Sennertus, Daniel

, an eminent physician of Germany, was born at Breslaw, where his father was a shoemaker, Nov. 25, 1572. He was sent to the university of Wittemberg in 1593, and there made a great progress in philosophy and physic, after which he visited the universities of Leipsic, Jena, and Francfort upon the Oder; and went to Berlin in 1601, whence he returned to Wittemberg the same year, and was promoted to the degree of doctor in physic, and soon after to a professorship in the same faculty. He was the first who introduced the study of chemistry into that university. He gained great reputation by his writings and practice; patients came to him from all parts, among whom were persons of the first rank; his custom was to take what was offered him for his advice, but demanded nothing, and restored to the poor what they gave him. The plague was about seven times at Wittemberg while he was professor there but he never retired, nor refused to assist the sick: and the elector of Saxony, whom he had cured of a dangerous illness in 1638, though he had appointed him one of his physicians in ordinary, yet gave him leave to continue at Wittemberg. He probably fell a sacrifice to his humanity, for he died of the plague at Wittemberg, July 21, 1637.

Sennertus was a voluminous writer, and has been characterized, by some critics, as a mere compiler from the works of the ancients. It is true that his writings contain an epitome, but, it must be added, a most comprehensive, clear, and judicious epitome, of the learning of the Greeks and Arabians, which renders them, eyen at this day, of considerable value as books of reference, and is highly creditable, considering the age in which they were | composed, to his learning and discrimination. It must not be forgot that he also attained some fame as a philosopher, and was the first restorer of the Epicurean system among the moderns. In a distinct chapter of his “Hypomnemata Physica,” or “Heads of Physics,” trrating of atoms and mixture, he embraces the atomic system, which- he derives from Mochus the Phoenician. He supposes that the primary corpuscles not' only unite in the formation of bodies, but that in their mutual action and passion they undergo such modifications, that they cease to be what they were before their union; and maintains, that by their combination all material forms are produced. Sennertus, however, confounded the corpuscles of the more ancient philosophers with the atoms of Democritus and Epictetus, and held that each element has primary particles peculiar to itself. His works have often been printed in France and Italy. The last edition is that of Lyons, 1676, in 6 vols. folio, to which his life is prefixed. 1


Niceron, vol. XIV. —Eloy. Brucker.