Khalid ibn Yazid (Calid)

Our podcast on him:

Khalid (known as Calid in the West), in addition to being a prince of the Umayyad caliphate, was also interested in alchemy and is responsible for translating many works into arabic.

Calid – Khalid Ibn Yazid

Summarized Greek knowledge to date. This is more of a myth than reality, but this myth had an influence on later writers, who took it for fact. So let’s explain the legend:

In alchemy, Kalid refers to a historical figure, Khalid ibn Yazid (died 704). He was an Umayyad prince, a brother of Muawiyah II who was briefly caliph.

Umayyad Caliphate: all the way from Spain to Persia

Prince Khalid lost the chance of inheriting the title, but took an interest in the study of alchemy, in Egypt.

He was also a book collector, he facilitated translations into Arabic of the existing literature. It is to this Khalid that later allusions to Calid rex (King Calid) refer.

This is an important note, because of his collecting and translations he has the reputation of summarizing all Greek knowledge at the time.. which is a big step in the road to the Arabic and Persian alchemists we looked at. Again, it’s almost certainly not true, or at least up for serious scrutiny. But that’s the story.

Attributions to Calid

So, there’s no agreement whether the books attributed to him were actually his works. So keep that in mind, as we go through them.

A popular legend has him consulting a Byzantine monk Marianos (Morienus the Greek).

The Liber de compositione alchimiae, which was the first alchemical work translated from Arabic to Latin (by Robert of Chester in 1144) was purportedly an epistle of Marianos to Khalid.

Flamel (pseudo-Flamel, really) Arnauld of Villanova, and many others all cited Calid in their writings.

Another note regarding the imporance of astrology in alchemy:

” Many people make mistakes and fail to completion. As in any experiment, it should be noted the progress of the moon and the sun. we must know the time when the sun enters the sign of Aries, the sign of Leo, or Sagittarius that; because it is from these signs is accomplished the great work. “

Even Fulcanelli mentions him.

Philosopher’s stone:

MORIEN(Morienus Romanus). This stone is soft to the touch; and it is softer than is his Body. But it is very heavy, and it is very sweet to the taste, and its nature is air.

Calid. It is the smell before it is made, and after it is made?

MORIEN. Before it is made, it has a strong smell, and it smells bad but after it is done, it has a good smell. What did say Sage: This water removes the smell of the dead body, which has already lost its soul; because the body feels very bad this state, having an odor such as is that of tombs

I read through one of the recipes as Morienus was describing it to Calid. Interesting stuff, since it was written as a dialog between the two. Calid would ask questions and Morienus would answer.

Otherwise pretty normal alchemical steps. Like the green dragon and black, white yellow red.. if you recall from our recipe episode.

Morienus Romanus

I might take a closer look at this Morienus Romanus, or Morian the Monk (or Morian the Greek, etc.) although it’s hard to find stuff on him that doesn’t relate back to Calid.

he was a student of stephanos of alexandria… also someone to look at

work by khalid (from secreta alchymie), originally in hebrew-then arabic-latin-now english

  • by god’s will
  • philosopher’s have partly hidden the meaning and way
  • mineral elixir, animal elixir, acids (wash)
  • elixir to make gold from mercury
  • equipment – knowlrdge of math is necessary
  • dissolve, congea;, make white, then red
  • …rest of recipe
  • fire size/heat
  • quotes hermes
  • in hot horse dung for forty days.. renewing the dung..
  • 250 to 1 copper or steel/phil stone to silver
  • for gold bury the stone in dung and water for 40 days.

Flattr this!