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Agricola's First Book On Mining
In A Rare Separate Leipzig Imprint

AGRICOLA, Georg. Bermannus, sive de re metallica. Ab accurata autoris recognitione & emendatione nunc primum editus. Cum nomenclatura rerum metallicarum. Leipzig, Valentinus Pap, 1546.

8vo., (1) f., 93 pp. Bound in later boards. Minor fingersoiling on title; marginal annotations and underlining in an early hand. Otherwise very good.


Rare Leipzig printing of Agricola's first book devoted to mining, "a pioneer delineation of mining and metallurgy" (DSB), and of particular interest to the study of occupational diseases. In the form of a dialogue between a mining employee (Bermannus) and two doctors, the work treats the properties and relationships of minerals.

"In those days St. Joachimsthal was the most important mining center in Europe besides Schwaz in the Tyrol. Miners and smelters, some of whom suffered from occupational diseases, were crowded together. Agricola studied not only their ailments but also their life, labor and equipment. Day and night he visited the mines and the smoky smelting houses, and soon he had an excellent knowledge of mining and metallurgy. He recorded his impressions in Bermannus sive de re metallica." -DSB .

The work was first published in Basel in1530. Prior to the present edition, we trace a Paris edition from 1541, and the work was also included in the 1546 and later printings of de ortu et causis subterraneorum.

Census: OCLC locates two copies of this Leipzig imprint: McGill and the Wellcome. The collective edition (with de ortu etc.) published by Froben the same year is listed in 25 copies.

* VD 16 A 912; title not in Durling and this edition not in Adams; Helmut M. Wilsdorf in DSB I.77; the only separate edition listed by Hoover is a 19th-century edition; not in Garrison-Morton under occupational medicine, which nonetheless lists a 1614 title by a student of Agricola?s, Martin Pansa; Sotheby?s Jan. 10 2001 first edition #9, $30,650.

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