Lorenz Beger

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Beger on an engraving by Johann Ulrich Krauss from 1685
Coin and Antique Cabinet in the Berlin City Palace (Lorenz Beger, Thesaurus Brandenburgicus 1696)

Lorenz Beger , pseudonym Daphnaeus Arcuarius (born April 19, 1653 in Heidelberg ; † February 20, 1705 in Berlin ) was a lawyer , archivist and numismatist .


Lorenz Beger, the son of a councilor and former tanner, first studied theology at the University of Heidelberg from 1669, then law and graduated in 1675 with a legal licentiate. Shortly afterwards he was hired by the Count Palatine Karl I. Ludwig in Heidelberg as court librarian. There he was soon promoted to administrator of the gem and coin cabinet. But there he was also entrusted with very delicate tasks. Under the pseudonym Daphnaeus Arcuarius , on behalf of the Count Palatine, he wrote a pamphlet for the defense of polygamy under the title Kurtze / But impartial and conscientious consideration of the Holy Marriage established in natural and divine law: In which the questions of adultery that have been disputed since Divorce / And especially of the many women taking / With all the evidence given on both sides / To be presented to the Christian reader in order to defend his morganatic marriage to Marie Luise von Degenfeld , a former chambermaid of the Countess Palatine. After the death of the Count Palatine, there were brief tensions with the new Elector Karl II , who wanted to force him to revoke his book.

Beger also emerged as a librettist at the Heidelberg court; his authorship could be proven in the plays Heyrath Zwischen Cupido und Psyche (performed on January 20, 1682) and Die Uber alle Virtuende Triumphirende Virtue Der Constant (February 1684).

Beger laid down his work as a librarian in the catalog Thesaurus ex Thesauro Palatino selectus , published in 1685 , in which the gems, coins and other antiquities of the Electoral Palatinate collection were listed. After the death of the elector in the same year and the associated extinction of the Protestant line Pfalz-Simmern, Beger moved in 1686 as an art treasurer to the court of the Brandenburg elector Friedrich III., Later King Friedrich I in Berlin, where he relied on his Classical studies could concentrate. During his tenure, he bought antique sculptures from the Roman Bellori collection, which arrived in Berlin in 1698, and other collections (Johannes Gebhard Rabener, councilor; Paul Werner, painter; Raimund Faltz , medalist). The repositioning of the Kunstkammer in the Berlin Palace in 1703 was significantly influenced by Beger to the effect that in parts an approach to historical systematization was undertaken. His successor as the antiquarian of the collection was his nephew Johann Carl Schott .


In addition to his direct services to the Heidelberg and Berlin collections of antiquities, Beger is particularly known for his numismatic and philological writings. He succeeded his Heidelberg teacher Ezechiel Spanheim , one of the most important numismatists of the 17th century . Beger's special achievement is the explanation and differentiation of mythological motifs in ancient art as well as the compilation of the art monuments from various legends, including the characters Meleager (1696), Alcestis (1703), Odysseus (1703) and Heracles (1705). His annotated edition of the Florus , which he prepared on behalf of the elector, was printed unfinished in 1704. The monumental Thesaurus Brandenburgicus selectus (1696–1701), which lists a large selection of ancient Berlin art monuments, is considered to be his main work and, along with his Thesaurus ex Thesauro Palatino selectus, is the first catalog of a German princely collection of antiquities.

Fonts (selection)

Illustration from the review in De nummis Cretensium serpentiferis disquisitio antiquaria ( Acta eruditorum , 1703)
  • Kurtze, but impartial and conscientious consideration of Deß In the natural and divine law ... , 1679
  • Bellum et excidium trojanum , 1679
  • Thesaurus ex Thesauro Palatino Selectus , 1685 ( Digitalisat the University of Heidelberg )
  • Observationes Et Coniecturae In Numismata Quaedam Antiqua , 1691
  • Spicilegium antiquitatis , 1692
  • Thesaurus Brandenburgicus selectus, sive gemmarum et numismatum Graecorum, in cimeliarchio electorali Brandenburgico elegantiorum series, commentario illustratae, ... Continuatio sive numismatum Romanorum ... series selecta, ... volume tertium continens antiquorum numisnatum et gemmarum, ... rariora , 3 volumes, Coloniae Marchicae 1696-1701 ( Digitalisat the University of Heidelberg )
  • Meleagrides et Aetolia , 1699
  • De nummis Cretensium serpentiferis disquisitio antiquaria , 1702
  • Numismata pontificum romanorum , 1703
  • Numismata Modernorum , Berlin 1704
  • Regum et imperatorum romanorum Numismata , 1710


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