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Boodt, Anselmus Boetius de

1. Dates
Born: Bruges, c. 1550
Died: Bruges, 21 June 1632
Dateinfo: Birth Uncertain
Lifespan: 82
2. Father
Occupation: Aristocrat
Anselme (conceivably Willem) Boodts was from a noble Roman Catholic family.
Every detail of Boodt's life indicates family wealth.
3. Nationality
Birth: Belgium
Career: Belgium, Czechoslovakia
Death: Belgium
4. Education
Schooling: Louvain; Heidelberg; Padua, M.D.
He probably took his first university degree in civil and canon law at Louvain. I treat this as equivalent to a B.A. After this he studied medicine under Thomas Erastus at Heidelberg and obtained his M.D. in Padua.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mineralogy, Alchemy
In his chief work, Gemmarum et lapidum historia, Boodt made the first attempt at a systematic description of minerals.He enumerated about 600 minerals that he knew from personal observation, and described their properties, imitations, and medical applications.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means, Patronage, City Magistrate
Secondary: Church Life
Until he was about thirty-five, Boodt travelled through Europe without working; personal wealth (from his family) had to have supported him.
About as soon as he set foot in Bruges after his student days (c. 1580), he was named Raad pensionaris of the city. Heller says that he was active in the financial administration of Bruges.
From 1583 Boodt lived Bohemia as physician to Wilhelm Rosenberg, the burgrave of Prague.
In 1584 he was appointed canon of St. Donat's Church in Bruges, he held the position until 1595 without leaving Prague. Rudolf's patronage helped him to remain in Prague engaged in learned activity. I assume that Rudolf was involved in this appointment to a plum.
In 1584 he was nominated physician in ordinary to Rudolf II (with a considerable salary) and retained this position until 1612.
In 1612 Boodt returned to Bruges, where He spent the rest of his life as a town councillor.
I find no evidence that he ever seriously practiced as a physician. Rudolf clearly saw him as one of his alchemists; Rudolf's patronage, not any medical practice, was the significant element in his support. Heller says that Boodt was in charge of Rudolf's collection of gems; however he too, along with the other sources, discusses Boodt as an alchemist.
8. Patronage
Types: Aristocracy, Court
Primarily Rudolf II but also Rosenburg. See above.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Friendship with Thadeus Hayek, a well-known Bohemian naturalist and historian.
  1. Nieuw nederlandsch biografisch woodenboek, 6, 151-2.
  2. G. Dewalque, Biographie nationale de Belgique, IV, 814-816.
  3. F.M. Jaeger, "Anselmus Btius de Boodt," in Historische Studien.
  4. Bijdragen tot de kennis van de geschiedenis der wetenschappen in Nederlanden (in 16th and 17th centuries), (Groningen, 1919), 99-149. O.Delepierre, Biographie des hommes remarquables de la Flandre occidentale, 1, (Bruges, 1843-4), pp.31-35.
  5. J.E. Heller, "Anselmus Boetius de Boodt als Wissenschafter und Naturphilosoph," Archeion, 15 (1933), 348-68.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. "Testament olographe d'Anselmus Boetius de Boodt, conseiller- pensioonaire de Bruges, 1630" in Annales de la societe d'emulation, 2nd ser., 11 (1861), pp.370-383 A.J.J. Van de Velde, "Rede af Boodt," Koninklijke Vlamische Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schoone Kunsten van Belgi. Klasse der Wetenschappen. Verslagen en Mededeelingen, (Brussels, Nov. 1932), 1505-7.
  2. J.E. Heller, an article on Boodt, Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Medizin, 8 (1942), 1-125.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

1995 Al Van Helden
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