Meibomius, Marcus

, a very learned man, of the same family as the preceding, was born in 1611. He devoted himself to literature and criticism, but particularly to the learning of the ancients; as their music, the structure of their galleys, &c. In 1652 he published a collection of seven Greek authors, who had written upon ancient music, to which he added a Latin version by himself. It was entitled “Antiques Musicae auctores septem Greece et Latine, Marcus Meibomius restituit ac Nods explicavit.” Amst. The first volume contains: I. Aristoxeni Harmonicorum Elementorum, libri iii. II. Euclidis Introductio Harmonica. III. Nichomachi Geraseni, Pythagorici, Harmon. Manuale. IV. Alypii Introductio Musica. V. Gaudentii Philosophi Introductio Harmonica. VI. Bacchii Senioris Introductio Artis Musicae. The second volume: Aristidis Quintiliani de Musica, libri iii. Martiani Capellse de Musica, liber ix. This, says Dr. Burney, is the most solid and celebrated of his critical works, in which all subsequent writers on the subject of ancient music place implicit faith. It is from these commentaries on the Greek writers in music, particularly Alypius, that we are able to fancy we can decipher the musical characters used by the ancient Greeks in their notation; which, before his time, had been so altered, corrupted, disfigured, and confounded, by the ignorance or negligence of the transcribers of ancient Mss., that they were rendered wholly unintelligible.

Meibomius, after this learned and elegant publication, was invited to the court of the queen of Sweden, to whom be had dedicated it; but this visit was not followed by the most pleasing consequences. Having by his enthusiastic account of the music of the ancients, impressed this princess with similar ideas, the younger Bourdelot, a physician, and his rival (as a classical scholar) in the queen’s favour, instigated her majesty to desire him to sing an ancient Grecian air, while Naudet, an old Frenchman, danced a la Grec to the sound or his voice. But the performance, instead of exciting admiration, produced loud bursts of laughter from all present; which so enraged Meibomius, that seeing the buffoon Bourdelot in the gallery among the scoffers, and having no doubt but that it was he who, with a malicious design, had persuaded her majesty to desire this performance, immediately flew thither, and exercised the pugilist’s art on his face so violently, without | being restrained by the presence of the qneen, that he thought it necessary to quit the Swedish dominions before he could be called to an account for his rashness; and immediately went to Copenhagen, where being well received, he fixed his residence there, and became a professor at Sora, a Danish college for the instruction of the young nobility. Here too he was honoured with the title of aulic counsellor, and soon after was called to Elsineur, and advanced to the dignity of Architesorie, or president of the board of maritime taxes or customs; but, neglecting the duty of his office, he was dismissed, and upon that disgrace quitted Denmark'. Soon after, he settled at Amsterdam, and became professor of history in the college of that city; but refusing to give instructions to the son of a burgomaster, alleging that he was not accustomed to instruct boys in the elements of knowledge, but to finish students arrived at maturity in their studies, he was dismissed from that station. After quitting Amsterdam, he visited France and England; then returning to Holland, he led a studious and private life at Amsterdam till 1710 or 1711, when he died at near 100 years of age.

Meibomius pretended that the Hebrew copy of the Bible was full of errors, and undertook to correct them by means of a metre, which he fancied he had discovered in those ancient writings; but this drew upon him no small raillery from the learned. Nevertheless, besides the work above mentioned, he produced several others, which shewed him to be a good scholar; particularly his “Diogenes Laertius,” Amst. 1692, 2 vols. 4to, by far the most critical and perfect edition of that writer; his “Liber de Fabrica Triremium,1671, in which he thinks he discovered the method in which the ancients disposed their banes of oars his edition of the ancient Greek Mythologists and his dialogues on Proportions, a curious work, in which the interlocutors, or persons represented as speaking, are Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius, Pappus, Eutocius, Theo, and Hermotimus. This last work was opposed by Langius, and by Dr. Wallis in a considerable tract, printed in the first volume of his works. 1


Moreri. Burney’s Hist, of Music, and in the Cyclopædia. —Hutton’s Dict.Saxii Onomasticon.