Elementa Philosophiae Naturalis

Physica Generalis, Tab. IV

Elementa Philosophiæ Naturalis. In Usum Auditorum Conscripta Ab Antonio Reviczky, E Societate Jesu Philosophiæ Doctore Ejusdemque in Universitate Tyrnaviensi Professore Publico Ordinario. Pars Prima, Seu Physica Generalis. Pars Altera, Seu Pysica Particularis. - Tyrnau : Typis Academicis Societatis Jesu, 1757-58.

Austrian National Library, shelfmark: 308.998-B.Alt-Mag.1.2. 

Anton (Antal) Reviczky (1723-1781) taught philosophy for some years at the renowned Jesuit university of Tyrnau (Trnava/Slowakia) before being entrusted with new tasks by his order and moving to Ofen (Buda). The two volumes of his  Elementa Philosophiae Naturalis cover the standard teaching of the 1750s on the fields of Physica Generalis and Physica Particularis. The immediate reason for its publication was almost certainly a decree of Maria Theresa urging the professors to have their teaching material published in print.

In Reviczky’s time, the term „natural philosophy“ covered much more than one would associate with it nowadays, including natural and real sciences such as physics, technics, astronomy, cosmology, biology, physiology and psychology. Volume one of the Elementa, accordingly, focuses on physics, volume two provides an overview of the other subjects mentioned. 

The attractive copperplate engravings lend a special appeal to both volumes. The persons „acting“ are partly presented in local costume, linking the scenes to Tyrnau as their setting. The boy’s figure in our image (left) is holding the model of a „campana urinatoria“, a diving bell to enable underwater work. Half a century earlier, Sir Edmond Halley had already constructed and successfully employed a similar bell with fresh-air supply by pipe; this model was continuously improved during the course of the 18th century.

(Klick on image teasers to view full image.)

last update 10/3/2013