The Info List - Libavius

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Andreas Libavius
Andreas Libavius
or Andrew Libavius (c. 1555 – 25 July 1616) was a German physician and chemist.


1 Life 2 Views on alchemy 3 Works

3.1 Other works

4 References 5 Resources 6 External links

Life[edit] Libavius was born in Halle, Germany, as Andreas Libau, the son of Johann Libau. He attended the gymnasium in Halle and in 1578 began studying at the University of Wittenberg. In 1579 he entered the University of Jena
University of Jena
where he studied philosophy, history and medicine. In 1581 he obtained the academic degree of magister artium and was named a poet laureate. He began teaching in Ilmenau
in 1581 and remained there until 1586 when he moved to Coburg to teach there. In 1588 he went to study at the University of Basel
University of Basel
and received the degree of medicinae doctor. Shortly thereafter he became a professor of history and poetry at the University of Jena. At the same time he also supervised the disputations in the field of medicine. In 1591 he became physician of the city council of Rothenburg and, one year later, became the superintendent of schools. In 1606 he was offered and accepted the position of headmaster of the reestablished Casimirianum Gymnasium in Coburg. He lived in Coburg from 1607 until his death in 1616. Little is known about his personal life, but he did have two sons, Michael, and Andreas, who followed in his father's footsteps and became a teacher and physician. He also had two daughters, Susanna, and one whose name is not known. Views on alchemy[edit] Libavius was a staunch believer in chrysopoeia, or the ability to transmute a base metal into gold. This viewpoint was a matter of much debate for alchemists of the time and he defended it in several of his writings. Though he did discover several new chemical processes, he tended to be more of a theoretician and he leaned toward traditional Aristotelianism rather than Paracelsian alchemy. He was an opponent of Paracelsus
on the grounds of Paracelsus' disrespect for ancient thought, magnification of personal experience above others' experience, overstatement of the didactic function of nature, use of magical words and symbols in natural philosophy, confusion of natural and supernatural causes, interjection of seeds into the creation of the universe, and postulation of astral influences.[1] Despite this, he did not entirely reject all Paracelsian methods. In The Rosicrucian
Enlightenment Frances Yates states:

Andrea Libavius was one of those chymists who was influenced up to a point by the new teachings of Paracelsus
in that he accepted the use of the new chemical remedies in medicine advocated by Paracelsus, whilst adhering theoretically to the traditional Aristotelian and Galenist teachings and rejecting Paracelsist mysticism. Aristotle
and Galen
appear, honourably placed, on the title-page of Libavius's main work, the Alchymia, published at Frankfurt in 1596....Libavius criticized the Rosicrucian
Fama and Confessio in several works. Basing himself on the texts of the two manifestos, Libavius raises serious objections to them on scientific, political, and religious grounds. Libavius is strongly against theories of macro-microcosmic harmony, against Magia and Cabala, against Hermes Trismegistus
Hermes Trismegistus
(from whose supposed writings he makes many quotations), against Agrippa and Trithemius
— in short he is against the Renaissance tradition.

He accepted the Paracelsian principle of using occult properties to explain phenomena with no apparent cause, but rejected the conclusion that a thing possessing these properties must have an astral connection to the divine. He was also critical of alchemists who claimed to have produced a panacea, or cure-all, not because he didn't believe that a panacea was possible, but because these alchemists invariably refused to disclose their formulas. He believed that anyone who managed to create a panacea was duty bound to teach the process to as many other people as possible, so that it could benefit mankind.[2] He was particularly critical of Georgius am Wald (also called Georgius an und von Wald), an alchemist who wrote a book in which he claimed to have made a panacea. Libavius considered am Wald to be a fraud and declared that am Wald's panacea was no more than sulfur and mercury, not gold as am Wald claimed. Between 1595 and 1596 he dedicated four volumes, Neoparacelsica, Tractatus duo physici, Gegenbericht von der Panacea Amwaldina, and Panacea Amwaldina victa to exposing am Wald as a quack.[3] Works[edit] Within 25 years (1591-1616) Libavius wrote more than 40 works in the field of logic, theology, physics, medicine, chemistry, pharmacy and poetry. He was actively involved in polemics, especially in the fields of chemistry and alchemy, and as such many of his writings were controversial at the time. Libavius was an orthodox Lutheran, and in his theological treatises, which he wrote under the pseudonym of Basilius de Varna, he criticized Catholicism, specifically the Jesuit
order, and later on in his life, Calvinism. This can also be seen in some of his non-theological works, particularly in some of the works produced during his involvement with the conflict between the Paracelsists, anti-Paracelsists, Galenists, and Hermetics.[4] In 1597, he wrote the first systematic chemistry textbook, Alchymia, where he described the possibility of transmutation. In this book he also showed that cuprous salt lotions are detectable with ammonia, which causes them to change color to dark blue. In 1615 he wrote Syntagmatis alchamiae arcanorum where he detailed the production of tin chloride, something that he developed in 1605. He was not the first person to invent this process, however, as the Franciscan monk Ulmannus had discovered it earlier and wrote about in the book Buch der Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit in 1415. He also contributed works to the study of medicine. Between 1599 and 1601 he wrote Singularia, a four volume collection of lectures on natural science, which included a collection of descriptions and discussions about medical phenomena. In 1610 he published one of the first German medical texts, Tractatus Medicus Physicus und Historia des fürtrefflichen Casimirianischen SawerBrunnen/ unter Libenstein/ nicht fern von Schmalkalden gelegen. Other works[edit]

Quaestionum physicarum - 1591 Dialectica - 1593 Neoparacelsica - 1594 Tractatus duo physici - 1594 Exercitiorum logicorum liber - 1595 Dialogus logicus - 1595 Antigramania - 1595 Gegenbericht von der Panacea Amwaldina, auff Georg vom Waldt davon aussgegangenen Bericht - 1595 Singularium pars prima … pars secunda - 1595 Tetraemerum - 1596 Commentationum metallicorum libri - 1597 Variarum controversarium libri duo - 1601 Analysis dialéctica colloquii Ratisbonensis - 1602 Poemata epica, lyrica, et elegica - 1602 Alchymistische Practic - 1603 (Digitalisat) Gretserus triumphatus - 1604 Praxis alchymiae - 1604 Alchymia triumphans - 1607 Pharmacopea - 1607 Syntagma selectorum - 1611 Syntagma arcanorum - 1613 Syntagmatis arcanorum chymicorum - 1613 Examen philosophiae novae - 1615 Analysis confessionis Fraternitatis de Rosae Cruce - 1615 Wolmeinendes Bedencken / Von der Fama, und Confession der Brüderschaft deß Rosen Creutzes - 1616


^ Benbow, Peter K. (2009). "Theory and Action in the Works of Andreas Libavius and Other Alchemists". Annals of Science. 66 (1): 135–139. doi:10.1080/00033790802136421.  ^ Benbow, Peter K. (2009). "Theory and Action in the Works of Andreas Libavius and Other Alchemists". Annals of Science. 66 (1): 135–139. doi:10.1080/00033790802136421.  ^ "Libavius (or Libau), Andreas." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. ^ "Libavius (or Libau), Andreas." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2008. Encyclopedia.com.

Owen Hannaway (1986). "Laboratory Design and the Aim of Science: Andreas Libavius
Andreas Libavius
versus Tycho Brahe". Isis. 77 (4): 584–610. doi:10.1086/354267. 

Frances Yates, The Rosicrucian
Enlightenment RKP 1972 "Libavius (or Libau), Andreas." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. Benbow, Peter K. 2009. "Theory and Action in the Works of Andreas Libavius and Other Alchemists." Annals of Science 66, no. 1: 135-139.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Andreas Libavius.

Rice University article Indiana University article** Forshaw, Peter J (2008) "Paradoxes, Absurdities, and Madness": Conflict over Alchemy, Magic and Medicine
in the Works of Andreas Libavius and Heinrich Khunrath. Dr. Günther Bugge: Das Buch der Grossen Chemiker; first volume from Zosimos to Schönbein, publisher Chemie, GMBH Weinheim/ Bergstr. final pressing 1955, p. 107-124 Complete History of Scientific Biography Friedemann Rex (1985), "Libavius, Andreas", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 14, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 441–442 ; (full text online)

External links[edit]

Online Galleries, History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries[dead link] High resolution images of works by and/or portraits of Andreas Libavius
Andreas Libavius
in .jpg and .tiff format. Andreas Libavius
Andreas Libavius
(1606) Alchymia - digital facsimile from the Linda Hall Library.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 84837401 LCCN: n84087614 ISNI: 0000 0001 2141 8607 GND: 119522403 SELIBR: 284630 SUDOC: 030623413 BNF: cb12200199z (data) BN