Humanities Independent Project:


The salty wind whipped my face, the day had been long and hard. My leather sandals seemed to be heavier than normal. Tonight there was to be an Assembly and as normal my father would be attending. It always seemed as though the Assemblies were to show just how much better it was to be a free man, a male who is free from slavery and debts.

My family is well off we have the money to be free and to wear sandals, the money to by wine and cheese to fill the whole city. It is wrong to buy so much when we need so little. There are plenty of families in our city-state who need food and wine, we can live on only a little food and wine.

My family is not huge compared to some. I have a three brothers and a sister. My oldest brother, Titus, is 16, the next oldest, is me, Kaia. I am 15 years of age. Next come the twins Jase and Syrinx, both 10. The youngest is Rodas, the age of 8. Titus means giant, even though he is skinny and not as tall as my father. I am only a little bit shorter than Titus and he never lets me forget that. My name Kaia means earth, and the twins names mean a healing and a nymph. Rodas means rose garden, and he really is one.

"Kaia!" A strong loud voice rang out from behind me. I spun on my heel to see who owned the voice. Titus stood further up the side of the hill with a basket of something in his arms.

"Yes?" I yelled up to him.

"Mother needs you!"

"Ok!" I glanced quickly back down to the ocean then started to climb up the white stairs. Titus stood at the top of the hill waiting for me. He wore a white linen sheet of cloth, it went down to his knees, and covered one shoulder leaving one shoulder exposed to the glistering sun. His sandals were just like mine except his were bigger. Every man dressed this way in the summer, younger kids like Rodas wear their linen cloth as shorts. Jase wears his like Titus except in a smaller version and Syrinx wears hers like mine. I wear mine a lot like Titus, but mine covers both shoulders and is clipped up on my side leaving just my side open.

My feet tripped over a loose stone and Titus dropped the basket to grab me up in his arms. I started to laugh, Titus didn't. He never laughed the most you could get out of him was a smirk, not bearing any teeth. He smiled as I stood up again and flattened the white cloth back down to my ankles.

"What does mother want?" I asked not really wanting to know.

"She wants you to go to the temple and drop some gifts off for Athena," He had his basket back in his arms now and started walking away.

"Are you coming too?" I said following behind him, kicking a little stone as I went.

"No, I am busy, I need to get things done before Father and I go to the Assembly," He said sternly.

"But it is much more fun when you come, plus I fall less," I was now in front of him walking backwards to face him, with a smirk smeared across my face. He had dark brown hair, almost black his eyes were a deep blue, with a dot of brown at the bottom of the left one. Father and Mother say it is an impurity, a flaw, but I am rather fawned of it. He and I are the closest in our family, I know everything about him, what he is afraid of, what angers him, everything, and he knows the same about me.


"Please! You never use to go to the Assembly," I said in a huff. The little white house was quickly approaching. It was not a huge house, it was all white with blue doors. We have three rooms, the living room, where we cook, entertain and pretty much live. Then there is Mother and Father's room where they sleep and where Rodas sleeps. In there room there is a ladder up to what we call the sleeping loft. There are two beds one for Titus and I and one for Jase and Syrinx.

"I enjoy the Assembly…" He said looking ahead, like he was avoiding me.

"No, you enjoy walking places and learning things and visiting the temples and- oh…" He was signaling to be quiet. Just then a hand landed on my shoulder. I looked up the well muscled arm to fine my dad staring down at me. "Hello Father," I almost whispered.

"Hello," He glanced over to Titus then to the basket in his arms. He walked over to him and lifted the lid from the basket and took a deep breath, which he usually did before we was about to yell and he seemed to yell a lot. "Titus why is this basket filled with laundry?"

"I-I um.." Father hates when men do what he calls "woman's work," and Titus likes to help me with my jobs, but Dad doesn't like it. "Woman's work" were things like washing clothes, sweeping up, cooking, he said that if he caught Titus trying to help me do my, or any other girl's chores he would treat Titus as a girl and Jase would own the house once Father was gone. And this scared Titus, a man without land was barley a man.

"I was washing in the stream and Titus came by and offered to carry the basket back for me because it is to heavy for a puny girl like me," I said trying to hide my smile in Titus's arm. I glanced up at Titus who was nodding his head vigorously.

"Good to see you taking some time to be a gentleman, Titus well done," he thumped him on the back and continued speaking. "Don't forget the Assembly is when the sun touches the ground." And with that he strolled off down the road winding away from he little white house on the hill.

"You saved my neck," he sighed with relief, as he continued to walk.

"So I did," I said with a smile. "Now you are in my debt."

"So, I am," He said with his toothless smile.

"Lets drop this basket for mother and get the offering, then we can go ok?" I jumped excitedly, making the trip up to the temple with Titus was the greatest. Titus was my best friend and I could ask or tell him anything, and when Father wasn't around he could be just as silly as a new lamb, he just needed a good joke to get him started.

Titus walked through the door and I waited outside. He had to be serious for a lot of his life, because when he was one, I was born. Mother and Father expected him to be grown up and help raise me and the three others. Father treats him worse I think then Jase, Father is always yelling at Titus for the slightest mistake, but for Jase he laughs and says it is ok. I don't remember a time when Father and Titus laughed.

Just then Titus appeared from the door way with a smaller basket, with a blanket over it. He came over to my side and took my hand and we stared down the dirt road.

The first time we went to give the offering Mother told Titus to hold my hand and not to let go until we got there, but even when we got there he had to be able to see me at all times and he hasn't stopped holding my hand even decade later. I didn't mind him holding my hand, his hands were never sweaty, never too cold, always just right.

"Are we going to stop any where?" I asked quietly.

"Not until the walk home," He sighed. Titus loved to go to the angora, the big market, he loved to look at all the little statues that the merchants sold.

"What is in the basket?" I asked as I flipped up the blanket to reveal a a small chicken that was sleeping soundly.

"A chicken…" he avoided my gaze.

"Why do the gods want us to kill things Titus!" I screamed.

"Kaia!" He turned around to face me. "We talk about this every time, don't question the gods!"

"Let me hold her at least…" I tried to take the basket from his hands, he whipped it away from my reach before my hands were around it.

"No, last time you held it, you dropped it!" He yelled. I kept walking, I looked at my scuffling sandals. I had dropped it on purpose…

The road we followed now started to slope upwards and the temple was coming into view. In a few moments we would be looking over the entire city of Athens.

We climbed the steep stairs and finally we made it all the way up. Titus released his grip and went over to give the chicken. I simple stood facing Athena's giant marble statue. Closed my eyes and I prayed.

I prayed that Athena would give me strength and give everyone strength who I was near. I asked her to make it so Father wasn't as hard on Titus all the time. Titus was my friend, Titus was my best friend, my brother… I silenced my thoughts and listened like Titus told me to do, but never did I hear anything, but the wind. I focus hard on hearing her and then it came; her voice was soft and sweet, it came as almost a song. Titus is your friend, Titus is your best friend, Titus is your brother, Titus is your lover. Then it stopped. My eyes shot open Titus was standing next to me facing Athena's statue with his eyes closed.

I spun around, with my eyes closed again, trying to remember what the voice, that I had heard so clearly, had said. She said he was my lover…

Just then someone took my hand and my eyes fluttered open to find Titus standing right next to me, my hand in his. He looked out of the view I had loved for so long. Hundreds of little withe houses, like ours, laid out over bumps and humps in the ground. Every time I saw it my breath caught. The white fused into the deep, deep blue. The colors of the aurora right in the middle of it all, it made my heart sing, but this time it was even more amazing. I had hope and longing in my heart and not just for the view, I wanted the person next to me as well.

"Are you ready to go?" He asked quietly. I avoided looking at him. My heart was screaming, and I was nervous to be so close to him. Athena, I yelled in my head, did you put a curse on me? For a long time the voice didn't come, but finally she said, no, Aphrodite did. I shut my eyes tight trying to pretend my heart wasn't thumping agents my chest.

"Ok I-I'm ready…" I stumbled.

"Kaia, are you ok?" At the sound of my name my heart thumped harder than ever.

"Yes, lets just go…" I almost ran from the temple.

"Wow, what is the rush, hold on!" Titus yelled from behind me, he still hadn't let go and was being pulled behind me.

"I just need to-to not hold your hand," I whimpered almost pained.

"Ok," He said, looking very puzzled, then let my hand drop.

"Do you still want to go to the aurora?" He asked apparently concerned by how I was acting.

"Yes." I didn't want him to worry to much, and I wanted him to still like me, but my head was all messed up.

We walked slowly and didn't breath a word, he wore a confused face and seemed to be suck in his own thoughts. Aurora was loud and very busy, with woman and little kids, with men yelling at one another, with young lovers strolling down the road, and brothers and sisters playing games. We were the only silent ones in the whole place.

Each stall was different, fleece, cheese, wine, spices, pottery, small statues. The aurora was the best place in the whole city to find anything you could want, you could even buy goats and chicks. We walked faster than normal, stopping at none of the stalls. We were out of the aurora in record time with nothing in our arms. This time not even one another's hands were clenched. We slowly walked up to our lone house on one of the tallest hills.

When we reached the top, Titus turned and faced me.

"Kaia, when I we were at the temple, a woman's voice sang to me, but only in my head." I felt my eyes grow wide. "She told me this; Kaia is your friend, Kaia is your best friend, Kaia is your sister, Kaia is your lover…" He looked straight into my eyes and I looked back. Was it possible I was made to love Titus.

"When we were at the temple a woman's voice came into my head and sang to me, she sang this; Titus is your friend, Titus is your best friend, Titus is your brother, Titus is your lover." My voice didn't shake that time, I said it strong and I didn't stumble at all. Well she gave me strength, I thought.

Before I knew what was happening, Our lips were together, Titus perfect hands clutched my face and my hands were in his dark brown hair. It felt so right, but so wrong. Mother wanted to marry for love, but Father, wanted me to marry for money and power for the family. We didn't stop until we heard a quick giggle and we both shot apart. Rodas stood not far from us with his hands covering his mouth. Apparently he had been watching and stifling his giggles, for quite sometime.

I didn't know what to do, but Titus apparently did. He took Rodas's hands in his and told him; "What you just saw is a secret, Mother, Father, Jase and Syrinx, none of them can know. Ok? Can you be our secret keeper? It is a big responsibility and only big boys can do it, do you think you can handle the job?" Rodas nodded in excitement.

"I can do that Titus! I won't tell anyone!" And with that he ran off toward the house. Titus and I rand after, praying he won't tell what had just happened.

We found Rodas jumping up and down next to Mother who was preparing dinner.

"Mother! Mother! Mother!" Rodas was yelling.

"What Rodas, please be quieter, your dad, is busy." She whispered as she bustled around the kitchen.

"Guess what I am!"

"Dear, be quiet."

"I can't I am a Secret Keeper!" Rodas yelled a little quieter. Titus and I both were at a loss of what to do next.

"That is nice dear, oh Titus, Kaia, your home! I didn't even hear you come in." We both let out a huge breath of relief.

"I am going to get ready for the Assembly," Titus said quietly, he flashed me a quick smile, I felt my self blush, and he rushed up the ladder to the loft.

"Kaia come help me with dinner." Mother said as she continued to chop and mix dinner. Rodas spent quite a while helping Mother. We made lentils, peas, chickpeas, bread and fish. We also set out the olive oil and wine for everyone. Rodas and I laughed a lot and once he almost told Mother Titus and I had shared a kiss, but I stopped him. Dinner was finally finished, just as Titus came down, as if he had been watching us. Syrinx and Jase wondered in a minute or two after, they had apparently been "exercising" again. Jase wanted to be in the Olympic games when he got older, he and Syrinx practiced everyday so Jase could become stronger, Father liked this. I called Father to dinner.

We all sat in certain places. Father was at the head of the table with Mother to his left and Titus to his right. Syrinx was next to Titus and Rodas next to Mother. I sat next to Rodas and Jase sat next to Syrinx. Titus didn't look at me he only looked at his plate. But I looked at him. I wondered what was going through his mind.

I really didn't pay attention to the conversation until Syrinx said, "Will titus ever get married?" I shot her a look, not exactly knowing why, but a pang of jealousy hit me in the chest.

"Hahaha, of course he will!" Roared my Father. Titus still said nothing and mushed his food around his plate.

"To a very pretty girl, hopefully named Sofi," Whispered Mother. Sofi was a girl who's father was very high in the Assembly's choices. She liked Titus a lot, but Titus didn't like her. Sure she was very pretty, but she didn't know a thing, you couldn't have a conversation with her about anything, but her hair and Titus. Titus, like astronomy and mathematics, he wasn't about to wed a girl who couldn't spell her own name.

"He should marry for love," I said under my breath.

"What was that?" My Father asked and everyone went quiet and looked at their plates.

"He should marry for love." I said stronger than last time.

"Say that again and I'll-"

"He should marry for love!" I said stronger yet, silently thanking Athena for her strength.

"Kaia, you are in for it now," My Father said as he rose out of his chair. "He doesn't love anyone anyway. He will learn to love Sofi!" He was now over me and I was preparing myself for pain. But it didn't come. Instead I heard only the scratch of a chair pulling away from the table and someone standing up. I forced my self to open my shut eyes.

Titus was standing up and was looking squarely at my Father.

"How would you know if I love or don't love someone. I do love someone. And I can assure you it isn't Sofi." My mother gave out a quick gasp and Rodas was stifling his giggles again.

"What did you say!" Roared my Father even angrier than before. And again I thanked Athena for the strength.

"I am in love with Kaia." My mother almost fell out of her chair and my Father started to turn red. "Zeus married his sister, why can't I, I love her. It is my decision of who I marry, and I want to marry Kaia because I love her." I felt my heart skip a beat. Titus simple walked away from the table and climbed the ladder to the loft.

My Father couldn't move he was so shocked. My Mother was ready to faint and Rodas was laughing so hard he was turning blue. I stood up and ran outside. I ran to my spot. The big white rock down by the ocean where I do my thinking. I sat there not sure if I should cry or laugh, my heart was splitting. I loved Titus and I knew he loved me back, but I wanted my family to be happy.

I spent a good long time on my rock thinking, trying to figure out what to do next, I wanted to go be with Titus, but that would make things worse so, I thought I would go apologize to my Mother.

I walked into the small quiet house. Titus and Father had left sometime ago and Syrinx and Jase were already up in bed. I tip toed into my parents room, where I found my mother telling the story of Arachne, the weaver to Rodas. His favorite part was when Arachne turns into a spider. I waited for her to finish and come find me. I sat at the now empty table reliving the horror from a few hours ago. Finally my Mother appeared in the doorway, she looked better than she had before.

"I am sorry Mother, I-I should have just stopped talking." Now the tears started, they pored from my eyes and made my face very wet. She scooped me up in her arms and hugged me, and waited for me to calm down.

"Shhh, it's ok, it's ok, I think I was only shocked because you actually found love, I never found real love, I married your Father because I was suppose too.

"But you love him now right?" I asked after the tears had subsided.

"Sometimes," she said with a laugh. "Your Father is a good man, just like Titus." Then she got up from her place and wondered back into her room. I felt sleepy and alone, so I climbed the ladder to the loft and dressed for bed. Syrinx giggled as I got into bed and I heard Jase say shush. I ignored them and crawled into bed. I was tired, confuse and wasn't sure I wanted to wake up in the morning.

The next morning, I felt better, the sun was shinning and the light was hitting the bed beautifully. Titus was next to me his arm hung over me as if he was protecting me. At first I felt warm and fuzzy because of this, but then I was scared. What would my father say if he saw this. I thought and thought, what would be his reaction? I didn't care, thats what I thought. I loved Titus and he loved me. I snuggled closer to him and shut my eyes. I loved him and he loves me my heart sang.



The 17th century was the rise of alchemy. Alchemy was the closest thing to chemistry in that time. Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen’s wrote: “The big goals of alchemy were recipes… for things like The Elixir of Life, which could make you live forever and how to turn lead into gold, which would give you lots of money to finance your immortal life style” (Stewart, Cohen, 1999). I will describe the Greek Philosophers’ understanding of elements, The Spheres and Transformation Index of alchemy and the Philosopher’s Stone. There are fundamentals of understanding alchemy.
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, named the four main elements: fire, water, earth and air. The Greek philosophers then argued which element was the main element. For example, Thales said that everything was made of water. Empedocles proposed it was a mixture of everything that created things. He did an experiment to prove his thoughts. Empedocles set a stick on fire and because of this he proved his point.

Fire: Since the stick burns, it obviously contains fire.
Earth: A dirty residue is left behind once the stick has burnt, so the stick also contains earth.
Water: The residue is damp, so water must be present.
Air: The burning stick gives off smoke, and thus air is there too.

Aristotle decided that each thing could be defined by the element it contained. Something dry contained fire and earth; something cold would contain earth and water. Everything in the world could go under 4 categories and with the categories you could tell what contained what.

Earth and Fire were dry.
Air and Water were wet
Fire and Air were hot.
Water and Earth were cold.

The alchemist thought and believed this was all true, but they found things that didn't go under the categories Haydrargum/Quicksilver, later known as Mercury, Brimstone later known as Sulfur, and Salt. This excited the alchemists, these new elements had new properties, now they in theory could make new or even better substances. They could now in theory create gold, if they combined sulfur, lead and mercury. They believed it would be gold because you would get the yellow from sulfur, metallicity from lead and shininess from mercury. The next thing to understand alchemy is that alchemists believed in a transformation index. Most people are familiar with the mineral, vegetable and animal these are the spheres.

Minerals not alive, not moving.
Vegetables alive, not moving.
Animals alive, moving.

The alchemists called they spheres and if you added the correct spheres together you could get a new substance. They had thought the new elements were like the spheres. Salt was liked to Mineral sphere. Sulfur was linked to Vegetable sphere. Mercury was linked to Animal sphere most likely due to mobile nature. Adding these could hopefully create something new or better. The actual transformation index looks like this.

Rock-Base Metals (iron)-Precious Minerals (gold)
Simple Plants (grass)-Complex Plants (trees)
Simple Animals (worms)-Complex Animals (mammals)-Man

And man was the end other than God. They believed these transformations could be easily made with the Philosopher's Stone. A stone that could give you the power of God. These transformations were what every alchemist strived to achieve. After man, it was God.

The Philosopher's Stone was a blood red gem. Alchemist believed that the stone could give you the power of God, the power to use the Transformation Index. The stone was never actually found over the 300 years that Alchemist's searched for it. With the stone, stories said that man could change metals to precious metals, you could also grow a homunculus (A homunculus is a tiny man acting as an assistant to an alchemist). Ground up and put into oiling water it became Elixir of Life, it cured all ailments and made the drinker live forever.

Alchemy has unfortunately been proved wrong and most people stopped using it Without alchemy though chemistry would still be a primitive state. The only thing alchemy really did though was prove its own theories wrong. Like the Philosopher's stone is still lost to the world besides the pages of fiction it lives in, like J.K. Rowling's Sorcerer's Stone. Alchemy continues to capture the imagination of many people. Even though alchemy was incorrect, it is still part of chemistry's history.

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