How Was Arsenic Discovered?


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Arsenic compounds have been known since the days of Ancient Greece and Rome when arsenic sulfide (As2S3) was used by physicians and poisoners.  Since arsenic can be produced from its ores very easily, many early craftspeople may have seen the element without realizing what it was.  It was first recognized as an element by alchemists. Although it is not certain where and when arsenic was actually discovered, credit for the discovery usually goes to alchemist Albert the Great (Albert us Mag nus, 1193-1280).  In 1250 A.D. He heated a common compound of arsenic, As2S3, with soap and formed nearly pure arsenic.  It wasnt’t until the mid-seventeenth century that arsenic became well known as an element.

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