Olearius, Adam

, a learned traveller, whose German name was Oelschlager, was born in 1599, or 1600, at Aschersieben, a small town in the principality of Anhalt. 43is parents were very poor, and scarcely able to maintain him, yet by some means he was enabled to enter as a student at Leipsic, where he took his degrees in arts and philosophy, but never was a professor, as some biographers

| have asserted. He quitted Leipsic for Holsteiu, where the duke Frederic, hearing of his merit and capacity, wished to employ him. This prince having a wish to extend the commerce of his country to the East, determined to send an embassy to the Czar Michael Federowitz, and the king of Persia, and having chosen for this purpose two of his counsellors, Philip Crusius and Otto Bruggeman, he appointed Olearius to accompany them as secretary. Their travels lasted six years, during which Olearius collected a great fund of information respecting the various countries they visited. The Czar of Moscovy on his return wished to have retained him in his service, with the appointment of astronomer and mathematician; not, however, his biographers tell us, so much on account of his skill in these sciences, as because the Czar knew that Olearius had very exactly traced the course of the Volga, which the Russians then wished to keep a secret from foreigners. Olearius had an inclination, however, to have accepted this offer, but after his return to the court of Holstein, he was dissuaded from it, and the duke having apologized to the Czar, attached him to himself as mathematician and antiquary. In 1643, the duke sent him on a commission to Moscow, where, as before, his ingenuity made him be taken for a magician, especially as on this occasion he exhibited a camera obscura. In 1650 the duke appointed him his librarian, and keeper of his curiosities. The library he enriched with many Oriental Mss. which he had procured in his travels, and made also considerable additions to the duke’s museum, particularly of the collection of Paludanns, a Dutch physician, which the duke sent him to Holland ta purchase; and he drew up a description of the whole, which was published at Sleswick in 1666, 4to. He also constructed the famous globe of Gottorp, and an armillary sphere of copper, which was not less admired, and proved how much mathematics had been his study. He died Feb. 22, 1671. He published, in German, his travels, 1647, 1656, 1669, fol. Besides these three editions, they were translated into English by Davies, and into Dutch and Italian. The most complete translation is that, in French, by Wicquefort, Amst. 1727, 2 vols. fol. who also translated Olearius’s edition of Mandelso’s “Voyages to Persia,” c. fol. Among his other and less known works, are some lives of eminent Germans “The Valley of Persian Roses,| from the Persian; “An abridged Chronicle of Holstein,” &c 1

Chaufepie.Niceron, vol. XL. See George Anderson, vol. II. of this work, p. 179.