Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Juan Caramuel Lobkowitz
Mathesis nova , 1670

Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (born May 23, 1606 in Madrid , † September 8, 1682 in Vigevano ) was a Spanish Catholic clergyman, philosopher , theologian , astronomer and mathematician with Bohemian ancestors.


He was a gifted child, dealt with difficult mathematical problems at an early age and published astronomical tables at the age of ten.

After a superficial college education, which he quickly completed thanks to his skills, he turned to the study of Asian languages, especially Chinese . He was inducted into the Cistercian order at the monastery of La Espina ( Diocese of Palencia ) and began an extraordinarily varied and brilliant career after his ordination . While he was a member of the monastery of Dunes in Flanders , his sermons gave him the favor of Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand , governor of the Netherlands . In 1638 the University of Leuven awarded him a doctorate in theology.

1644 King of Spain appointed him Philip IV. The abbot of Disibodenberg ( Archdiocese of Mainz ) and later (after Caramuel the Palatinate had to leave) as his envoy to the court of the German Emperor Ferdinand III. Caramuel was successively Abbot of Melrose (Scotland), Superior of the Black Spaniard Benedictines of Montserrat in Vienna and Vicar of the Archbishop of Prague . When the Swedes attacked Prague in 1648, he armed and led a militia of clergymen who were serving the defense of the city. For his bravery on this occasion, the emperor awarded him a gold collar.

He later became Archbishop of Otranto , and on his death he was Bishop of Vigevano.


Caramuel published - according to the count of Jean-Noël Paquot (1722–1803) - no fewer than 262 books on grammar, poetry, rhetoric , mathematics, astronomy, physics, politics, canon law , logic, metaphysics and theology. However, hardly any of it retained lasting significance. He loved to defend novel theories. In his Theologia moralis ad prima atque clarissima principia reducta ("The theology of morality traced back to the first and clearest foundations", Leuven 1643) he tried to solve theological problems with mathematical methods. Because of some of his moral views, Alfonso Maria de Liguori called him the "Prince of the Laxists ".

In his book Mathesis biceps vetus et nova (two-headed mathematics - old and new) from 1670, the first publication (before Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 1705) of the dual system (and of position systems to other bases) can be found in Europe. It also deals with probabilistic problems with applications to dice games and the lottery.


  • Felix Stieve:  Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Joh. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1876, pp. 778-781.
  • Jacob Schmutz: Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz (1606-1682) , in: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon 1 (2000), pp. 224-232.
  • Yanez Neira, Masolivier, Romereo, de Pascual: Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz. In: Cistercium 262 (2014), pp. 248–266.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jacob Schmutz:  Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Juan. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 17, Bautz, Herzberg 2000, ISBN 3-88309-080-8 , Sp. 224-232.
  2. ^ Cölestin Rapf: Wien, Schwarzspanier, in: Germania Benedictina III-3, St. Ottilian 2002, ISBN 3-8306-7091-5 , p. 819.
  3. Ineichen Leibniz, Caramuel, Harriot and the dual system , Mitteilungen DMV 2008, Ineichen, International Journal for the History and Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology and Medicine, Vol. 7, 1999, p. 21