… (masculine, Latin for “little man”, plural: “homunculi”; from the diminutive of homo) is a term used, generally, in various fields of study to refer to any representation of a human being. Popularized in sixteenth century alchemy and nineteenth century fiction, it has historically referred to the creation of a miniature, fully formed human.
The homunculus first appears by name in alchemical writings attributed to Paracelsus (1493-1541). De natura rerum (1537) outlines his method for creating homunculi:
That the sperm of a man be putrefied by itself in a sealed cucurbit for forty days with the highest degree of putrefaction in a horse’s womb, or at least so long that it comes to life and moves itself, and stirs, which is easily observed. After this time, it will look somewhat like a man, but transparent, without a body. If, after this, it be fed wisely with the Arcanum of human blood, and be nourished for up to forty weeks, and be kept in the even heat of the horse’s womb, a living human child grows therefrom, with all its members like another child, which is born of a woman, but much smaller...
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