Reinesius, Thomas

, a learned and philosophic German, was born at Gotha, a city of Thuringia, in 1587. | He was a physician but applied himself to polite literature, in which he chiefly excelled. After practising physic in other places, he settled at Altenburg for several years, and was made a burgo-master. At last, having been raised to be counsellor to the elector of Saxony, he went to reside at Leipsic; where he also died in 1667. One of his letters relates many circumstances of his life, and shews him to have met with many vexations; though, as will appear afterwards, he was more than ordinarily upon his guard, that he might not be involved in the troubles of the world.

He wrote a piece or two upon subjects of his own profession; but the greatest part of his works relate to philology and criticism, among which are “Variarum Lectionum libri tres,” in 4to. Bayle says, he was one of those philologers who know more than their books can teach them; whose penetration enables them to draw many consequences, and suggests conjectures which lead them to the discovery of hidden treasures; who dart a light into the gloomy places of literature, and extend the limits of ancient knowledge. By his printed letters, it would appear that he was consulted as an oracle; that he answered very learnedly whatever questions were brought to him; and that he was extremely skilled in the families of ancient Rome, and in the study of inscriptions. A great eulogium is given of his merit, as well as of his learned and political works, by Graevius, in the dedication of the second edition of Casaubon’s epistles, dated Amsterdam, August 31, 1655, and by Haller and Saxius. He partook of the liberality which Lewis XIV. shewed to the most celebrated scholars of Europe, and received with the present a very obliging letter from Colbert; which favour he returned, by dedicating to him his “Observations on the Fragment of Petronius,” in 1666. The religion of Reinesius was suspected to be of the philosophical kind. 1


Gen. Dict.- —Niceron, vol. XXX. —Saxii Onomasticon.