In the writings of the alchemists we find the words misy, sory, chalcanthum applied to alum as well as to iron sulphate; and the name atramentum sutorium, which ought to belong, one would suppose, exclusively to green vitriol, applied indifferently to both.
By the early Greek alchemists the metal was named Hermes, but at about the beginning of the 6th century, it was termed Zeusor Jupiter, and the symbol 2(assigned to it; it was also referred to as diabolus metallorum, on account of the brittle alloys which it formed.
The alchemists gave great attention to the method, as is shown by the many discoveries made.
It is said by Andreas Libavius to be a corruption of ï¿½aX a-y p a; in the alchemists the form algamala is also found.
The right of levying seigniorage, however, was sometimes waived by the king to encourage his subjects to bring gold and silver to the mint, and several instances are recorded in which the aid of alchemists was called in to effect the transmutation of baser metals into gold.