Andreas Libavius
Andreas Libavius was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 and chemist
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties such as density and acidity. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms...



Libavius was born in Halle
Halle, Saxony-Anhalt
Halle is the largest city in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is also called Halle an der Saale in order to distinguish it from the town of Halle in North Rhine-Westphalia...

, Germany, as Andreas Libau. In Halle he attended the gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 and studied from the year 1576 in University of Wittenberg. From 1577 on he studied in the University of Jena in the faculties of philosophy and history. He obtained there the academic degree of magister artium
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

. Additionally he attended the lectures of the faculty of medicine there.

He worked at first as a teacher, from the year 1581 in Ilmenau
Ilmenau is a town located in the district of Ilm-Kreis, Thuringia, Germany.Ilmenau is situated in the valley of the Ilm river, at an altitude of 431 metres above sea level, and is the biggest town in Ilm-Kreis district, with 6,200 students studying at the Technische Universität Ilmenau. The...

 and from 1586 in Coburg. In 1588 he went to Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

 and was promoted to the degree of medicinae doctor
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine is a doctoral degree for physicians. The degree is granted by medical schools...

and in the same year became a professor of history and poetics in Jena
Jena is a university city in central Germany on the river Saale. It has a population of approx. 103,000 and is the second largest city in the federal state of Thuringia, after Erfurt.-History:Jena was first mentioned in an 1182 document...

. At the same time he also supervised the disputations in the field of medicine. Libavius died in Coburg where he held the position of the rector of the Gymnasium Casimirianum
John Casimir, Duke of Saxe-Coburg
John Casimir of Saxe-Coburg , was a duke of Saxe-Coburg.He was the third but eldest surviving son of John Frederick II, Duke of Saxony, and Countess Palatine Elisabeth of Simmern-Sponheim....



In a survey of the medical profession of his time, he split them up as Galenists, "Chemiatri" and Paracelsians. The second group he subdivided, one type being those relatively conservative in innovations but still interested in chemistry as a source of new drugs: these included Philip Ulstadius as a representative figure in a tradition going back to Avicenna
Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā , commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived...

. The other type were hermeticists, opponents of the Paracelsians but bad chemists.

In The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Frances Yates
Frances Yates
Dame Frances Amelia Yates DBE was a British historian. She taught at the Warburg Institute of the University of London for many years.She wrote extensively on the occult or Neoplatonic philosophies of the Renaissance...


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 the Paracelsist mysticism. Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 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
Rosicrucianism is a philosophical secret society, said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreuz. It holds a doctrine or theology "built on esoteric truths of the ancient past", which, "concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe...

 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
Hermes Trismegistus is the eponymous author of the Hermetic Corpus, a sacred text belonging to the genre of divine revelation.-Origin and identity:...

 (from whose supposed writings he makes many quotations), against Agrippa and Trithemius — in short he is against the Renaissance tradition.


In 1597, he wrote the first systematic chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 textbook, Alchemia, which included instructions for the preparation of several strong acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

s. Some of his writings were published under the name Basilius de Varna.


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