Ursus, Nicolas Raimarus

, a writer distinguished for his skill in astronomy, was born at Henstedt in Dhhmarsen, which is part of the dukedom of Holstein, about 1550. He was a swineherd in his younger years, and did not begin to read till he was eighteen; and then he employed all the hours he could spare from his labours in learning to read and write. He afterwards applied himself to the study of the languages; and, having a good capacity and memory, made a very swift progress in Latin and Greek. He also learned the French tongue, mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy; and most of them without the assistance of a master. Having left his native country, he gained a livelihood by teaching which he did in Denmark in 1584, | and on the frontiers of Pomerania and Poland in 1585. It was in this last place that he invented a new system of astronomy, very little different from that of Tycho Brahe. He communicated it in 1586 to the landgrave of Hesse, which gave rise to an angry dispute between him and Tycho Brahe. Tycho charged him with being a plagiary; who, as he related, happening to come with his master into his study, saw there, on a piece of paper, the figure of his system; and afterwards insolently boasted, that himself was the inventor of it. Ursus, upon this accusation, wrote with great severity against Tycho; called the honour of his invention into question, ascribing the system which he pretended was his own to Apollonius PergsBUs; and made use of such language, as almost brought on prosecution. He was afterwards invited, by his imperial majesty, to teach the mathematics in Prague, from which city, to avoid the presence of Tycho Brahe, he withdrew silently in 1589, and died soon after. He made some improvements in trigonometry, and wrote several works, which discover the marks of his hasty studies; his erudition being indigested, and his style incorrect, as is almost always the case with those who begin their studies late in life. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri. Mutton’s Dictionary.