Velserus, Marcus

, a learned civilian, and celebrated writer of Germany, was descended of an ancient and wealthy family, and born at Augsburg, June 20, 1558. He was educated with great care; and, as he discovered a love for polite literature, was sent very young to Rome, where he was a pupil of Antony Muretus, in 1575. He joined to the study of antiquity that of the Italian tongue, and wrote it with great elegance. Upon his return to his own country he applied himself to the bar in 1589; obtained the dignity of a senator in 1592; was advanced to be a member of the little council in 1594; and was elected praetor in 1600. He discharged all these offices with great | reputation, and was the ornament of his country. He loved and patronized learning and learned men; and never any person had more friends in the republic of letters. He furnished assistance to several authors; and particularly contributed to the great collection of inscriptions published by Gruter. He gave the security of a thousand florins, in order to procure to Rittershusius a manuscript of the epistles of Isodorus Pelusiota, which was in the library of the duke of Bavaria, and could not be had without such security; and, what made this act of generosity the greater, he did it without Rittershusius’s knowledge. He was also the author of several works of reputation himself. His first essay, according to Melchior Adam, was a work which he published at Venice in 1594, thus entitled: “Reruin Augustanarum Vindelicarum Libri Octo, quibus a prima Rhaetorum ac Vindelicorum origine ad annum usque 552 a Nato Christo nobilissimae gentis Historia et Antiquitates traduntur; ac antiqua monumenta, tarn quae Augusta?, quam quae in agro Augustano, quia et quae alibi extant ad res Augustanas spectantia sere incisa et notis illustrata exhibentur.” In 1602 he published, at Augsburg, “Rerum Boicarum libri quinque, Historiam a gentis origine ad Carolum Magnum complexi,” containing the history of Bavaria from the year 600, when Sigoves led the Boii from Gaul to Germany, to the year 788, when Charlemagne dethroned the last Bavarian duke Tassilo II. and confined him in a cloister. Velser intended to continue this work, which is reckoned his best, and had already collected materials for it, and nearly composed two additional books, but was prevented by death from finishing his task; and the two books were a long time supposed to be lost. One of these, however, was discovered in 1778, by M. de Lippert, in the university library at Ingolstadt, and published at Augsburgh in that year. Velser published, at different times, the lives of several martyrs at Augsburg. His works were collected and reprinted at Nuremburg 1682, in folio, under the inspection and care of Arnoldus, professor there, who wrote “Prolegomena,” in which he informs us of many particulars concerning him. As Velserus held a great correspondence with the learned of Italy, and several other countries, many of his Latin and Italian letters were collected and inserted in this edition. He passed for the author of a celebrated piece called Squittinio della liberta Veneta," which was published in 1612. Gassendi having | observed that several ascribed this book to Peiresc, adds, that they were deceived; and that it was probably written bv the illustrious Yemenis, as he calls him. Velserus’s genius, liberality of mind, his fine taste, and his classical diction, enabled him to communicate his historical acquisitions to the public with success and applause. He died June 13, 1614, and left no issue by his marriage. He was one of those who never would suffer his picture to be drawn; yet it was done without his knowledge, as Gassendi informs us in hi> life of Peiresc. 1


Niceron, vol. XXIV. Gen. Dict. Blount’s Censura.-—Saxii Onomast.