Matthias Dögen (1605-1672)

The celebrated printer from Amsterdam Louis Elzevier published Matthias Dögen's treatise on military architecture in Latin in 1647

the year of the death of the stadtholder Frederick-Henry of Nassau, prince of Orange (1584-1647), who had encouraged its publication. Matthias Dögen (1605/06-1672) was a native of a city in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, today Drawsko, in the province of Polish Pomerania. We have little information about his social milieu, but we know that he took courses at the famous school at Leiden, the Duytsche Mathematique founded in 1600 by Maurice of Nassau, organized by the great Flemish mathematician and engineer Simon Stevin, with the goal of training mathematicians, military engineers and land geographers.

Did he also attend classes at the fortification and hydraulics school at Franeker? He does not mention it, but he rapidly entered the service of the United Provinces and occupied a quarter-master post in the admiralty. This duty allowed him to draw nearer to the stadtholder Frederick-Henry of Nassau. Nevertheless Dögen remained faithful to his "natural sovereign", the elector of Brandenburg George William I Hohenzollern (1595-1640) who employed him as a diplomatic agent and to whom Dögen sent information on the events taking place in Amsterdam every week.

In 1640 Dögen renewed his fidelity to his son and successor, Frederick-William (1620-1688) who reinforced his links with the United Provinces when he married Louise of Orange-Nassau, the daughter of Frederick Henry of Nassau in 1646. When the Elector went to The Hague on a diplomatic mission in 1648, Matthias Dögen dedicated to him and delivered the part of his work written in Latin, the part devoted to the attack and defense of strongholds. A copy is conserved today at the Staatsbibliothek of Berlin.

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Author: Michèle Virol (Centre Roland Mousnier-Paris Sorbonne) – 2010

Article Source: architectura.cesr.univ-tours.fr

Image: Plate A from Matthias Dögen, Matthiae Dögen Dramburgensis marchici Architectura militaris moderna, Amsterdam, Ludovic Elzevir, 1647 (first edition). CAGE UG400.D6 (PO16813)

Michèle Virol (Centre Roland Mousnier-Paris Sorbonne) – 2010

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