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blog, History in Letters, Uncategorized / September 30, 2014

About: Nicolas Flamel

Like mentioned in our first entry about „History in Letters – The Eternal Alchemist“, the history (and legends) about Flamel turned out to be very interesting for us.
After taking a look at the catacombs of Paris, our initial starting point of our idea for an adventure game, and finding out more and more about Flamel we were intrigued to use him in our game.

Many people might know Flamel from Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, where Flamel is actually a wizard too and owner of The Philosopher’s Stone, from which an elixir of life can be extracted.
Truth is that in the fourteenth/fifteenth century Nicolas Flamel actually lived, but the true Flamel was most likely a lot less interesting 😉

Flamel was probably born 1330 in Pontoise and died 1418 in Paris (some sources say 1413).
He was a scrivener and manuscript-seller and was married to a woman named Perenelle, who had been already married twice and brought along the wealth of these two husbands into their relationship.
While Flamel was definitely well off, since he and his wife owned several properties and were able to give money to churches and commission art regularly, he was not as rich as many legends make him out to be.

So, how did Flamel turn into this “person” many of us know nowadays?
The person who reached immortality through the Philosopher’s Stone and was also able to turn base metals into gold?
Truth is that there are no real sources hinting at Flamel having an interest in alchemy, as in actual documents from himself like his (genuine) last will.
However, during the seventeenth century a book appeared which described Flamel’s journey to “find” the Philosopher’s Stone.
According to this book Flamel had obtained a mysterious book he tried to decipher for years, after he finally managed this he found a way to create the stone and to produce gold from base metal.
Before there were already cases of people using Flamel’s name in alchemical texts, but this one actually described his ways as an alchemist.
During the years more legends were added on top of this, even though back then several people already didn’t believe the stories to be true, and nowadays Flamel is for many the “father” of alchemy and some people still claim that he’s alive, together with his wife.

While a lot of the “information“ that is out there about Flamel is most likely not true he’s still a very fascinating topic for us and hopefully also for our players.
If you want to find out more about Flamel I highly advise you to take a look at the many websites out there who try to roll up the legends about him, it’s worth a read 🙂