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From Ancient Greek ἀρχαῖος (arkhaîos, original, ancient).



archeus (plural archei)

  1. (alchemy) The vital principle or force believed by the Paracelsians to be responsible for alchemical reactions within living bodies, and hence for the growth and continuation of life.
    • 1662, Henry More, An Antidote Against Atheism, Book II, A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings of Dr. Henry More, p. 68:
      " [] it must be the Modus of some other Substance latitant in the fluid Matter, and really distinguishable from it; which is either the Soul, or some seminal Form or Archeus, as the Chymist calls it [] "
    • 2003, Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason (Penguin 2004, p. 56)
      Willis rejected not just scholasticism's ‘substantial forms’ but Paracelsus's ‘archeus’ doctrine as well.
    • 2006, Philip Ball, The Devil's Doctor, Arrow 2007, p. 250:
      But Paracelsus' theory of the archeus and the alchemy of life inevitably led him into deeper waters.