The World of Worm: Physician, Professor, Antiquarian, and Collector, 1588-1654  book cover
1st Edition

The World of Worm: Physician, Professor, Antiquarian, and Collector, 1588-1654

ISBN 9781032270104
Published June 21, 2022 by Routledge
286 Pages 1 Color & 30 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This monograph offers the first comprehensive treatment of the multi-faceted scholarly interests of Ole Worm, professor of medicine at the University of Copenhagen. Scholarship about Worm has focused mainly on Worm’s collecting and the creation of his cabinet of curiosity, the Museum Wormianum, resulting in Worm’s rationale for his research being largely overlooked. Worm shared his many interests with a number of other physicians of the age, but in terms of breadth, few matched the variety of his concerns. For a man who considered himself first and foremost a physician and anatomist, his interests in Paracelsianism and collecting can at times be baffling, while his interests in antiquarianism, runes, and chronology strike the modern reader as at odds with his medical and natural philosophical interests. It is important to comprehend that Worm’s multi-faceted interests in the created world were underpinned by his Lutheran, Melanchthonian natural philosophy, and this served to unify all Worm’s scholarly undertakings, inquiries, and experiments in the single aim of reaching a better understanding of God’s creation, the Book of Nature.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Physician

    1. Physician to the nobility
    2. Forensic medicine
    3. Patients from Iceland and the Faroe Islands
    4. The interactions of Worm with other physicians
    5. The friendship with Henrik Køster and the treatment of the Elected-Prince
    6. Physician to King Christian IV
    7. Ole Worm’s health
    8. Epidemics
    9. Conclusion

Chapter 2: The Professor

    1. Early university career
    2. The Rosicrucians
    3. The Centenary of the Reformation
    4. Worm’s university career takes shape
    5. Professor of Medicine
    6. The Scholar
    7. The Teacher
    8. Conclusion

Chapter 3: The Antiquarian

    1. Runes and ancient monuments
    2. First works on runes
    3. International recognition and friendship with Sir Henry Spelman
    4. Runir and Monumenta Danica
    5. The Gold Horn
    6. The publication of De Aureo Cornu and the fall out with Henrik Ernst
    7. The significance of De Aureo Cornu for Ole Worm’s international reputation
    8. Conclusion

Chapter 4: The Collector

    1. Botanist and gardener
    2. From collector to creator of a cabinet of curiosity
    3. The friendship with Johannes de Laet
    4. The cabinet of curiosity takes shape
    5. The importance of the Fuiren and Bartholin nephews
    6. The influence of Athanasius Kircher and Cassiano dal Pozzo
    7. The influence of Isaac la Peyrére and other Frech intellectuals
    8. The importance of donors and objects from Iceland and Faroe Iles
    9. Other donors
    10. The cabinet of curiosity
    11. Inspirations for Worm’s museum history
    12. The museum history
    13. The publication of Museum Wormianum
    14. Conclusion

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Ole Peter Grell is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the Open University, UK.