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Bernardo Perez de Vargas
PÉREZ DE VARGAS, Bernardo.

PÉREZ DE VARGAS, Bernardo.
(c1545 - after 1569)

(Born: c1545; Died: after 1569) Spanish naturalist.

Apparently well educated, Pérez lived most of his life in Madrid. He claimed distinguished lineage and used the title "Magnifico," but there is no independent evidence of his statement.

Biographical references: ABE. DSB: 10, 514-5. Maffei & Rua Figuera, Bibliografía Mineral, 1871-2: 2, 30-2. Paoli, G.P., "El magnifico caballero Bernardo Perez de Vargas", Revista de la Academia de ciencias de Madrid, 31, (1934), 132-45. Picatoste, Biblioteca Científica Española, 1891: 253-5. WBI.

De Re Metalica, 1568

1. Spanish, 1568 [First edition].
De Re Metalica | Enel Qval | Se Tratan Mv- | chos Y Diversos Secre- | tos del conocimiento de toda suerte de mi | nerals, de como se douen buscar ensa- | yar y beneficiar, con otros secretos e indu | strias notables, assi para los que tratan los | officios de oro, plata, cobre, estaño, plo- | mo, azero, hierro, y otros metales, co | mo para muchas personas curiosas | Compuesto por el magnifico | cauallero Bernardo Pe- | rez de Vargas. | Dirigido al muy Poderoso Señor don Car- | los, Principe de España. | {¶} Con Licencia. | En la Noble y Coronada villa de Madrid | en casa de Pierres Cosin. Año. | M.D.LXIX. | {¶} Esta tassado a treas marauedis el pliego.

8°: π488 A-Z8 2A-2B8 2C7; 226l. (Leaf ¶¶8 is blank.; [40] p., Folios 1-206, [2] p., illus.; colophon is dated 1568, the Privilegio del Rey is dated Madrid 2 September 1569). The folios are numbered on the recto side only. Page size: 142 x 84 mm.

Contents: [1 pg], Title page.; [1 pg], "Yo Pedro de Marmol, secreta, ..."-signed Pedro de Marmol.; [4 pgs], "El Rey."; [2 pgs], Errata.; [2 pgs], "Donphi- | lippe por."; [10 pgs], "Prologo." [2 pgs], "Prologo Al Le- | ctor stvdioso."; [14 pgs], "Tabla De Los Li | bros Y Capitv- | los Desta Obra."; [1 pg], "Yo Diego."; [1 pg], Printer's device.; [2 pgs], Blanks.; Folios 1-206, Text.; [1 pg], Printer's device.; [1 pg], Blank.

Very rare. In February 1564, Perez de Vargas was granted a licence to prepare a work in the Spanish language describing mining and metallurgical technology, persumably to help guide the extraction of mineral wealth from the New World. Although the book he published in 1568 does deal in considerable detail with these subjects, it is a translation and largely a plagerism of Georg Agricola's De Re Metallica (1st ed., Leipzig, 1556), with little or no originality from the supposed author. In fact, only a single reference to Agricola is made in the work, even though a chapter by chapter comparision between Agricola's work and this book clearly shows little difference. After the preliminaries, the work is divided into nine books. The first has 10 chapters giving a philosophical background to the form and nature of metals. The second in 5 chapters describes the causes of metals. The third in 9 chapters covers the nature of metals and in particular that of gold. The 15 chapters of the fourth book describe where to look for valuable deposits. The fifth book considers the benefits derived from metals and mines in 17 chapters. The sixth characterizes the preparation of ores for smelting, and how they should be ground, toasted and washed in 21 chapters. The seventh book in 15 chapters describes how to separate one metal from another. Pecuilar secrets of metals are the object of the 10 chapters of the eighth book. The last book describes in 20 chapters how minerals are distributed in the land. Like the early editions of Alvaro Alonso Barba's Arte de los Metales, any book that had a connection to the mineral resources of the New World, was printed in a very limited edition so that the secrets might be better kept. Perez de Vargas's De Re Metalica is no exception to this rule; it is an exceptionally rare book. Brunet (1864) records only five auction records for this title between 1767 and 1791, and gives it the description: "Volume auquel sa grande rareté avait autrefois procuré un prix considérable."

Bibliographical references: Agricola Bibliographie: 815-9 [reproduces the title page, plate 30]. Brunet: 5, 1089 ["grande rareté"]. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 427. LKG: III 23*. Maffei & Rua Figuera, Bibliografía Mineral, 1871-2: 2, 30-2. NUC: 450, 329 [NP 0233393]. Palau, Manual, 1948-77: no. 222669. Partington, History of Chemistry, 1961-70: 2, 65-6. Picatoste, Biblioteca Científica Española, 1891: no. 645.

Traité, 1743

2. French, 1743 [French transl.].
Traité Singulier | De | Metallique, | Contenant | Divers Secrets Touchant | la connoissance de toutes sortes de Métaux & Mi- | néraux, la maniere de les tirer des Mines, de les | essayer & de les purifier; | Avec D' Autres Secrets Et | Tours de mains rares, tant pour les Orfévres, Jouailliers, Affineurs, Fondeurs, Chaudronniers, Potiers d'Etaing, Coúteliers, Plombiers, Forge- | rons, Serruriers, que pour tous ceux qui travail- | lent sur les Métaux, & principalement pour ceux | qui ont des Mines à cultiver & faire valoir, leur | enseignant la maniére de les mettre à profit, & | d'en abréger le travail & les dépenses; | Et Plusieurs Autres Secrets | concernant les Métaux, comme les départir étant | mêlés tous ensemble, sans Eau de départ, &c. | Traduit de l'Original Espagnol de Perez de Vargas, | imprimé à Madrid en 1568. in-12. Par G.G. | Tome Premier [-Second]. | [ornament] | A Paris, | Chez Prault pere, Quay de Gêvres, au Paradis. | [rule] | M.D.CC.XLIII. | Avec Approbation & Privilége du Roy.

2 vols.

Very scarce. Translation by Gaspar Gautier [?-?] of De Re Metalica (Madrid, 1568). From the original preliminaries, the translator has included only the "Prologo allector stvdioso." In the first volume of this work are contained the translation of the first six books, while the second volume comprises the remaining three books. The illustrations are reproduced from the original edition.

Bibliographical references: Agricola Bibliographie: 819-20 [reproduces the title page, plate 31]. NUC: 450, 329 [NP 0233396].

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