Epigram to a medieval German work on mineralogy and alchemy, 1518.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Woodcut illustration with text in Latin and German, from 'De Mineralibus', the early standard treatise on mining, mineralogy, chemistry and metallurgy, by Saint Albertus Magnus, (Germany, 1518). Albertus (d 1280) was born into a noble German family, became Count of Bollstadt and was also a Dominican monk. He wrote on nearly all branches of science, knew of fossils and is said to have been the first person to isolate the element arsenic. Some consider that his greatest achievement was the reconciliation of Aristotelian philosophy with Christian teaching.