Emmius, Ubbo

, a learned professor of Groningen, was born at Gretha, a village in East Friesland, Dec. 5, 1547. He was the son of Emmo Diken, a minister of that village, who had been Luther’s and Melancthon’s disciple; and at nine years of age was sent to study at Embden. He continued there till he was eighteen, and was then sent to Bremen, to improve under the famous John Molanus. Returning to his father, he did not go immediately to the university, but passed some time at Norden. Being turned of twenty-three, he was sent to Rostock, a flourishing university, where he heard the lectures of David Chytraeus, a celebrated divine and historian; and of Henry Bruce, an able mathematician and physician. The death of his father obliged him to return to East Friesland, after he had continued above two years at Rostock.; and his mother’s excessive grief upon this occasion hindered his taking a | journey into France, as he had wished, and induced him to continue with her three years, after which he went to Geneva, where he staid two years. Being returned into his own country, he had the choice of two preferments, either to be a minister or the rector of a college: but, from a great degree of natural timidity, he could not venture to engage in the ministry, thoagh it was very much his inclination. He chose therefore to be rector of a college, which was that of Norden and was admitted into that post in 1579. He made his college flourish exceedingly but was turned out of his employment in 1587, through the zeal of some Lutherans, because he would not subscribe the confession of Augsburg. He was chosen the year after to be rector of the college of Leer, whose reputation he raised so high, that it surpassed that of Norden; which the Lutherans could never retrieve from the declining state into which it fell after Emmius was deposed. They had banished from Groningen several persons who followed Calvin’s reformation; and those of the exiles who retired to Leer, meeting with the same fate as Emmius, engaged in a particular friendship with him: so that, when the city of Groningen confederated with the United Provinces, and the magistrates resolved to restore their college, Emmius being recommended by several persons, they chose him to be the rector of that college, and gave him a full power to make or abrogate there such statutes as he should think proper.

He entered upon this employment in 1594, and exercised it near twenty years, to the uncommon advantage of the students, who were sent in great numbers to that college. At the end of that time, namely, in 1614, the magistrates of Groningen changed their college into an university, and made Emmius professor of history and of the Greek tongue. He was the first rector of that university, and one of the chief ornaments of it by his lectures, till the infirmities of old age did not suffer him to appear any longer in public. Yet he did not become useless either to the republic of letters, or to the university of Groningen; for he continued to write books, and to impart his wise counsels to the senate in all important affairs. He was a man whose learning was not his only merit: he was capable, which few men who spend their lives in a college are, of advising even princes. The governor of the provinces of | Friesland and Groningen consulted him very often, and seldom failed to follow his advice.

Emmius died at Groningen, Dec. 9, 1625, leaving a family behind him; for he had been twice married. Til the last years of his life he composed the three volumes o his “Vetus Grsecia illustrata,” or ancient Greece illustrated the first of which contains a geographical description of Greece the second, the history of it; the third, the particular form of government in every state. This work was committed to the press in his life-time; bur, through the delays of the printers, not published till after his death, in 1626, 3 vols. 8vo. He had published several considerable works before this; as, his “Opus Chronologicum novum,” Groningen, 1619, fol. and some genealogical works, which contain the history of Rome and an universal history, written in a very elaborate method his “Decades rerum Frisicarum,” in which we do not find him unreasonably prepossessed in favour of his native country: on the contrary, he confuted vigorously the idle tales related by the historians of Friesland, concerning the antiquities of their nation; and this love of truth raised him a great many enemies. This work was printed at Leyden, 16 1C, fol. an edition of great rarity. He wrote also a History of William Lewis count of Nassau, governor of Friesland; in which we meet, not only with a panegyric on that prince, but also a short history of thf United Provinces, from 1577 to 1614. This was printed at Groningen, 1621, 4to. He had theological controversies with Daniel Hoffman, and wrote an abridgment of the life and errors of David George, the enthusiast, in German, and not in Latin, as Clement has proved in his Bibl. Curieuse. When he died, he was about composing the history of Philip of Macedon; in order to shew the United Provinces by what fraudulent and indirect means Philip had oppressed the liberty of Greece, and had already carried this history to the 15th year of Philip’s reign.

His knowledge of history, and his memory, must have been extraordinary, if credit can be given to his biographers, who assert, that, without any preparation, he could answer all manner of questions concerning the history, both ancient and modern, of any country whatsoever, without the least mistake in the circumstances of times, places, and persons. He not only knew the actions, events and | motives, but also understood the interest of the several nations, the form of their government, the inclinations of their princes, the means they employed to enlarge their dominions, their alliances, and their origin. He knew also the figure, situation, and magnitude of their cities tmd forts, the position of rivers and highways, the turnings and windings of mountains, &c. The author of his life has collected several encomiums, which Thuanus, Scaliger, Dousa, and others, have passed upon him, which are abundantly flattering, especially those of Scaliger, who styles Emmius’s History of Frieslanda divine history.” The magistrates of Groningen caused his picture to be placed in the town-house. 1

1 Gen. Dict. Freheri Theatrum. —Moreri. —Foppen’s Bibl. Belg. Nicron vol. XXIII. Clement. Bibl. Blount’s Censura, —Saxii Onomast.