Jabiribn Hayyan

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jabiribn Hayyan


(also Jabir ibn Haijan; Latinized form, Geber). Born circa 721 in Tus, Persia; died circa 815. Arabic alchemist.

Among the works attributed to Jabir (the tracts of Geber), the most interesting are the last chapters of the Book of the Seventy. Here he introduced the concept that all metals are composed of two elements, the metallic principle (mercury) and the combustible principle (sulfur), and asserted that base metals can be transmuted into gold. Jabir also described various chemical procedures, such as distillation, sublimation, crystallization, and dissipation, as well as several chemical preparations, such as vitriols, alum, alkalis, and sal ammoniac. Information about where Jabir conducted his work is highly contradictory, and it has not been established whether he actually was the author of the works attributed to him. (There is some evidence that the tracts of Geber were written no earlier than the 13th century.)


Figurovskii, N. A. Ocherki obshchei istorii khimii ot drevneishikh vremen do nachala XIX v . Moscow, 1969. Pages 86-88, 117-18.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.