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Renaissance Craftsmen and Humanistic Scholars

Circulation of Knowledge between Portugal and Germany


Edited By Thomas Horst, Marília dos Santos Lopes and Henrique Leitão

The study of the relations between Portugal and the German-speaking countries in the 15th and 16th centuries is an intriguing topic that has attracted the interest of scholars for some decades. In recent years evidence accumulated has shown that there was still much to be known and even some large areas were still unexplored. In order to better grasp the nature of what was a complex historical phenomenon, an interdisciplinary approach to the topic turned out to be necessary by deepening the understanding of what is usually termed the circulation of knowledge. The present book shows how knowledge travels with people, with artifacts, along commercial lines, and is created and transformed by the intervention of individuals from various educational and social strata.

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Leonhard Thurneysser zum Thurn (1531–1596) und sein Nachlass in der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Gabriele Kaiser)


Gabriele Kaiser

Leonhard Thurneysser zum Thurn (1531–1596) und sein Nachlass in der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin*

Abstract: Leonhard Thurneysser zum Thurn (1531–1596) was a real Renaissance-man who excelled in various fields like chemistry, metallurgy, botany, mathematics, astronomy and medicine. He was the personal doctor of the Brandenburg Elector alchemist, pharmacist, astrologer, writer and printer. He was born in Basel in 1531, worked as a goldsmith and mercenary as well as in a mine, travelled to Scotland, England and Portugal, lived in Tyrol, Münster and since 1570 in Brandenburg. There he had the most successful time of his life.

Thurneysser first met Johann Georg, the Elector of Brandenburg (1571–1598) in Frankfurt/Oder where he succeeded in healing the Elector’s wife. Therefore he was appointed to be the prince’s personal doctor with a salary of 1352 Taler and invited to work at the court in Berlin. Thurneysser was even granted to use for his work a part of former Franciscan monastery, called on “Graues Kloster”. For Thurneysser this monastery became his residence, his library, his printing shop (the first of Berlin!) and his laboratory – where he produced medicine which made him a rich man. He sold astrological calendars, horoscopes and talisman for the ordinary people and printed books with different alphabets, like Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopian and Armenian. Besides that, he ran the first scientific cabinet of the Brandenburg, a botanic garden and a little zoo with exotic animals. A journey to his hometown...

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