(1,506 words)

1. Concept

Arcanum (Latin, ‘secret’; plural arcana) is found in various contexts of meaning, firstly denoting secrets of nature, and in alchemy secret or confidential knowledge, especially as an appellation for the Philosopher’s Stone, where “arcane language” (see also Argot) refers to the language of alchemists and “arcane discipline’ to the teachings of alchemy. “Arcane discipline” (Latin disciplina arcani) also denotes c…

Cite this page
Reith, Reinhold, “Arcanum”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 22 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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