Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE

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Mercury (quicksilver)
(1,184 words)

Mercury (called also quicksilver), the only elemental metal that is liquid at room temperature and that easily forms amalgams and compounds with other substances, has long excited human curiosity. In Islamicate societies, poets alluded to its swiftly moving silvery drops, and alchemists regarded it as one of the basic materials for the formation of metals (Ullmann; Käs, Al-Maqrīzīs Traktat, 267–73, 178–86). Its most common Arabic name, ziʾbaq, and its variants zaybaq and zāwūq are borrowed directly from a Pahlavi precursor of modern Persian žībah, which, in turn, may be cognat…

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Käs, Fabian, “Mercury (quicksilver)”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Devin J. Stewart. Consulted online on 29 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_40943>
First print edition: , , 2023-1

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