The “De Re Metallica Libri XI” from the pen of the polymath Georg Agricola is rightly called the “Bible” of the miners of Europe and America. Now this special literary-scientific synthesis of the arts of the 16th century has been translated into Ukrainian. The TH Georg Agricola University (THGA), Bochum/Germany, which itself bears the name of the Chemnitz native, who is generally regarded as the “father of mineralogy” and the founder of modern geology and mining science, played a major role in the realisation (Figure 1).
Prof. Volodymyr Biletskyi (Kharkov Polytechnic Institute) and Prof. Hennadii Haiko (Igor Sikorsky Kiev Polytechnic Institute) were responsible for the comparative translation of twelve books as well as the scientific editing and commentary. In addition to the first edition, they also consulted American, Polish and Soviet editions.
Natalia Lubenska from the Research Center of Post-Mining (FZN) of the THGA also translated another component of Agricola’s first edition – namely the book “On Subterranean Beings”. “This is something special in that most international translations only include the usual twelve books – but usually omit this special section. Our translation thus comes closest to Georg Agricola’s original idea of his fundamental work,” says Lubenska.
It should be noted that the first, purely mining-related part (Books I – VI) was already published in Donetsk at the beginning of 2014. “This first edition, with certain risks, was already brought to Ukraine from the occupied city,” Lubenska tells us. The translation of the second part – sample analysis, ore enrichment, smelting, purification and separation of metals (books VII – XII) has been taking place with the financial support of the THGA since the end of 2022. The layout of the book, which should be as close as possible to the first printing from 1556, is now being created and finalised by the Ukrainian publishing house “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”.
Lubenska is certain: “The return of Ukraine to the European family is taking place in many different ways. Our engagement on the scientific level is also part of it, including the translation of iconic works left to us by the humanists and scientists of Europe, including the books of Georg Agricola. Even Goethe once praised his work as “a wonderful gift to mankind” – now it will soon be available to all Ukrainians without a language barrier.” (THGA/Si.)