The Alchemical Society is a building in Civilization VI. It is exclusive to the Hermetic Order secret society in the Secret Societies game mode, introduced in the Ethiopia Pack. It is built in the Campus district and replaces the University.
The Alchemical Society is a fine replacement for the standard University. 2 Production at this point is not too impressive, but extra Production for your cities is always a welcome boost. The main selling point of this building is that besides the extra Great Scientist point per turn that the standard University has, it also provides a Great Engineer point and a Great Merchant point. This helps any civilizations whose goal is to recruit as many Great People as possible, including Kongo, Sweden, Brazil, and Scotland. It also plays decently well into the Hermetic Order's Indoctrination, unlocked in the Industrial Era, which grants extra yields to their signature Ley Line. The extra Gold from the adjacency bonus of the district is underwhelming, since even if you have a starting bonus as high as +4, that amount of Gold is only enough to pay off the maintenance cost of the district, the Library, and this building. However, combining this with the Natural Philosophy policy card can give you a respectable Gold profit.
The ability to construct the Alchemical Society will supersede all other University replacements, so those playing as Arabia and Portugal should avoid this society so they don't lose out on the bonuses from the Madrasa and Navigation School respectively.
Alchemy and chemistry, magic and science, are not as far removed as they might initially seem. For anthropologists of magic (such as Marcel Mauss), each seeks to manipulate the world in order to produce an effect. With the case of alchemy and chemistry, each involves the transformation of one substance into another, a transformation that looked to medieval observers as though one was changing its essence. For medieval alchemists, the potential that this change could have was dramatic – one might change lead into gold or transform an old body into a young one. While the Alchemy Society here is based upon the medieval and Renaissance European tradition, elsewhere, Chinese, Indian, and other parts of the world developed their own alchemical traditions and practices.
In the middle ages, Islamic science spread throughout medieval Europe, as Muslim scholars had preserved Latin texts, developed their own universities and institutions of learning, and brought in insights from Asia. For Europeans, these new bodies of knowledge presented a dizzying array of languages, propositions, ideas, and possibilities – scientific, political, religious, and, of course, magical. For this latter end, Europeans put together societies to put what they were reading into practice, and – at least in their hopes – unlock the key to the universe. Alchemy was focused on understanding the ancient truths that were embedded in these texts. For this reason, as 18th and 19th century scientific schools focused on experimentation rather than translation, new knowledge rather than old, alchemical societies went further underground and out of the mainstream of Western thought.
|Civilization VI Secret Societies |
|Hermetic Order||Neophyte • Adept • Magus • Aiwass|
|Owls of Minerva||Initiation • Ritual • Indoctrination • Master Plan|
|Sanguine Pact||Taste • Rising Hunger • Voivode • Endless Night|
|Voidsingers||Melody • Chorus • Canticle • Symphony|