Lambecius, Peter

, a very learned writer, was born at Hamburgh April 13, 1628, the son of Heino Lambecius, who had married a sister of the celebrated Lucas Holstein. In his youth he afforded many proofs of diligence and genius, and after studying for some time at Hamburgh, was advised by his uncle Holstein, who also offered to defray his expences, to pursue his studies in other seminaries. With such encouragement he left Hamburgh in Dec. 1645, and went by sea to Amsterdam, where for eight months he studied the belles lettres, history, and geography, under G. J. Vossius, and Caspar Barlaeus, to whom he had special recommendations from his uncle, and under other eminent teachers. It was here, too, where he first imbibed principles favourable to the Roman catholic religion, and it has been very justly accounted a blot in his character that he concealed his opinions for so many years, g.nd held offices which he knew to he incompatible with them.

While at Amsterdam, by the advice of his uncle, he learned the art of drawing geographical charts. He also began to study jurisprudence, and after visiting Ley den, and other principal cities in the Netherlands, arrived at Paris in September 1646. Here he resided a year with cardinal Barberini, who showed him every kindness in consideration of his relationship to Holstein; and partly by his means, and Holstein’s letters of recommendation, Lambecius was admitted into considerable familiarity, notwithstanding his youth, with many of the most learned men of the time. Having obtained access to the libraries, he availed himself of this opportunity to examine some manuscripts of importance, and in consequence published his “Prodromus lucubrationum criticorum in Auli Gellii Noctes Atticas, una cum dissertatione de vita et nomine A. Gellii,Paris, 1647, 8vo. Gronovius reprinted this | in his edition of Gellius, 1706, 4to. Lambecius also collected materials, while at Paris, for an edition of the antiquities of Constantinople, which did not, however, appear until 1655, when it was printed at Paris, under the title “Syntagma originum et antiquitatum Constantinopolitarum,” &c. Gr. et Lat. fol.

In 1647 he went to Italy, still under the direction of Holstein, whom he met there, but who had much reason to be dissatisfied with his conduct towards him, which was not respectful. What other faults Lambecius may have been guilty of, are not clearly explained; one at least, we hope, was not true, that he disgusted his uncle by proposing to steal some manuscripts before he left Rome. After remaining nearly two years at Rome, Lambecius returned to France, and went to Toulouse, where he studied law for a year. He again went to Paris, resumed his acquaintance with his former literary friends, and consulted the libraries for materials to enrich a history of the city of Hamburgh, which he had undertaken; but at the request of his parents, he returned home in 1650. About a year after, he was appointed professor of history, and commenced his office in January 1652, with an oration on the connection of history with other sciences, “De historiarum cum caeteris sapientise et literarum studiis conjunctione.” He was uow only in his twenty-fourth year. During his professorship, he took the degree of doctor of laws in France. In 1659, he was elected rector of the college of Hamburgh, and entered on the office in Jan. 1660, with an oration on the origin of the college of Hamburgh. His departure, however, from Hamburgh was approaching; for which various reasons have been assigned. It appears from the evidence produced by Chaufepie, that his religious principles began to be suspected and that he was querulous and ambitious but what, in the opinion of some, precipitated his retreat, was his marriage to an old maid, rich, but avaricious, with whom he found it impossible to live, when he found it impossible to get possession of her fortune. Perhaps all these causes might determine him to leave Hamburgh, which he did in April 1662, and arrived at Vienna, where, being introduced by Miller, the Jesuit, to the emperor Leopold, he presented to his majesty, his “Prodromus Historiae Literariae,” which he printed in 1659, and dedicated to Leopold, and his history of Hamburgh. The emperor received him very graciously, | and presented him with a gold chain and medal. In May he left Vienna for Italy, and on his arrival at Venice, sent to the senate of Hamburgh, a formal resignation of his offices of rector and professor. From Venice he went to Rome, and made public profession of the Roman catholic religion. Here he was received into the house of his former patron cardinal Barberini, but was much chagrined to find that his uncle Holstein, who died in 1661, had made the cardinal his heir. In other respects he had no reason to be dissatisfied with his reception at Rome, being very kindly treated by Gudius, Leo AUatius, queen Christina of Sweden, the cardinals Azzolini and Chigi, and the pope himself. At Florence his reception was equally flattering on the part of Charles Dati, and Magliabecchi, who introduced him to Ferdinand II.

After these visits, he returned to Vienna Sept. 28, 1662, and, as it would appear, without any employment or resources. While sitting pensive at his inn, and ignorant which way to turn himself, he received a letter from Miller the Jesuit, mentioned above, and who was confessor to the emperor, requesting him to state in writing in what manner he wished to be employed under his majesty. Lambecius immediately returned for answer, that it had always been his greatest desire to serve the emperor and the august house of Austria, and that if his majesty would be so gracious as to admit him to court, he should endeavour to prove the sincerity of his zeal, by placing the imperial library in a better condition than it had ever been, by writing the history of Germany in general, and of the house of Austria in particular, and by continuing the history of literature, of which he had already dedicated a specimen to, his majesty. In consequence of these offers, the emperor appointed him his under-librarian and historiographer, and the same day (Nov. 27), the emperor spent three hours in shewing Lambecius his collection of medals, and made him a present of some of them. Three months afterwards, on the death of the head librarian, he was appointed to succeed him, and the emperor gave him also the title of counsellor, and bestowed, indeed, every mark of esteem upon him, conversing with him in the most familiar manner, and taking him as part of his suite in some of his travels. During the ten years that he lived at Vienna, he lodged with an advocate, who managed all his domestic concerns, and in return he made him his heir. | He died in the month of April 1680. Lambecius was unquestionably one of the most learned men of his time; but his character, in other respects, as may be collected from the preceding narrative, was not without considerable blemishes. With respect to the imperial library, he certainly performed what he undertook, and has laid the learned world under great obligations by his vast catalogue, published in 8 vols. folio, from 1665 to 1679, under the title of “Commentariorum de augustissima Bibliotheca Csesarea Vindobonensi, libri octo.” To thes must be added as a supplement, “Dan. de Nessel Breviarium et supplementum commentariorum Bibl. Caes. Vindobon.Vienna, 1690, 2 vols. folio. A second edition of this work was published at Vienna in 1766 82, in 8 vols. folio, “opera et studio Ad. Fr. Kollarii,” to which must be added “A. F. Kollarii ad Lambecii commentariorum libros octo, Supplementum liber primus posthumus,Vienna, 1790, folio. In 1712 Reimann published, at Hanover, an abridgment of this catalogue in one volume, 8vo, under the title “Bibliotheca acromatica.A new edition of Lambecius’s “Prodromus historic litterariae,” was published by Fabricius, at Leipsic, 1710, folio. 1


Cbaufepie. —Niceron, vol. XXX. Dibdin’s Bibliomania. —Saxii Onomast.