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Marci of Kronland, Joh. M. [Marcus Marci]

1. Dates
Born: Landskroun, Bohemia, 13 June 1595
Died: Prague, 10 Apr. 1667
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 72
2. Father
Occupation: Estate Administrator
His father was a secretary to an aristocrat. At one point I listed this as "scribe." He was the administrator of the estate, however, so that "miscellaneous" seems better.
3. Nationality
Birth: Bohemian
Career: Bohemian
Death: Bohemian
4. Education
Schooling: Prague (Charles), M.D.
He received his early education at the Jesuit college in Jindrichuv Hradec, then studied philosophy and theology in Olomouc and, from 1618 on, medicine in the Prague Faculty of Medicine. He received his M.D. in 1625. Although Marci had started Jesuit training, he left after completing his novitiate and without going through the full intellectual formation (which included a doctorate in theology) of a Jesuit.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
He wished to become a priest and a Jesuit, and took a staunchly Catholic position during the forced civil re- Catholicization of Bohemia and Moravia (1625-1626). But he represented the anti-Jesuit party in the affairs of Prague University. To gain support at the Vatican for his party's purpose, which was to prevent the Jesuits from gaining control of the medical and legal faculties, he took a diplomatic trip to Italy in 1639. He retained his academical position even after the university merged with the Jesuit institution to become Charles-Ferdinand University. He became rector of the university in 1662. According to Jesuit sources he was admitted to the Society shortly before his death.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine, Mechanics, Optics
Subordinate: Mathematics
His most important work was accomplished in medicine and physics. The De proportione motus (1639) contained his theory of the collision of bodies and gave an account of the experiments whereby he reached it. He also carried out research in optics, setting down most of his results in Thaumantias liber de arcu coelesti (1648). Also Disssertatio de natura iridis (1650).
His medical works involved philosophical as well as theological problems. He was a follower of the school of Paracelsus. He renewed the idea that an organic body develops from a semen. The powers of a creative spirit are put into individuals by God in the process of creating the world. Every individual can renew himself. In all, a Platonic-Stoic conception of nature close to van Helmont and Leibniz. He devoted particular attention to questions of what would now be termed neurology, physiology and psychophysiology, in treatises that have not yet been fully evaluated. He also tried to adopt a purely medical approach to disease and to analyze critically both previous descriptions of epileptic fits and existing theories of their origin.
1636, Idearum operaticum idea.
1662, Philosophia vetus restituta.
1683, Othosophia seu philosophia impulsus universalis.
1650, De longitudine seu differentia inter duos meridianos.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Academia, Medicine, Patronage
Professor of medicine at Prague University, 1620-1660. I am assuming that like virtually every other professor of medicine he also practiced.
Rector of Charles-Ferdinand University, 1662-1667.
1658, personal physician to Emperor Ferdinand III and later to Leopold I.
8. Patronage
Type: Court Official
He was physician to the court. See above.
He took the active part in defending the city against the Swedes, and was knighted for merit in 1654.
He had friendships with well known figures such as Bohuslav Balbin (a prominent Czech intellectual) whom he cured of a dangerous disease, Caramuel y Lobkovitz, and the historian Stransky, but there is no indication of anything called patronage in these relations.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
I would like to know more about that treatise on longitude, which sounds like cartography.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Friendship and correspondence with Paul Guldin and Athansius Kircher.
  1. Dagmar Ledrerova, "Bibliographie de Johannes Marcus Marci", Acta historiae rerum naturalium necnon technicarum, special issue 3 (1967), pp.39-50.
  2. Ottuv slovnik naucny, (Prague, 1900), 16, 826-7.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. "Bibliografie Jana Marks Marci", Zpravy Cs. spolecnosti pro dejiny ved a techniky, nos.9-10 (1968), pp.107-19.
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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