german duke ludwig
SECKENDORF, VEIT LuDwi° vox (1626-1692), a German statesman and scholar of the 17th century, was the most distinguished member of an ancient and wide-spread German noble family, which took its name from the village Seckendorf between Nuremberg and Langen-zenn, and is said to have been ennobled by the emperor Otho I. in 950, though it traces its own genealogy no further back than 1262. The family was divided into eleven distinct lines, but at present only three are pre-served, widely distributed throughout Prussia, Wiirtem-berg, and Bavaria.' Veit Ludwig von Seckendorf, son of Joachim Ludwig, of the Gudentine line, was born at Herzogenaurach (near Erlangen) in -Upper Franconia, 20th December 1626. His youth fell in the midst of the Thirty Years' War, in which his father was actively engaged. But his talented and noble mother carefully watched over his education. In Coburg, Miihlhausen, and finally in Erfurt, whither his mother removed in 1636, he acquired the Latin, Greek, and French languages. In 1639 he returned to Coburg, and the reigning duke, Ernest the Pious, made him his protege. Entering the university of Strasburg in 1642, he devoted himself to history and jurisprudence. After he finished his university course his patron gave him an appointment in his court at Gotha, with the charge of his valuable Library. He there laid the foundation of his great collection of historical materials and mastered the principal modern languages. In 1652 he was appointed to important judicial positions and sent on weighty embassages. In 1656 he was made judge in the ducal court at Jena, a position which he held many years and in which he took the leading part in the numerous beneficent reforms of the duke. In 1664 he resigned office under Duke Ernest, who had just made him chancellor and with whom he continued on excellent terms, and entered the service of Duke Maurice of Zeitz (Altenburg), with the view of lightening his official duties. After the death of Maurice in 1681 he retired to his estate, Meusehvitz in Altenburg, from nearly all public offices, and devoted himself to his intellectual labours. Although living in retirement, he kept up a correspondence with the principal learned men of the day. He was especially interested in the endeavours of the pietist Spener to effect a practical reform of the German church, although he was hardly himself a pietist. In 1692 he was appointed chancellor of the new university of Halle, but died a few weeks afterwards, on the 18th of December.
Seckendorrs principal works were the following : - Deutscher Fiirstenstaat (1656 and often afterwards), a handbook of German public law; Der Cilbristenstaat (1685), partly an apology for Christianity and partly suggestions for the reformation of the church, founded on Pascal's Pens6es and embodying the fundamental ideas of Spener ; Commentarius historieus et apologeticus de Lutheranism° sive de Reformations (3 vols., Leipsic, 1692) occasioned by the Jesuit Maimbourg's Histoire du Lutheranisme (Paris, 1680), his most important work, and still indispensable to the historian of the Reformation as a rich storehouse of authentic materials.
See D. G. Schreber's Historia vile ac writer.= Viii Ludovici a Seckendorf (Leipsic, 1733); Schrockh, Lebensbeschreitningen beriihmter Manner (Leipsic, 1790); Naseinann, "Veit Ludwig von Seckendorf," in Preussische Jahrbiicher (vol. xii., 1863, p. 257 sq.); W. Roscher, " Zwel sKehsische Staatswirthe im 16ten and 17ten Jahrhundert," in Weber's Archiv fi1r die michsische Geschichte (vol. I., 1862); and Theodor Kolde, "Seckendorf," in Herzog- Plitt's Beatencyklopitdia (1884).