Antimony was recognized in compounds by the ancients and was known as a metal at the beginning of the 17th century and possibly much earlier. Its most important mineral is stibnite, a mineral that formed the basis of black eye makeup in Biblical times. Antimony was sometimes confused with lead in those times. It seems not to be clear who first recognized antimony as an element but the French chemist Nicolas Lemery conducted much of the earlier studies on antimony chemistry.
Antimony is one of the elements which has an alchemical symbol, shown below (alchemy is an ancient pursuit concerned with, for instance, the transformation of other metals into gold).