The Galileo Project
site map

Bromell [Bromelius], Magnus von

1. Dates
Born: Stockholm, Sweden, 26 Mar 1679
Died: Stockholm, Sweden, 26 Mar 1731
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 52.
2. Father
Occupation: Physician
A prominent physician.
I assume that all such were affluent. The family may well have been wealthy, for it was an old family. The father had a large botanical library and herbarium which Bromell inherited.
3. Nationality
Birth: Swedish
Career: Swedish
Death: Swedish
4. Education
Schooling: Leiden; Rheims, M.D.
Bromell attended the gymnasium in Gothenburg, and after the gymnasium he had private teachers.
In 1697, at the age of 17, he left for Leiden, when he stayed for three years. He studied surgery and anatomy under Bidloo, botany and therapy under Hotton. He went on botanical excursions with Hermannis and accompanied Dekker on hospital rounds. He attended Lemort's lectures on chemistry and pharmacy during a year. He also studied physics. He visited Leeuwenhoek to learn how to use the microscope. (Bromell is said to have been very eager to learn.) I assume a B.A. or equivalent.
Bromell left the Netherlands for London and Oxford, where he visited libraries and colleges. He returned to Leiden in September 1700 to attend Boerhaave's lectures. He disputed twice under Bidloo (first, "De phlyctenis" and two weeks later, "De non existensia spirituum").
In the fall of 1702 he went to Paris where he got more training in anatomy and surgery from Petit and Duverney and got a chance to practice dissection for himself.
He became friends with Tournefort who gave him free lectures. Bromell also received several rareties from Tournefort's herbarium.
He also studied anatomy under Littie and surgery under Mery.
After a year he went to Rheims where he received his doctorate in medicine in 1703.
After this he left France for Amsterdam where he attended the lectures of Fredrik Ruysch.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Paleontology, Botany
His Lithographiae suecanae specimen secundum, 1727, is a study of fossils in Sweden.
Olov Celsium asserted that after Rudbeck Bromell was Sweden's most celebrated botanist. (I trust this was said before the time of Linnaeus.)
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means, Government, Medicine
Secondary: Academia, Patronage, Schoolmastering
Bromell's father paid for his studies and travels around Europe, and later he inherited 16,000 rixdollars from his brother.
1704 Bromell returned to Stockholm, practiced medicine, and periodically gave lectures as a professor of anatomy. He was borough medical officer in Gothenburg when his father was too ill to work. In 1710 he became a pestphysician in Vasteras with great success. It is said that he cured many patients.
In 1705 he was already prominent enough in the medical community of Stockholm to be considered a leader of the Collegium medicum.
He became physician to the King and to the court in 1705.
He gave public demonstrations of anatomy, both human and animal, In my experience, such lectures were never gratis.
1713, he became a medical assistant at the University of Uppsala, where he also taught natural history and botany. He started dissecting again and studied humans as well as animals, birds, fish, and reptiles. In 1716 he was elected professor of medicine in Uppsala, but was soon called to Stockholm by the King, or to be more explicit ordered by the King, to be as professor of anatomy.
1720 named assessor of the chemical laboratory of the Board of Mines and in 1724 superintendent of the laboratory and president of the Lappis Mines.
In addition to his private practice he was physician to the court; Regnell mentions he was Archiater.
8. Patronage
Type: Court Official
In addition to the other items above, Bromell was ennobled in 1726.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Civil Engineering, Medical Practice
I am classifying mining as civil engineering). I am informed that mining drove the Swedish economy at that time and that service with the Board of Mines meant active involvement. Note that he published on paleontology.
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Medical College
Introduced to the Collegium Medicum in 1705, and elected head of it in 1724.
  1. G. Regnell, "On the Position of Palaeontology and Historical Geology in Sweden Before 1800," Arkiv for meralogi och geologi, 1, no. 1 (1950), 1 - 64. Bromell's science rather than his life.
  2. O. Hult, "Nagra anmarkningar om Olof och Magnus Bromelius," Svenska Linnesallskapts Arsskrift, (1926).
  3. Svensk Uppslagsbok.
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
Last updated
Home | Galileo | Biography | Chronology | Family | Portraits |
Science | Christianity | Library | About | Site Map | Search

Please note: We will not answer copyright requests.
See the copyright page for more information.