Kirstenius, Peter

, professor of physic at Upsal, and physician extraordinary to Christina queen of Sweden, was born Dec. 25, 1577, at Breslaw, in Silesia, where his father was a merchant. He lost his parents when he was very young; but his guardians, as they intended him for his father’s profession, had him well instructed in such knowledge as might prepare him for it. Kirsteuius, however, had a turn for general literature, in which they thought it proper to indulge him. He accordingly learned the Greek and Latin tongues, and even Hebrew and Syriac; and with a view to his intended object, cultivated natural philosophy, botany, and anatomy, with the greatest care, in his native place. Afterwards he spent four years at the universities of Leipsic, Wittemberg, and Jena; and having made a great progress under the ablest professors, he took a journey into the Low-Countries, and into France. He had been told that a man could not distinguish himself in the practice of physic, unless he understood Avicenna; and, knowing the translation of that physician’s works to be very bad, he had a strong inclination to learn Arabic. To this he was urged by Joseph Scaliger and Isaac Casaubon, | who thought he might do great service to the public of letters in that pursuit; and he resolved to read not only Avicenna, but also Mesue, Rhasis, Abenzoar, Abukasis, and Averroes. This course, however, did not hinder him from gratifying the inclination he had to travel, in which he spent seven years. He took a doctor of physic’s degree at Basil, in 1601; and then visited Italy, Spain, England, and even Greece and Asia. Soon after his return into Silesia, he went to Jena, and married a wife, by whom he had eight children. In 1610 he was appointed by the magistrates of Breslaw, to the direction of their college and schools; but a fit of sickness inclined him to resign that difficult employment, and he now applied himself entirely to the study of Arahic, and to the practice of physic. He succeeded greatly in his application to the Arabic, and was so zealous to promote the knowledge of it, that he employed all the money he could spare in printing Arabic books. For some reasons not stated by his biographers, he removed into Prussia, where he had an opportunity of entering into the family of chancellor Oxenstiern, whom he accompanied into Sweden; and in 1636 he was appointed professor of physic in the university of Upsal, and physician to the queen. His constitution, however, being much broken, he did not enjoy these advantages above four years, dying April 8, 1640. He was one of those few who joined piety to the practice of physic. It is observed in his epitaph, inscribed by Schroer to his memory, that he understood twenty-six languages.

He published several works, valuable to divines as well as to those of his own faculty: 1. “Grammatica Arabica,1608. 2. “Tria specimina characternm Arabicorum,” &c. fol. 3. “Decas sacra Canticorum & Carminum Arabicorum ex aliquot Mss. cum Latina ad verbum interpretatione,” 1609, 8vo. 4. “Vitae quatuor evangelistarum ex antiquissimo codice ms. Arabico erutae,” 1609, folio. 5. “Liber secundus canonis Avicennae, typis Arabiois ex Mss. editus, & ad verbum in Latinum translatus, notisque textum concernentibus illustratus,” 1610, fol. 6. “Liber de vero usu & abusu medicinae,1610, 8vo. 7. a Notoa in evangelium S. Matthcei ex collatione textuuni Arabicorum, Syriacorum, jEgyptiacorum, Gnecorum, et Latino^ rum,“1611, fol. 8.” Epistola S. Judge ex ms. Heidelr bergensi Arabico ad verbum translata,“&c. 1611, fol. and | a” Latin Oration," delivered when he was installed rector of the college at Breslaw, in 1610. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri. Hallcr Bibl. Mcd.