Longomontanus, Christian

, an eminent astronomer, was born at Longomontum, a town in Denmark, whence he took his name, in 1562. Vossius, by mistake, calls him Christopher. He was the son of Severinus, a poor labourer, and was obliged to divide his time between following the plow and attending to the lessons which the minister of the parish gave him, by which he profited so much as to acquire considerable knowledge, especially in the mathematics. At length, when he was fifteen, he stole from his family, and went to Wiburg, where there was a college, in which he spent eleven years, supporting himself by his talents: and on his removing thence to Copenhagen, the professors of this university soon conceived a high esteem for him, and recommended him to Tycho Brahe, who received him very kindly. He lived eight years with this eminent astronomer, and assisted him so much in his observations and calculations, that Tycho conceived a very particular affection for him, and having left his native country to settle in Germany, he was desirous of having the company of Longomontanus, who accordingly attended him. Afterwards being, in 1600, desirous of a professor’s chair in Denmark, Tycho generously consented to give up his assistant and friend, with the highest testimonies of his merit, and supplied him plentifully with money for his journey. On his return to Denmark, he deviated from his road, in order to view the places whence Copernicus had made his astronomical | observations; and passed so much time in this journey, that it was not till 1605 that he was nominated to the professorship of mathematics in the university of Copenhagen. In this situation he continued till his death, in 1647, when he was eighty-five years old. He married, and had children; but the whole of his family died before him. He was the author of several works, in mathematics and astronomy. His “Astronomia Danica,” first printed in 1611, 4to, and afterwards at Amsterdam, 1640, in folio, is the most distinguished. He amused himself with endeavouring to square the circle, and pretended that he had made the discovery of it; but our countryman Dr. John Pell attacked him warmly on the subject, and proved that he was mistaken. It is remarkable, that, obscure as his village and father might be, he dignified and perpetuated both; for he took his name from his village, and, in the title-page of his works, wrote himself “Christianus Longomontanus Severini films.1


Gen. Dict. —Hutton’s Dictionary. Martin’s Biog. Philosophica. —Moreri.