University of Altdorf

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The University of Altdorf in 1714 Universitat Altdorf (1714).jpg
The University of Altdorf in 1714

The University of Altdorf (German : Universität Altdorf) was a university in Altdorf bei Nürnberg, a small town outside the Free Imperial City of Nuremberg. It was founded in 1578 [1] and received university privileges in 1622 and was closed in 1809 by Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

University academic institution for further education

A university is an institution of higher education and research which awards academic degrees in various academic disciplines. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education.

Altdorf bei Nürnberg Place in Bavaria, Germany

Altdorf bei Nürnberg is a town in south-eastern Germany. It is situated 25 km east of Nuremberg, in the district Nürnberger Land. Its name literally means “Altdorf near Nuremberg”, to distinguish it from other Altdorfs.



In the period 1614–1617 Altdorf was briefly the centre of Socinianism in Germany. Encouraged by the connections of German Antitrinitarians to the Racovian Academy in Poland, German and Polish Socinians attempted to establish in Altdorf a similar Academy. [2] Among the notable Socinian students was the 26-year-old Samuel Przypkowski. He was admitted as student on March 22, 1614, three weeks after Thomas Seget, but was expelled from Altdorf in 1616 [3] "Crypto-Socinianism" was widely suspected among the student body. In January 1617 the syndicus Jacob Weigel brought two students Joachim Peuschel and Johann Vogel back to Altdorf and the college made them give a public recantation. This recantation was answered by Valentin Schmalz, one the German professors of the Academy in Poland.

Socinianism Christian doctrines taught by Lelio and Fausto Sozzini

Socinianism is a system of Christian doctrine named for Fausto Sozzini, which was developed among the Polish Brethren in the Minor Reformed Church of Poland during the 16th and 17th centuries and embraced by the Unitarian Church of Transylvania during the same period. It is most famous for its nontrinitarian Christology but contains a number of other unorthodox beliefs as well.

Racovian Academy

The Racovian Academy was a Socinian school operated from 1602 to 1638 by the Polish Brethren in Raków, Sandomierz Voivodeship of Lesser Poland. The communitarian Arian settlement of Raków was founded in 1569 by Jan Sienieński. The academy was founded in 1602 by his son, Jakub Sienieński. The zenith of the academy was 1616–1630. It was contemporaneous with the Calvinist Pińczów Academy, which was known "as the Sarmatian Athens". It numbered more than 1,000 students, including many foreigners. At this point it is estimated that ten to twenty percent of Polish intellectuals were Arians.

Samuel Przypkowski Polish theologian

Samuel Przypkowski was a Polish Socinian theologian, a leading figure in the Polish Brethren and an advocate of religious toleration. In Dissertatio de pace et concordia ecclesiae, published in 1628 in Amsterdam, he called for mutual tolerance by Christians. He was also a poet in Latin and Polish.

Notable instructors include Hugues Doneau, Scipione Gentili, and Daniel Schwenter.

Hugues Doneau French lawyer

Hugues Doneau, commonly referred also by the Latin form Hugo Donellus, was a French law professor and one of the leading representatives of French legal humanism.

Scipione Gentili Italian legal scholar

Scipione Gentili was an Italian law professor and a legal writer. One of his six brothers was Alberico Gentili, one of the fathers of international law.

Daniel Schwenter German mathematician

Daniel Schwenter (Schwender) was a German Orientalist, mathematician, inventor, poet, and librarian.

Notable students include later imperial field marshals Albrecht von Wallenstein (1583–1634) and Gottfried Heinrich zu Pappenheim (1594–1632); Generalfeldwachtmeister Hans Ulrich von Schaffgotsch (1595–1635); [4] the polymath Johann Schreck (1576–1630); the composers Wolfgang Carl Briegel (1626–1712) and Johann Pachelbel (1653–1706); and the theologian David Caspari (1648–1702).

Albrecht von Wallenstein Czech marshal, duke and nobleman

Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, also von Waldstein, was a Bohemian military leader and nobleman who gained prominence during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), in the Catholic side. His outstanding martial career made him one of the most influential men in the Holy Roman Empire by the time of his death. Wallenstein became the supreme commander of the armies of the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand II and was a major figure of the Thirty Years' War.

Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim Austrian field marshal

Gottfried Heinrich Graf zu Pappenheim was a field marshal of the Holy Roman Empire in the Thirty Years' War.

Generalfeldwachtmeister is a historical military rank of general officer level in the armies of the German and Scandinavian countries, corresponding to the rank of maréchal de camp in France.

The polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716), perhaps most famous for co-discovering calculus, received his Ph.D. from the University of Altdorf for his habilitation thesis in philosophy, On the Art of Combinations . However, he only submitted this thesis to Altdorf after the University of Leipzig did not guarantee him a position teaching law upon graduation.

Polymath person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas

A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of subject areas, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz German mathematician and philosopher

Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz was a prominent German polymath and philosopher in the history of mathematics and the history of philosophy. His most notable accomplishment was conceiving the ideas of differential and integral calculus, independently of Isaac Newton's contemporaneous developments. Mathematical works have always favored Leibniz's notation as the conventional expression of calculus, while Newton's notation became unused. It was only in the 20th century that Leibniz's law of continuity and transcendental law of homogeneity found mathematical implementation. He became one of the most prolific inventors in the field of mechanical calculators. While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal's calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685 and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. He also refined the binary number system, which is the foundation of all digital computers.

Calculus is the mathematical study of continuous change, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the study of generalizations of arithmetic operations.

See also

The University building in the year of 2014 (Altenheim) Altdorf Uni.jpg
The University building in the year of 2014 (Altenheim)


  1. Moran, Bruce. The Universe of Philip Melanchthon: Criticism and Use of the Copernican Theory, 1973, p. 1.
  2. "Kryptosozinianismus und Altdorf" in Siegfried Wollgast, Philosophie in Deutschland zwischen Reformation und Aufklärung, 1550-1650, 1993, p. 378 et seq.
  3. The Polish Review, Volume 11, 1966, p. 33.
  4. Krebs 1885, pp. 541–542.

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<i>Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie</i> biographical reference work

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