Alchemy-the word itself conjures up images of charlatans mixing potions and concocting remedies during the Middle Ages in a futile quest to transform lead into gold. But the roots of alchemy can be traced back more than 2,500 years to locales as disparate as Egypt, India, and China, and it was considered serious science until as recently as the 16th century. In this highly regarded volume first published in 1888, Arthur E. Waite examines the lives and works of more than fifty alchemists, from the year 850 through the end of the 18th century. Readers will learn about such renowned figures as Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and Pope John XXII, and decide for themselves whether alchemy was the true precursor to modern chemistry or a pseudo-science populated by quacks. American-born British author ARTHUR EDWARD WAITE (1857-1942) was co-creator of the famous 1910 Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Among his numerous books are Book of Ceremonial Magic, Devil Worship in France, and New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.