Michael Maier [1568-1622]
Doctor of Philosophy and of Medicine,
Alchemist, Rosicrucian, and Mystic.
by Alejandro Franz
Birth: Rensburg, Holstein, Germany
Death: Magdeburg, Germany
Occupation: Government Official
Michael was probably the son of Johann Maier,
an offical of the Duchy of Holstein.
The Neue deutsche Biographie, on the other hand, says his father was Petrus Meier
(d. < 1590), a gold embroiderer in the service of Heinrich Rantzaus, Danish governor
A relation of his mother's, Severin Goebel,
a well-known physician of Gdansk and
Koënigsberg, financed his studies.
No solid information on parents' financial
status, although the information about his
education seems to suggest that they were less than affluent.
Schooling: Rostock; Padua; Franfurtan Order, M.A.; Bologna; Basel, M.D.; PhD
He studied first either in Rensburg or Kiel.
1587, University of Rostock.
1589, he was in Nuremberg.
1589-1591, he was in Padua with Goebel's son.
(The Neue deutsche Biographie has him in Padua in 1595).
1592, University of Frankfurt a. d. Oder. He received an M.A.
1596, University of Bologna.
1596, University of Basel, where he received an M.D.
It is not known where he got his Ph.D.
Means of Support
Secondary: Schoolmastering, Patronage
It is presumed that his trip to Padua with
Goebel's son (1589-1591) was in the
capacity of tutor/companion.
1590, he started practicing surgery without
an academic degree
(which doesn't seem surprising to me).
Sometime between 1592-1596, he worked at Koenigsberg
under the supervision
of Severin Goebel.
It seems that before 1600 he was a courtier
of Rudolf II and a writer in the
1601, he entered his name on the roles of the
University of Koenigsberg as
Dr Phil. and Dr. Med., probably hoping for professional status, but he did not get it.
1601, he started a medical practice in the
White Lion Inn, Gdansk, where he
dispensed his own cures.
Around 1608, he returned to Prague as a doctor.
in 1609, he entered the service
of the emperor.
According to the D.S.B.: 1611 and 1612-1614
were periods of extensive travel,
first around Saxony, then to England and Amsterdam.
According to the Neue deutsche Biographie in 1611-1614, he "entered himself" into
the court of James I, where he remained for nearly five years.
Around 1614, he became non-resident physician
and chemist for the Kassel court to
of Hesse, but he retained his private practice.
1618, he travelled to Stockhausen, where he
attended a wealthy nobleman named
von Eriedesel, but he left his household in Frankfurt.
1618-1622, he became physician to Duke Christian Wilhelm of Magdeburg.
Types: Physician, Court Official, Aristrocrat, Eccesiastic Official
Early in his life there was the physician Severin
Goebel (see above).
Though he was a relative, the relationship sounds like patronage.
Sometime before 1600 he was probably a courtier
to Emperor Rudolf II.
Around 1612, he became physician-in-ordinary to Rudolf, though this appears to
have been honorary because his name does not appear in court accounts.
His family coat of arms was augmented by Rudolf and he was named Hofpfalzgraf
(count Palantine) in 1609. A count Palantine was an imperial official who exercised
a sort of supervision over the universities and had the right to grant doctorates and the
title of poet laureate.
Landgrave Maurice of Hesse was a patron to
a certain extent.
Maier met him in 1611 while fishing for a job. He dedicated a book to Maurice,
whereupon he was appointed "Medicus und Chymicus von Haus aus," but even when
he was appointed, he did not belong to Maurice's inner circle of alchemical practioners.
The nobleman von Eriedesel presumably counts as a patron.
He was physician to Duke Christian Wilhelm,
Archbishop of Magdeburg and
primate of Germany.
Toward the end of his life, he attempted to
cultivate the Danish Prince Friedrich III
as a patron, but was not sucessful. He dedicated works to him.
Some evidence exists that supports the idea
that he was connected with the English
court while in England. There are copies of Arcana Arcanissima (ca. 1614) with
manuscript dedications to both Sir William Paddy, physician to James I,
and Sir Thomas Smith, first governor of the East India Company and treasurer
of the Virgina Company.
Type: Medical Practice
1.Ulrich Neumann, Neue deutsche Biographie,
2.J.B. Craven, Count Michael Maier
(Kirwall, Scotland, 1911;repr. London: Dawsons, 1969)
Communication, and Chemiatry:
3. The Hermetic-Alchemical Circle of Moritz of Hessen-Kassel.
4. Le Grand Secret des pyramides de Gizeh.1994 - Editions du Rocher