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Rauwolf, Leonhard

1. Dates
Born: Augsburg, 21 June 1535
Died: Waitzen, Hungary, 15 Sept. 1596
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 61
2. Father
Occupation: Merchant
His father was most probably of the merchant class in industrial Augsburg.
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany
Career: Augsburg, Germany and Middle East
Death: Waitzen (Vacz), Hungary--but in a German army
4. Education
Schooling: Wittenberg; Montpelier; Valence, M.D.
1556, matriculated at the University of Wittenberg. From the rest I assume a B.A. or equivalent.
1560, entered the medical school at Montpellier, where his chief advisor was Antoine Saporta. He was taught botany by Rondelet (1507-66).
1562, he transferred to the University of Valence, where he received an M.D. (1562/63)
5. Religion
Affiliation: Lutheran (Lutheran)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Botany
Subordinate: Geography
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Government, Merchant
By 1565, he had settled in Augsburg and set up a medical practice. In that year he married Regina Jung, daughter of the patrician, Doctor Ambrosius Jung, the Younger.
He later practiced medicine in Aich and Kempten.
1570, he returned to Augsburg and secured the post of city physician at a salary of 100 gulden.
1573, he left Augsburg for the Near East as physician to the Near East factors of the Melchior Manlich merchant firm, which hoped to profit from the discovery of new drugs. Rauwolf travelled to Tripoli (Syria), Aleppo (where he stayed nine months), Bir, and Baghdad. After hearing that the Manlich firm was bankrupt, he returned to Tripoli via Mosul, Nisibin (Nusaybin), Urfa, and Aleppo. He returned to Augsburg in 1576. I categorize this as Merchant.
In Augsburg, he resumed his medical practice and his post as city physician. He was associated with the plague hospital in 1577; his salary was increased from 190 to 250 gulden. Unfortunately, the leaders of Augsburg reverted to Catholicism in 1588, and Rauwolf, a leader of the Protestant opposition, left.
He served as city physician in Linz for 8 years.
Finally, he joined the imperial troops fighting the Turks in Hungary, where he died.
8. Patronage
Types: Merchant, Unknown
Rauwolf's patron in his trip to the Near East was his brother-in-law, Melchior Manlich, a very important merchant. He sent Rauwolf to the Near East as physician to the factors of the Manlich firm there with the expressed hope that Rauwolf, in studying the plants and drugs of the region, would discover a profitable import for the Manlich firm. Manlich paid Rauwolf's travel and living expenses and a suitable salary in addition. Rauwolf's brother was a factor for the Manlich firm in Tripoli, though he died before Rauwolf reached Syria.
Those municipal appointments cannot have happened without patronage, whatever the source.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Pharmacology, Medical Practice
Rauwolf's knowledge of botany was certainly meant to be exploited by the Manlich firm in their search for new pharmaceutical products.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Rauwolf met Conrad Gesner in Zürich in 1563. In 1564 Rauwolf was visited by Carolus Clusius (Charles de l'Ecluse.)
  1. Karl H. Dannenfeldt, Leonhard Rauwolf: Sixteenth-Century Physician, Botanist, and Traveler (Cambridge, Mass.: 1968).
  2. Friedrich Ratzel, Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, 27, 462-5.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. Franz Babinger, "Leonhard Rauwolf, ein Augsburger Botaniker und Ostenreisender des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts," Archiv für die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik, 4 (1913), 148-61.
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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