Agricola’s De re metallica

With his work De re metallica libri XII, Georgius Agricola (1494-1555) became the founder of mining sciences. After dealing with ancient mineral remedies during his medical studies and subsequent employment in the mining city of Joachimsthal (Bohemia), Agricola devoted himself to the research of mining. After 20 years of research, in 1550, he completed a manuscript for a comprehensive mining textbook. But it was only in 1556, one year after Agricola’s death, that the first Latin edition of De re metallica (On the Nature of Metals), which was by this time enriched with illustrations and woodcuts, was published in Basel, Switzerland. The first industrial manual, this collection of knowledge was the authoritative mining text for over 200 years after its publication. Today, the book is an important source for the history of knowledge and technology.

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