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BornPhilippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim
November 11 or December 17, 1493
DiedSeptember 24, 1541 (age 47)
Salzburg (present-day Austria)
Resting placeChurch of San Sebastian

Paracelsus (1493-1541) was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist. He is also credited for giving zinc its name, calling it zincum, and is regarded as the first systematic botanist.


"Paracelsus", meaning "equal to or greater than Celsus", refers to the Roman encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus from the 1st century, known for his tract on medicine.

He devoted his time principally to the study of medicine, but was an adept in Astrology, Alchemy, Physics and philosophy, but also had a love for natural magic. The following occurred during his stay in Vienna. Near the center of the city stood an old house now supplanted by a new one; on the house was a stone tablet on which the following was inscribed: "Paracelsus, a renowned alchemist, lived here with the owner, Wingler. After many days of stay, being pressed for payment, he tendered his landlord a brass penny in payment. Indignantly the landlord threw the penny on the ground, yet being asked by the alchemist to pick it up, he found instead of the penny a large heavy gold piece. Full of joy he kissed the coin, which was the beginning of his great prosperity." The house bore the name "Kiss the Penny," and is so-called to the present day.[1]


  1. Sphinx, May, 1907
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