Chrysopoea of Cleopatra  UP122

Cleopatra the Alchemist (fl. c. 3rd century AD) is a pseudonym for an unknown author or group of authors, alchemists, and philosophers. She experimented with practical alchemy but is also credited as one of the four female alchemists that could produce the Philosopher's stone. Some writers consider her to be the inventor of the alembic, a distillation apparatus.

Cleopatra the Alchemist appears to have been active in Alexandria in the 3rd century or 4th century A.D. She is associated with the school of alchemy typified by Mary the Jewess and Comarius. These alchemists used complex apparatus for distillation and sublimation.

Cleopatra is most noted for the Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra (Greek: Χρυσοποιία Κλεοπάτρας), a single sheet document which contains only symbols, drawings and captions. It is first found on a single leaf in a tenth-to-eleventh century manuscript in the Biblioteca Marciana, Venice, MS Marciana gr. Z. 299. A later copy can be found at Leiden University, located in the Netherlands. Chrysopoeia translated is "gold-making".

An example of the illustrations is the snake eating its own tail with the words ἓν τὸ πᾶν “The All is One” as a symbol of the eternal return, called the Ouroboros. It is an emblem of the unity of the cosmos, of eternity, where the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning.