Zeno of Elea (342-270 BC)
Zeno  founded the post-Aristotlian philosophy of Stoicism.  This lasted from the 4th century BC to the 1st century AD.  Stoicism keep Aristotle's indefinite divisibility of  matter.  Stoics laid stress on the analogy of macrocosm and microcosm, the heavens and the earth, and distinguished between inert matter and a more active form called 'pneuma', the vital spirit.  Pneuma pervaded the whole cosmos and brought about generation as well as decay.  Ordinary substances, as Empedocles and Aristotle had taught, were composed from the four elements. albeit hot and dry, & fire and water were more active than passive wet and cold, & water and earth.  From this is was but a short step to interpreting air and fire as forms of pneuma, and pneuma as the glue or force that bound passive earth and water into cohesive substances. The concept was to have a profound effect on the interpretation of distillation.
       Chemical compounds were mixtures of these four elements in varying proportions.  The central theorem of  alchemy, transmutation, could be seen in one of two ways, either as what we would call chemical change caused by  the different proportions of elements and their rearrangement, or as a real transmutation in which the qualities of  the elements are transforms.  Alchemy allowed far more 'transmutations' than later chemistry was to allow, for it  permitted the transmutation of lead or common metals into gold or some other precious metal.  A real transmutation of lead into gold was to be achieved by stripping lead of its qualities and replanting the base matter  that was left with the qualities and attributes of gold.
        Although Aristotle had never meant by 'prime matter' a tangible stuff that could be separated from substances,  this is certainly how later alchemists came to think of it.  Similarly the tactile qualities became substantial forms and  frequently identified with the aerial or liquid products of distillation, or 'pneuma'.
      In gold-making, much use of analogy was made.  Since there is a cycle of death an regrowth in Nature from the  seed, its growth, decay and regeneration as seed once more, the alchemist can work by analogy.  Lead is taken and  "killed" to remove its form and to produce the primary matter. the new substance is then regrown on this primary  matter compost.  In the case of gold, its form is impressed by planting a seed of gold on the unformed matter. To  grow this seed, warmth and moisture were requisite, and to perform the process, apparatus of various kinds - stills,  furnaces, beakers, and baths - were required, much of it readily available from artisans or readily adapted from  existing apparatus.