• Date of Birth: April 12, 1500
  • Born City: Bamberg
  • Born State/Country: Germany
  • Date of Death: April 17, 1574
  • Death City: Leipzig
  • Death State/Country: Germany
  • Education:

    Study at Leipzig, 1513-18; M.A., Erfurt, 1521;

  • Professional Experience:

    Teacher, Wittenberg, 1521-6; head. Latin & Greek, Egidiengymnasium, Nuremberg; Prof. Greek, Tübingen, 1535-41; prof. Greek & Latin, Leipzig, 1641-74.

  • Publications:

    Theokritos (1532); Sophokles (with commentary); Quintilian (1534); Klaudiu Ptolemaiu tetrabiblos syntaxis (Nuremberg, 1535); Macrobius (1535)  Klaudiu Ptolemaiu Megálês syntáxêos biblia 13 (Basel, 1538); Galen (1538); Thucydides (1540); M. Accii Plauti Comoediae (Basel, 1552); Vita Philippi Melanchthonis (The Hague, 1555); Historia rei nummerariae (1556); Eclogae (Leipzig 1568); De Philippi Melanchthonis ortu, totius vitae curriculo et morte (Leipzig, 1566); Epistolarum familiarum libri VI (1583) and Epistolarum familiarum libri v posteriores (1595).

  • Notes:

    Camerarius was one of the leading classicists of the sixteenth century and certainly the leading German Hellenist of the period as well as an important early figure in the Reformation. Because members of his family had served as chamberlains to Bishops of Bamberg, his family, whose name had been Liebhard, were known by Kammenmeister or Camerarius (Chamberlain). He studied at Leipzig under English classicist Richard Croke (1489-1558) and the German humanist Petrus Mosellanus (1493-1524), then at Erfurt under the Lutheran humanist and Latin poet Helius Eobanus Hessus (1488-1540). When he moved to Wittenberg in 1521, he became a pupil and lifelong friend of the Protestant reformer Peter Melanchthon (1497-1560) and an acquaintance of Martin Luther. Melanchthon was instrumental in securing Camerarius his first teaching job and later his professorship at Leipzig. 

    Camerarius published over 150 works, and as is typical of a humanist of his time his range was broad. His reputation as a classicist rests primarily on two works: his editio princeps of Ptolemy’s Quadripartitum and the Almagest as part of his edition of the Tetrabiblos (1535, 2nd ed., 1553), in which he demonstrated his lifelong interest and deep knowledge of astrology,  and the first complete edition of Plautus, employing two medieval manuscripts that antedated the witnesses used by previous editors. Using Medieval manuscripts, primarily the so-called Codex vetus Camerarii, rather than more recent ones as his predecessors had done, he produced the first reliable colometry of Plautine verse and a restoration of a number of passages vexed by editorial intrusion. His work would not be surpassed until Friedrich Ritschl’s edition of 1848-54. His numerous editions of Greek authors, mainly valuable as teaching texts, heled introduce the study of Greek in Germany. He published commentaries and texts of Sophocles, the Greek elegists, Homer, and Xenophon, and a posthumous edition of Aristotle’s Ethics, Politics & Economics as well as Latin translations of Greek authors, including Theocritus, Lucian, Demosthenes, Herodotus, and others.  He wrote a catechism about the classics in Latin verse Praecepta honestatis atque decoris puerilis (1528) a Latin biography of Eobanus Hessus (1553), Melanchthon (1566), and Albrecht Dürer. With Melanchthon he helped write the Augsburg Confession in 1530 as a deputy for Nuremberg at the Confutatio Pontificia at Augsburg. In 1535 he was commissioned by Duke Ulrich of Württemberg to restructure the University of Tübingen. He was so successful that in 1541 he was commissioned to reorganize the University of Leipzig. In 1555. In 1555 he was also an arbiter in a dispute over Osiander at Nuremberg. Maximilian II celled him to Vienna to advise on Austrian church affairs.

  • Sources:


    F. Baron & M.H. Shaw, "The Publications of Joachim Camerarius," in Joachim Camerarius, (1500-1574) Beiträge zur Geschichte des Humanismus im Zeitalter der Reformation (1978) 231-51.

    Nicéron 19 (1732) 76-121; Horawitz, ADB 3 (1876) 720-4; Bursian, BG 185-90; E. Kroker, Gedenkblätter der Univ. Leipzig (1909) 45-57; Pökel, 39-40; Sandys, 1:266-7; R. Kössling, "Joachim Camerarius und die Studie humanitatis an der Leipziger Universität--Tradition und Neubeginn," in Die Musen im Reformationszeitalter, ed. W. Ludwig  (2001); 305-14; K. Sier, "Camerarius als Interpret Homers," in R. Kössling & G. Wartenberg, Joachim Camerarius (2003) 207-33; E. Sark, "Camerarius' Plautus," in Kössling-Wartenberg, 235-48; C.A. Staswick, Joachim Camerarius and the Republic of Letters in the Age of Reformation (1998)

  • Author: Ward Briggs