Paracelsus (Philipptjs Aureolus Theopheastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim), a Swiss alchemist, born at Einsiedeln, Schwytz, in 1493, died in Salzburg, Sept. 23,1541. He was the son of a physician, from whom he learned something of medicine, alchemy, and astrology, and made himself proficient in the arts of conjuring and juggling. He travelled on foot through the principal cities of Europe, visited Constantinople in the suite of a Tartar prince to learn from a Greek the secret of the elixir of Trismegistus, and, having become acquainted with some remedies not in common use among the faculty, returned to Switzerland, where he became celebrated for remarkable cures. In 1526 he was appointed professor of physic and surgery in the university of Basel. He proclaimed himself the sole monarch of physic, publicly burned the works of Galen and Avicenna, and professed to know the art of prolonging life and curing all diseases, and to hold more learning in the hairs of his beard than was possessed by all the universities and medical writers united. To the four elements of Aristotle he opposed the three compound principles of salt, sulphur, and mercury. The soul, according to him, was united to the body by an animal fluid.
Man was an image of the Trinity, his intellect representing God, his body the world, and the fluid the stars. He recognized a mysterious harmony between the body and the earth and salt, between the soul and water and mercury, and between the intellect and the air and sulphur. His lectures were delivered sometimes in Latin, but generally in German, which made him popular and for a while attracted large audiences. Erasmus consulted him for the stone, and the correspondence between the quack and the philosopher has been preserved. In his personal habits as well as his language Paracelsus affected oddity. He slept in his clothes, and in later life became very intemperate. After the first year his lectures were deserted. About the end of 1527 he was compelled to leave Basel for abusing a magistrate, and after wandering through Germany for several years obtained a temporary success in Moravia. He • next visited successively Vienna, Villach, Min-delheim, and Salzburg, where lie closed his life in poverty. He published a few works, and left several which were printed posthumously.
One of the latest editions of his writings is in Latin in 3 vols. fol. (Geneva, 1658).