Albertus Magnus

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In existographies, Albertus Magnus (750-675 BE) (1205-1280 ACM) (IQ:180|#122) (ID:2.40|75) (PR:1,084|65AE / religious figure:114) (Cattell 1000:601) (Gottlieb 1000:726) (Partington 50:40) (GCE:32) (CR:25) (LH:7) (TL:32) was a German philosopher, chemist, and theologian, noted for []


In c.1250BC, Magnus introduced the term affinitas, i.e. "affinity" (or affinities) in the sense of chemical relation, to qualify the combinations of bodies.[1] H use the term affinity, for instance, to define the cause of combination of sulfur with silver and other metals; for example:

Sulphur destroys the metals because of its natural affinity to them.”
— Albert Magnus (c.1250), Publication (pg. #)[2]

In c.1255BC, Magnus, in his Book of Secrets, outlined four types or principles of affinity:[3]

  1. Likes attract to likes, meaning that an attraction between things with similar qualities or virtues exists, stated in general terms, referring to the Aristotelian elements: earth, air, fire, and water.
  2. All things have prime, or first, qualities, but can acquire second or third qualities by association.
  3. Qualities may be innate to a whole species or to individual things.
  4. Antagonism where just as all things attract related things with like qualities, they also ‘repel’ things with opposite qualities.

The first of these, i.e. like attracts to like, we note, traces back to Plato. Magnus’ affinity theories and works were frequently reprinted well into the 16th century.


Quotes | On

The following are quotes on Magnus:

Albertus Magnus employs the term affinity (affinitas) to designate the cause of the combination of sulphur with silver and otter metals; in this precise sense, applied to all cases of chemical combination, the term is used in the present day.”
— George Rodwell (1873), “The Birth of Chemistry” (pg. 285)[4]
“Conceptions of chemical affinity date from Albertus Magnus [c.1250], who first suggested the term to denote the force with which different chemical substances cling together. Ideas of affinity have been varied since that time, and have been the subject of much speculation and controversy. In 1718, Geoffroy compiled affinity tables in which he arranged acids and bases in the order of their acidity and basicity, respectively, as compared with some fundamental substance of the opposite kind. In 1772, Beccaria first observed the relation between chemical and electrical action, when he succeeded in obtaining the phenomenon of reduction by the use of the electric spark. Bergman, in 1775, discussed the question of affinity, and stated that certain elementary substances were capable of uniting to form compounds whose chemical stability was a function of only their polar strengths, and while he totally ignored or even discredited the influence of mass, he, nevertheless, appreciably advanced the knowledge of chemical combination.”
— M.W. Franklin (1912), “The Electron Theory” (pg. 27) [5]

Quotes | By

The following are quotes by Magnus:

“The aim of natural science is not simply to accept the statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature.”
— Albert Magnus (c.1270), On Minerals [6]

End matter


  1. Partington, James. (1937). A Short History of Chemistry (pg. 322). Dover.
  2. Rodwell, George. (1874). The Birth of Chemistry (pg. 86). MacMillian.
  3. Magnus, Albert. (c.1255). The Book of Secrets: of Albertus Magnus; Of the Virtue of Herbs, Stones, and Certain Beasts, Also a Book of the Marvels of the World (editors: Michael Best and Frank Brightman). Weiser Books, 2000.
  4. (a) Rodwell, George. (1873). “The Birth of Chemistry” (pg. 285), Nature, 7:285-87.
    (b) Rodwell, George. (1874). The Birth of Chemistry (pg. 86). MacMillian.
  5. Franklin, M.W. (1912). “The Electron Theory” (pg. 27), Transactions of the Electrochemical Society, 21:27-40.
  6. (a) Magnus, Albert. (c.1270). On Minerals (De Mineralibus). Publisher.
    (b) Snell, Melissa. (2019). “St. Albert the Great Quotes” (Ѻ),, Mar 13.

External links

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