Today is the first full day of lectures at the International Mineral Association’s 2010 Congress in Budapest. I spent the morning attending lectures on the topic of History. The first talk of the day was _The tradition of Theoprastus’ “On Stones” during the early stages of modern mineral science_ by A. Mottana.
He spoke on the ancient text written by Theoprastus usually called “De Lapidibus”, or “On Stones”, which was written around 313-305 BC. Its arrival to Italy in 1427, brought from Constantinople to Florence by Trancaso Filefo, was one of the important parts of the resurgence/rediscovery of ancient learning in the Renaissance, being the first entire book written on stones and minerals. The source of the document that arrived in Italy in 1427 is thought to have been the Vaticanus graecus 1302, a codex written in Byzantium c. 1300-30.
The lecture opened with a definition of the period of the Renassiance, which started in Italy in 1392 when Manuel Chrysoliora was appointed to teach Greek Language & Literature at the University in Florence, and ended in 1611 when Johannes Keppler published Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula, which was the first mathematical text on crystal structure, and thus an important start to the age of science. From there he touched on the various Renaissance scholars who used this source in their own work, and who did translations, and when. The talk was fascinating, but due to the format (only 20 minutes available) it was necessary for him to hurry over the latter portion of the talk, and my note-taking didn’t keep up. (Any errors in the above are due to my rusty note-taking skills, and not to the speaker).