In the centuries that inquiring minds have studied and theorized about igneous rocks, much progress has been made, both in accumulating observations and in developing theories. Yet, writing a history of this progress is a daunting undertaking. The volume of the literature is vast and in multiple languages; the various lines of inquiry are diverse and complex; and the nomenclature is sometimes abstruse. On top of these challenges, many of its principal issues have yet to find a definitive consensus. With the exception of a few topical studies, historians of science have virtually avoided the subject.