taurus, invisible in the day sky. The movement of the stars and planets are charted into elaborate, precise tables of observed movements in the night sky over long periods of time, so that reliable forecasts can be made regarding the expected positions, intervals of observation, and regular phenomena such as eclipses of the sun and moon. The patterns of the movement of planets are distinguished.
early 6th century BCE astronomer, who had studied in his youth in the
temples of Memphis, Egypt, seeks a conceptual method "to reduce the
manifold of observed phenomena to a unity." He assumes a "Primary
Matter" from which all things were composed.
a later 6th century BCE metaphysician, speculates: "to be is to change,
therefore the primary matter must exhibit this principle." For Heraclitus,
Fire fulfills this requirement, as it exists it is continually composed
of different burning matter -- it is different from one moment to the next.
" Parmenides, a contemporary of Heraclitus, takes the contrary position, specifying: "Permanency only is real -- change is an illusion."
|Leucippus establishes the concept of the atom as the tiniest indivisible particle of physical matter. The theories of his pupil Democritus were unquestionably derived from Leucippus' teachings, but separation of their personal concepts has not been achieved by scholars of the period.|
of Abdera (c.470-366 BCE) : tutored by magi priests who remained at
the estate of his father, following a visit by the Persian king Xerxes,
Democritus learned the arts of theology and astrology. He later traveled
to Egypt to learn geometry, then also to Persia, India, and Ethiopia. Aristotle
relates the origin of Democritus' theory of matter to the Eleatic school,
who argued that what is truly real is one and motionless, and that empty
space is not a real existent, since motion is impossible without empty space,
and plurality is impossible without something to separate the units one
Possibly lived to the age of 104, date of birth imprecise.
to Aristotle, Leucippus first proposed to rescue the sensible world of plurality
argued against this system by asserting that empty space, the 'non-existent,'
may nevertheless serve to separate parts of what does exist from each other.
Therefore the world has two ingredients: being, which satisfies the Eleatic
criteria by being 'full,' unchanging and homogeneous, and non-being or empty
space. By contrast, the pieces of real being are by characteristic indivisible
units, are called 'atoms,' solid, invisibly small, and undifferentiated
in material. They differ from one another in shape and size
only, perhaps also in weight. The only change they undergo is in their relative and absolute position, through movement in this non-being empty 'space.'
By their changes of position these atoms produce the compounds of all seen matter in the visible world, which differ in quality according to their shape and arrangement, their congruence and their tendency to latch together because of their shape, and the amount of space between them.
|Plato (c.427-347 BCE) according to Aristotle (384-322 BCE) in his Metaphysics states that there is a class of entities between 'forms' and 'things,' immutable like forms but plural like things; and that these are the subject of mathematical studies. The 'forms' are numbers, composed of "inassociable units." The number-forms are not ultimate, but result from the action of 'the One' upon 'the indefinite Dyad of the Great and Small..' Thus produced, they act upon this Dyad to produce the world changing things.|
|Aristarchus of Samos (flourished 300-250 BCE), author of the heliocentric hypothesis of astronomy in which 'the fixed stars and sun remain unmoved, and the earth revolves around the sun on the circumference of a circle, the sun lying in the middle of the orbit.' In addition, he combined this theory with that of 'a rotation of the earth about it's own axis,' and calculated heavenly dimensions in a treatise called "On the sizes and distances of sun and moon."|
|Hipparchus (190-126 BCE), astronomer of Rhodes, constructed a geocentric theory of sizes distances of the sun and moon based purely on observational data. Utilizing observational parallax of the stars at different times of the year, and the design of epicycles devised by Apollonius, he arrived at an estimate of the length of the topical year as 365 ¼ -1/300 days. Using records of Babylonian eclipses from the 8th century BCE, and a 160 year old observation of the autumnal equinox, he also discovered the principle of the Precession of the Equinoxes, that is, the conical motion of the earth's axis around the pole of the ecliptic plane every 26,000 years, shifting the position of pole stars in a projected circular motion. Hipparchus' geocentric view became the model of Claudius Ptolomy's astronomic theories in the 2nd century CE and the accepted model of the heavens until the time of Copernicus, Gallileo, Tyco Brahe, and Johannes Kepler.|
|Return to Alchemical Dialectics Index|