Sagittarius, Caspar

Sagittarius, Caspar, historiographer of the duchy of Saxony, professor of history at the University of Jena, and, according to his biographer, J.A. Schmidt, one of the most excellent, erudite, and industrious men of his time, was born Sept. 23, 1643. His father, a pastor, taught him with care, and sent him, when fifteen, to the gymnasium at Lubeck. At this early age he published an essay, De Ritibus Veterum Romanorum Nuptialibus, and began his annotations on Justin. Here also he wrote an erudite history of the Passion of Jesus. After three years at the gymnasium, he entered the University of Helmstadt, and heard lectures on the whole field of human knowledge — exegesis, church history, metaphysics, logic, ethics, politics, physics, history, geography, and anatomy — thus laying a foundation for the character of polyhistor which he subsequently bore. He also preached and traveled in various parts of Germany, and formed relations with many learned men. He next prepared his work, De Calceis et Nudipedalibus Veterum. At the age of twenty-five he became rector of the school at Saalfeld (1668), where he not only distinguished himself as an educator, but also continued his literary productiveness. In 1671 he was called to a professorship at Jena. After writing various philological treatises and theological disputations — one of them De Martyrum Cruciatibus in Primitiva Ecclesia — he succeeded (1674) to the chair of J.A. Bose as professor of history. The next year he published a very learned work on the history and customs of Thuringia. In 1676 he visited the libraries of Germany and Copenhagen; in 1678 he issued his Compendium Historioe Saxonicoe, and was made a doctor of theology; in the following years he appeared as a polemic, defending Lutheranism against the Jesuit Schonmann. Thereupon followed various works on Pietism, which he boldly defended, and for which he was bitterly assailed by the staid orthodox party. Among the best of his works in this strife is his Christlicher Neujahrswunsch an alle evangelische Theologos, die die

Beforderung des thatigen Christenthums sich angelegen seyn lassen (Jena, 1692). Among his later writings were his Historia Vitae Georgii Spalatini (Jena, 1693), and an Introductio in Historiam Ecclesiasticam, which he did not live to finish. He died March 9, 1694. For a complete list of the works of Sagittarius, see Joan. Andr. Schmidii Commentarius de Vita et Scriptis Caspari Sagittarii (Jena, 1713). See Herzog, Real-Encykl. 13, 301-304. (J.P.L.)

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