ENTZELT, Christoph (1557) De re metallica
Modern binding, 10 x 16.5 cm, designed by Wendell Wilson, executed in alum-tawed pigskin by Skip Carpenter, Green Dragon Bindery.
Very scarce, second edition (1st edition, Francofurti, 1551). This is an important work in the study of systematic mineralogy which complements the writings of Agricola and Ercker. The author acknowledges a debt to Agricola, but since the work is focused on the medicinal uses of metals, stones minerals and gems, he cites Pliny, Dioscorides and Serapion more often. He repeats the ancient and medieval traditions and beliefs with regard to gems, but sometimes regards the mystical powers as suspicious. Throughout many German names are provided, together with an index, and mention is made of some German mines. Entzelt is critical of Albertus Magnus for listening too much to the chemists and censures him for his belief in magic, though Entzelt himself often ascribes powers to stones that border on the magical. Entzelt offers recipes for mixing ink and for making shoe–black. He discusses crystals used in spyglasses, the superpowers of stones found in animals, German mining regions, fossils, gemstones and amber. Throughout, Entzelt includes numerous schematic charts including the three folding leaves that are rarely found intact (present in this copy). The text is divided into three sections: metals (p. 1–72), semi–metals (p. 73–155) and stones, earths and gems (p. 156–271).
Included at the beginning is a strong letter of commendation from Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560) to Egenolph, the printer at Frankfurt, dated 19 August 1551, recommending that the book be printed because it contains material found nowhere else. Since the title page of the first edition is undated, that edition is ascribed to publication in that year. In comparing multiple copies of the 1557 printing to the first edition, it has been determined that the text is apparently the same between the two edition, with the only differences being on the title page and on the folding table inserted at page 93. On this table in the 1551 edition, line 6 from bottom ends “…qvod Dioscorides uo–” while the same line in the 1557 edition ends “…qvod Dioscorides.”
Christoph Entzelt. (Born: Saalfeld, Thüringen, Germany, 1517; Died: 15 March 1586). Entzelt (or the Latin Encelius) matriculated at the University of Wittenberg in 1532. He became a disciple of religious reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) and became in 1539 church rector in Tangermünde in the state of Brandenburg. Later, in 1558, he became pastor in Ofterburg.