Western alchemy may go back to the beginnings of the Hellenistic period (c. 300 bc–c. ad 300), although the earliest alchemist whom authorities have regarded as authentic is Zosimos of Panopolis (Egypt), who lived near the end of the period. He is one of about 40 authors represented in a compendium of alchemical writings that was probably put together in Byzantium (Constantinople) in the 7th or 8th century ad and that exists in manuscripts in Venice and Paris. Synesius, the latest author represented, lived in Byzantium in the 4th century. The earliest is the author designated Democritus ..