Sunday, June 28, 2009

Agricola, Georgius (Georg Bauer)

Agricola, Georgius (Georg Bauer)
Agricola was a physician, scientist and metallurgist of note and ot was this which led to the publication of De Re Metalicca.

He studied at Leipzig University and between 1518 and 1522 he was a school teacher in Zwickau.

Eventually he settled as a physician in Chemnitz. Later he continued his medical practiced at Joachimstal in the Erzgebirge.

This town was newly built to serve the mining community in what was at the time the most important ore-mining filed in both Germany and Europe.

As a physician in the sixteenth century he would naturally have been concerned with the development of medicines which would have led him to research the medical properties or ores and base metals.

He studied the mineralogy of his area and the mines ad the miners who were working there.

He wrote several books in Latin on geology and mineralogy.

His important work during that period was a glossary of mineralogical and mining terms in both Latin and German.

It is, however, De Re Metalicca for which he is best known.

This large volume contains twelve books which deal with mining and metallurgy, including an account of glassmaking.

Whilst one can understand the text of this textbook very easily, the quality of the illustrated woodcuts should not be neglected.

These illustrations detail the mines, furnaces, forges and the plants associated with them, unfortunately the name of the artist in unknown.

The importance of the work lies in the fact that it is an assemblage of information on all the methods and practices current at that time.

The book was clearly intended as a textbook of mining and mineralogy and as such it would have been brought to England by German engineers when they were employed by Mines Royal in the Keswick area in the late sixteenth century.

In addition to his studies in preparation for De Re Metalicca, Agricola was an ‘adventurer’ holding shares in the Gottesgab mine in the Erzegebirge.
Agricola, Georgius (Georg Bauer)

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