Camerarius, Joachim

, one of the most learned writers of his age, was born at Bamberg April 12, 1500. The ancient family name was Leibhard, but it was afterwards changed into that of Cammermeister, in Latin Camerarius, or Chamberlain, from one of his ancestors having held that office at court. He was sent to a school at Leipsic when he was 13 years of age, and soon distinguished himself by his application to Greek and Latin authors, which he read without ceasing. When Leipsic, on one occasion, was in a tumult, Camerarius shewed no concern about any thing but an Aldus’s Herodotus, which he carried under his arm; and which indeed to a scholar at that time was of some consequence, when printing was in its infancy, and Greek books not easily procured. It is yet more to his praise that his Greek professor, when obliged to be absent, entrusted him to read his lectures, although at that time he was but sixteen years old. In 1517 he studied philosophy under Moseilanus; and this was the year, when the indulgences were preached, which gave occasion to the reformation. Camerarius was at St. Paul’s church in Leipsic with Heltus, who was his master in Greek and Latin literature, when these indulgences were exposed from the pulpit; but Heltus was so offended with the impudence of the Dominican who obtruded them, | that he went out of the church in the middle of the sermon, and ordered Camerarius to follow him. When he had staid at Leipsic five years, he went to Erford; and three years after to Wittemberg, where Luther and Melancthon were maintaining and propagating the reformation. He knew Melancthon before lived afterwards in the utmost intimacy with him and, after Melancthon‘ s death, wrote a very copious and accurate life of him. He was also soon after introduced to Erasnrus, and his uncommon abilities and industry made him known to all the eminent men of his time.

In 1525, when there was an insurrection among the common people through all Germany, commonly called the war of the peasants, Camerarius went into Prussia, but he returned very soon, and was made professor of the belies lettres in an university which the senate of Nuremberg had just founded under the direction and superintendency of Melancthon. In 1526, when the diet of Spires was held, Albert earl of Mansfelt was appointed ambassador to Charles V. of Spain, and Camerarius to attend him as his Latin interpreter; but this embassy being suspended, Camerarius went no farther than Sslirigen, whence he returned home, and was married the year after to Anne Truchses, a lady of an ancient and noble family, with whom he lived forty-six years very happily, and had four daughters and five sons by her, who all did honour to their family. In 1530, the Senate of Nuremberg sent him with some other persons to the diet of Augsburgh, and four years after offered him the place of secretary; but, preferring the ease and freedom of a studious life to all advantages of a pecuniary nature, he refused it. In 1538, Ulric prince of Wittemberg sent him to Tubingen, to restore the discipline and credit of that university and in 1541, Henry, duke of Saxony, and afterwards Maurice his son, invited him to Leipsic, to direct and assist in founding an university there.

When Luther was dead, and Germany at war, Camerarius experienced very great hardships, Leipsic being besieged by the elector of Saxony, on which account he removed all his effects with his family to Nuremberg, not however without considerable loss, and did not return till the war was at an end. In 1556 he went with Melancthon to the diet of Nuremberg; and attended him the year after to that of Ratisbon. After spending a life of literary labour | and fame, be died at Leipsic, April 17, 1575, surviving his wife not quite a year; and Melchior Adam relates, that he never recovered this shock. Among his friends were Jerome Baumgartner, Carlovitch, Melancthon, Petrus Victorius, Turnebus, Hieronymus Wolfius, and in short, almost all the great men of his time. He is said to have been to Melancthon, what Atticus was to Cicero, an adviser, counsellor, assistant, and friend upon all occasions; and that, when Melancthon’ s wife died during his absence at the diet of Worms, Camerarius quitted all his concerns at home, however necessary and requiring his presence, and immediately set off on purpose to comfort him.

His labours in the literary republic were prodigious. He wrote a vast number of books, among which are the lives of Melancthon and Hessius, and “Commentaries on the NewTestament, grammatical and critical,” printed with Beza’s Greek Testament, Cambridge, 1642, fol. He likewise published a catalogue of the bishops of the principal sees; Greek epistles; itineraries in Latin verse; epigrams of the ancient Greek poets; a commentary on Plautus, &c. But he was perhaps a greater benefactor to the students of his time by the translations he made from many of the ancient authors. Greek was but little understood, and to facilitate the learning of that language, he translated Herodotus, Demosthenes, Xenophon, Euclid, Homer, Theocritus, Sophocles; Lucian, Theodoret, Nicephorus, &c. Melchior Adam says, that “he studied incessantly, within doors and without, up and in bed, on a journey, and in hours even of recreation; that he learned French and Italian when he was old; that he had but a smattering of Hebrew; that he understood Greek well; and that in Latin he was inferior to none.” Turnebus, Henry Stephens, Lipsius, Beza, Scaliger, Thuanus, and Vossius, all speak of him in the highest terms. Erasmus only said he owed more to industry than to nature, which might, however, apply to the uncommon care he took in remedying her defects; but this opinion does not correspond with that of any of his contemporaries. In private character he was a man of great goodness of disposition, great humanity, candour, and. sincerity in his searches after truth. 1


Gen. Dict.—Niceron, who gives a catalogue of his works.—Saxii Onomast.