Members-only podcast episode

Storytime: Reading ‘The Visions of Zosimus’

This is a special podcast episode for SHWEP members only

Join now to listen

Three short and probably fragmentary texts, collected under the name of Zosimus of Panopolis in the compilation known as ‘Authentic Memoirs’, relate Zosimus’ dreams, his interpretations of those dreams, and even stranger matters. In this special Storytime episode we discuss Authentic Memoirs X, with two dreams of Zosimus, their interpretations by Zosimus, his instructions to his unnamed reader on how to build the monolithic temple wherein to carry out the work of transmutation (and exactly how to butcher the snake which guards it and use its reassembled corpse to build a path into the temple), with lashings of alchemical theory and even a straightforward recipe at the end.

Our earliest alchemical imagery of a kind which will become very familiar to listeners, even if it does not become particularly clear.

Works Cited in this Episode:


We follow the text of Mertens 2019 (see below).

Origen on the ‘Mithraic ladder’: Cels. VI 22 (see Roger Beck. Planetary Gods and Planetary Orders in the Mysteries of Mithras. Brill, Leiden, 1988, pp. 73-85).


Marcelin Berthelot and Ch.-Em. Ruelle, editors. Collection des Anciens Alchimistes Grecs, texte et traduction. Georges Steinheil, Paris, 1883-8, III, p. 117 n. 3.

C. G. Jung. Einige Bemerkungen zu den Visionen des Zosimus. Eranos Jahrbuch, 5: 15–54, 1937.

B. Karle. Der Alchemistentraum des Zosimus. PhD thesis, Fribourg-en-Brisgau, 1925.

Recommended Reading:

See Michèle Mertens, editor. Zosime de Panopolis: mémoires authentiques. Number IV, 1 in Les Alchemistes Grecs. Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 3rd edition edition, 2019, p. 207-8 for a list of major secondary works on the Visions.