Christian Gueintz (Gueinz, Gueinzius, Gueintzius)

Updated: 03/29/2002

He was born on October 13, 1592 in Kolo (Kolau, Kohlo), district of Guben at the Neiße river (today Koto in the district of Zilona Góra in Poland). His parents were the preacher Johannes Gueinzius and Ursula Kretschmar, daughter of the preacher Daniel Kretschmar.

School education

He was brought prematurely to school in Cottbus under special supervision of Rector M. Heilando. A conflagration, which the city almost destroyed [1] lead him to Guben under the principal M. Trescoyio and in years 1608/9 to Crossen (Krossen) at the Oder river (today Krosno Odranski, district Zilona Góra in Poland). Then he learned from 1609 to 1612 with Mr Paeceptoribus in Sorau (today Zary, district Zilona Góra in Poland). With an excellent report by rector Bohuslai he left in 1612 to M. Zacharias Biccio in Bautzen. Of there he was taken at the Stettin Paedagogium with M. Hunnichium in 1613 [2]. There he already gave colleges, disputed publicly and in this way he made his Hebraicum, Graecum and Logicum [3].

On this page:

School education
University study
Teacher in Koethen
Rector of the city gymnasium of Halle
His death


University study

On June 23rd, 1615, he registered himself at the University of Wittenberg under his rector Valentin Wilhelm Forester J.U.D. (juris utrisque doctor, Master of Arts of both laws - ecclesiastical and secular). Because of his neediness, he received an employment as a house teacher with the philosopher and theologians D. Jacobo Martini. He was very industrious and disproved three times publicly in philosophy under M. Weixelbergaro, M. Gutkio and later in metaphysics under D. Jacobo Martini, so that he already was awarded a year later, on November 24th, 1616, the academic degree of the Master by rector D. Ambrosio Rhodio and the dean of the philosophical faculty, Mr. M. Hettenbachio [3].

Beginning in 1617, he disputed under Balduino about chapter 1 of the letter to the Philippic (super cap. 1 ad Philips.) and under D. Jacob Martini about the basics of Christian religion (de fundamento religionis christianae) [2] and gave Collegia (colleges) about the basics of rhetoric, logic, physics, ethic and politics.

He then received a series from offers which however he refused. So as a rector at Znaim today Znojmo in Czechs Republic; from Count Emrich Turzo was him offered in a personal letter the post as the rector of schools in Bytchen in Hungarians, and on May 13th of the same year, a call followed to the principal of school in Banau. From council of the city Grünberg (today Zilona Góra in Poland) he was invited to a guest sermon and 1618 was him offered the post of the school rector from council of the city Sagan (today Zagan in Poland) [3].

Instead of this, he remained at the university and 1618 became adjunct of the philosophical faculty and also disputed about theological topics.


Engraving in Dreyhauptchronicle of 1750


Köthen castle from Merian about 1650


Teacher in Koethen

In the time as Duke Johann Ernst of Saxony together with Prince Ludwig of Anhalt wanted to implement the method of Ratichius, was it probably Jacob Martini, the teacher of Christian Gueinzius, who recommended him to the prince [4]. On June 3rd, 1619 he went for three years to Koethen [3] in order to teach the "Collaborators and the students" at court [1]. "Zu Hofe lieset M. Christianus Gueintzius täglich eine stunde, von zehn Uhren biß umb eilffe für die praeceptorn und Studenten; die lection soll geschehen aus Luciano oder Homero, und wird von Ihme der griechischen sprachlehr gebrauch zugleich gewiesen und getrieben" [5] (At Court M. Christianus Gueintzius lectured daily one hour, from ten o'clock until eleven for the teachers and the students; the lecture should hold about from Luciano or Homero and from him taught in use of the Greek grammar). There he translated the Grammatica Universales of Ratke into the Greek in 1619 and edited a Greek reader that he also translated into the German (Griechische SprachVbung / Jns Deutsche gebracht / zur Lehr-Art, [Greek language exercise / brought into German / for teaching purpose] Coethen 1620) [4].

There he got engaged on May 3, 1621 with Catharina Berndes, the daughter of Koethen's mayor who has died already in 1616. He married her on September 10th of the same year [6].
Christian Gueinzius stayed in Koethen even after the shameful dismissal of Ratich and returned back to Wittenberg with a "strange reward" in 1622 only in order to study law. Already one year later, in 1623, he became a lawyer of the Konsistorium (church court) in Wittenberg, and held legal lectures [1].



Wolfgang Ratke, Latinized Ratich[ius], born on October 18th, 1571 in Wilster, district Steinburg, died on April 27th, 1635 in Erfurt, German pedagogue, he inserted among others 1612 to the upper classes of the German empire convened in Frankfurt at M. a "Memorial" about the establishment of a homogeneous German school, in which should taught in "natural" method [8].


Rector of the city gymnasium of Halle

On April 4, 1627 the city council of Halle called him to the rector of the city gymnasium. He should enter upon the succession of the M. Sebastian Crell passed away before. At the August 1st of the same year he became introduced into his office [1].

It was the time of the 30-years war when he came into the city. Halle was in the hands of the troops of Wallenstein since 1625 [7].

Equipped with thorough and comprehensive knowledge, practised in an expedient teaching method by participation in the experiments of Ratich he brought into the school, filled with enthusiasm for youth entrusted to him, he brought the school fast to a high blossom. He remained loyal to this duty, although the chapter of the Magdeburg Lay Assessors Court appointed him to an Assessor in 1636 and he was called in 1645 to a professorship at the University of Jena [1].

He came into a competence quarrel against the urban music director Samuel Scheidt about the School Chorus Singers, which led to the dismissal of Scheidt by the city council in 1630 [9]. "Scheidt has never been high-handed. But in the months, where him the post of a music director was given, besides the freedom of creating music the freedom of upbringing a ring of highly talented young people, ... he was swept away by he frenzy of an educational imperviousness that exceeded the boundaries of the allowed. Never before chorus pupils of Halle of the 17th century have sung more enrapturing, however never more they have had more exclusive service known as in years 1628 to 1630; but at the same time they were worse pupils of their school teachers. This extremely strong heavy-duty of the chorus pupils was the reason, that brought Scheidt's first great misfortune of his life.

It began with small quarrels of Scheidt with the colleagues of the city gymnasium, with open and secret reserve of the boys of the chorus service, which he paid back with same coin, and it started, with one from Scheidt not recognised serious warning, to show his serious face, when the most supreme clerical responsibles of the new humanistic mind of the gymnasium took care of the quarrel dominating the school for the first time and restored the old limited and second-rank chorus service of the pupil with a stroke: the rector Christian Gueinzius. ... Scheidt began the fight with obstinacy of the naive human being, and in such a way, the moment came, where this Christian Gueinzius - as Scheidt a human being of developmental importance, poet and writer, friend of the baroque era poets Moscherosch and Harsdoerfer, under the name 'der Ordnende' (the arranging one) member of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft (fruit-bearing society - an important German language society) and in the central German school history of the 17th century one of outstanding personalities prevailed over Scheidt." In such a way, the city archivist of Halle, Rolf Huenicken, described the conflict in 1934.

At Easter Sunday 1630 there was no solemn music performance in U.L.F. (Unser Lieben Frauen = our blessed lady church) unexpectedly. On Scheidt's part the rector Gueinzius was blamed to be responsible for this because he hold back him, Scheidt, the chorus pupils. The quarrel became talk of the town with Scheidt's viewpoint. After five days the rector let asking the music director by the preceptor Matthias Doerffel for a declaration whether he might is the one who circulate of the rumour. Scheidt wrote an angry letter in that he refused all accusations and restrictions of the rector brusquely and closed with the threat: "Before I will have this disgrace and mockery, that he (the rector) will have the final say, I would rather be a slave-driver or executioner, because my honest name is more worth than silver and gold and I do not want to let such name for my children as one who was be commanded by a school rector." [7] Full wording of the letter
In his letter of April 3, 1630, Christian Gueinzius turned to the city council (wording see appendix page 7). On December 30, 1630 the Scheidt's employment at the U.L.F. (Unser Lieben Frauen = our blessed lady church) ended, which is mentioned in the church records: In this quarter is the director of music's, Mr Samuel Scheidt's, salary ends." [7] Full wording of the letter
In the 17th and 18th century, such a competence quarrel between the rector of a school and the choirmaster was not extraordinary. In this case was unusual that Scheidt as a music director who guided the school chorus did not appertain to the staff of school. Gueinzius taught itself in music and complained the disciplinary authority over the pupils and pushes it through [10].  


Halle in the year 1635
Under his leadership, the school survived hard times. In 1631 the city was conquered by Swedish troops. King Gustav Adolf himself came to Halle in order to lead the surrender negotiations with council of the city. This take place in the house of the principal of the council and Worthalter (speaker) Karl Herold, whose son married later his oldest daughter Ursula Elisabeth. In 1632 troops of Tilly and Pappenheim scattered fear and terrors. In 1636 a plague epidemic broke out, which 3.300 people passed away and the school was emptied except of a few boys. In 1637 Swedish troops plundered the city but spared the school.

Two conflagrations took place, on November 1st, 1644 and March 13th, 1645, which brought the school building into highest danger [1] and annihilated its school library in which a valuable souvenir of Dr. Martin Luther was: a horoscope, drawn by himself. A pupil of the rector, Christoph Daniel Schreiber, mentioned it in his disputation about the movement of the stars on April 12th, 1651. Translated from the Latin: "Luther left a sky board drawn personally by himself for midnight November 10th, 1483, its original Mr Christian Gueinzius, once rector of the Halle Gymnasium, kept save in its library as a sanctuary. I had been entrusted to him for care and for upbringing and from special goodwill that he always showed to me, he permitted me not only to see the same to but also to copy." [7]

Usually non-resident pupils were included in his house as for example Daniel Nikolai von Greiffencrantz, later royal Swedish senior executive officer and chancellor at the duchies of Bremen and Verden.

Institut Deutsche Adelsforschung (German institute for nobility investigation- only German) January 9, 2001: "Then he moved for the academic studies with his relative Joachim Baalck to Wittenberg and Halle, where he got accommodation at the house of the popular rector Christian Gueintzius on recommendation of distinguished people. With him he studied philosophy for two years and defended successfully some public disputations. In 1633 he moved again from Halle to Wittenberg where he now studied philosophy and law."

Gueinzius has supported better schoolbooks, above all for the lower classes and established the school library. School comedies became rehearsed, which had to be performed in the Waage4 (scale) because of the great rush [1].

The public speeches and debates introduced by him, which were organised often even on Sundays caused quite a sensation. On this occasion, Gueinzius let the speakers at first appear in free position and with movement of the body and therefore he is considered the inventor as of the actus extracathedrales, the celebration out of church [1].

He personally has to endure privations in the case for example when the council of the city could not pay his wages in the war years [1].

April 2nd, 1573 was the start of building for the "Feier- und Hochzeitshaus" (celebration and wedding house) of the city, which also included the urban scale. From this function, the building also received the name "Rats-Waage" (council scale). After foundation of the university of Halle the auditory maximum was placed into the first floor of the "Waage" because of lack of a suitable another building, against which the city indeed inserted vehement objection failing nevertheless at the final veto of the elector. The building was destroyed in 1945 with one of the last air raids; the ruins are removed later. Only the portal arch was maintained and was set up in the yard of the Moritzburg (Moritz castle) again. Source: City museum Halle. Source: Stadtmuseum Halle.

In 1641 he was admitted as a member 361 into the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft (translation: fruit-bearing society) a famous German language society with the companion name "Der Ordnende" (translation: the arranging one). His motto was: "Jedes an seinem Ort" (each on its location) [4].

Christian Gueinzius was at the city grammar school the educator of a whole pupil generation under which many later members of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft like Gebhard von dem Werder (1621 - 1679) no. 386, Paris von dem Werder (1623 - 1974) no. 339, Michael Hermann (1620 - 1666) no. 487, baron Ludolf Lorenz von Krosigk (1627 - 1673) no. 607, Matthias von Krosigk (1616 - 1697) no. 522 and Vollrath von Krosigk (1612 - 1660) no. 514 [4].

Something about the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft




But also other famous people, like the poet Philipp von Zesen, who was pupil on his school between 1631 and 1639.  Biography about Philip von Zesen (German)
He wrote many themes in German philology and theology. Equally he commented on other questions of time, so poem against in that time usual ideology, which justify the continuation of the 30-year war [4].  About his importance as Germanist
He developed a very extensive literary activity, which corresponded, to his versatile knowledge. He above all gained merits with his "Deutsche Sprachlehre" (German grammar) and "Deutsche Rechtschreibung" (German spelling). He wrote the today no more customary hymn "Jesu, Jesu du mein Hirte" (Jesus, Jesus you my herdsman). Although he was an important Germanist, did he love the roman poetry as it was usual at his time, and provided each of his many school writings with small roman distichs, with which he praises the participants of disputations with funny word games with their names. In diverse writings, he gave proof of his legal and theological knowledge [1]. Distichon: Verse units consisting of two verse lines, hexameter and pentameter. Hexameter: epic verse consisting of six verse feet or six-foot verse. Pentameter: as an antique dactylic, five-foot verse, which is employed at the hexameter in the distichon. Dactyl "fingers": verse foot with a long and two short units or a verse foot [8].

Also on the field of music he was employed and wrote music treatises and guided disputations, which are preserved in writing about the basics of music [9]. His works were based on Calvisius, Baryphonus, Schneegrass and above all Lippius and dealt with the musical basics, show the intervals of monocords and teach them the possibilities of rhythmic variation [10].

He gained great merits around his school. At thankful recognition by contemporaries as well as by his posterity was not missing [1]. He was regarded as a most distinguished scholar far out of Central Germany [4].

List of his works 


His death

On February 17th, 1650, he complained about side tinges and colic. Under medical treatment of the city physician D. Strisser he could resume his teaching activity. The temporarily occurring complaints however tied again him to the bed occasionally. When he then became weak and sick for the third time on March 25th, the physicians D. Nietnerus, princely court physician, and D. Engelhard from Koethen were called. However permanent constipation, sleepless nights, heat and weakness increased so that he demanded for his confessor, the archdeacons and senior minister Mr Johann Volckmar, in order to confess and to receive his last Holy Communion. Then he gave his instruction for his funeral and the supply for his children and his wife.

In the morning of April 3rd he was very thankful that he still was allowed to see his name-day [3]. This day was normally inspected festively and many "votive adclamationes" (dedicating cheers) became printed to his honours [11]. He called for his chorus pupils in order to thank his God with music. With it he has joined in the singing strongly. He finally passed away at 11.00 o'clock at night in his 58th year [3].

His funeral service occurred on April 8th at the school church, the corpse sermon was held by Gottfried Olearius, dean of the city churches, premiere priest of the church of U.L.F. and inspector of the grammar school [3]. He was buried at the school church.


In the church book of the church of U.L.F., we find the following entry no. 8 in death register 1650:
"d. 8. Aprilis, die Woche Palmarum, H. Christianus Gueinzius Rector auff der Schule gest. 3. Aprilis im 58 Jahre aetatis begr. mit dem gantzen Geläute gratis." (on 8th of April, the week Palm Sunday, Mr. Christianus Gueinzius Rector of school died on 3rd of April in his 58th year buried with complete chime, free of charge)

By his son Johann Christian Gueinzius an epitaph from polished Esperstaed stone was set at the wall of the school church left of the altar. Below the image of crucified Jesus and his motto from the Gospel of John, chapter 15: "I am the vine ..." were standing the Latin inscription:
"Fige pedem Viator, sitas hic ac terena sui parte positus est CHRISTIANVS GVEINZIVS, Gubenas Lusatus, J.V.C. & Philosophus, ejusque Facultatis in celeberrima Acad. Witteb. quondam Adjunctus, ac Consistorii Elect. Sax ibid, Advocatus Ordin. post Hallensis Saxo Gymnasiarcha per 23 annos, Illustrissimi a Fructu per Germaniam Ordinis membrum exellens & perpetuum decus, Vir omni laude cumulatus. Qui postquam consummati Viri mensuram jam dudum implevisset, a cunctis mortalium ac illustribus viris cultus, in admiratione etiam post fata apud eos, qui docentem audiverunt & in scriptis legunt, Vivere desiit A. MDCL. 3 April ipso nominali die, cum ætatem exegisset ann. LVIII. m. d. 3. Tanto viro, Patri pariter ac suavissimo Marito,pientiss. Conjux Catharina Berndes, quæ mortalitatem exuit Anno MDCLIX ætat. XL. & bini cum quinque tiliabus infra nominandi, hoc amoris ac memoriæ monumentum posuere. Memento mori viator & sanctis cineribus quietem apprecare."
At the end, the names of the children [2].



Stadtgottesacker (city cemetary) in Halle

31 years later he was reburied into grave arch 9 on the Stadtgottesacker (city cemetery), which his son Johann Christian had bought meanwhile. The epitaph in his final grave place received following Latin inscription:

"Hic Christianus Gueinzii ossa quiescunt. Christian Gueinzius, Guben-Lusat. natus 1592. Christianus fuit fide, humanitate homo; Istic veræ vitis palnus ob fructum, hic ob odorem rosa flagrans, Philosophus sua ætate clarissimus, Wittebergæ enim constitutus Elector. Consist. Advocatus. Una et Philosophiam & Jura magna cum laude prosessus est, postea Salinarum Gymnasiarcha Saxonicarum factus, Dexteritate, integritate, sedulitate, & suam & Gymnasii famam auxit, Docuit enim cum admiratione præsentes voce, Scriptis absentes. Utilitati certe publicæ publicus servus serviit ann. 23. Sed serviit! Nunc in cælis capit mercedem postq. A. 1650. D. 3. April. ipso nominali die suo servire desiit. Reliquit autem ingens sui desiderium non tantum conjugi Catharina Berndes & 2 filiis filiabusque 5. Sed & Gymnas. & univers. literat. orbi. Tu v. Lector, ne nihil ab hoc Præceptore discas. Disce Mori. Perpetuæ memoriæ Dn. Parentis posuit Filius natur major. Joh. Christian Gueinzius, J.U.D. Reipub. Hall. Consul & Consilarius Mansfeldicus, 1681" [2].

(Here rest the mortal remains of Christian Gueinzius. Christian Gueinzius of Guben in the Lausitz is born in 1592. His spirit through belief, a human being through his humanity. That through the fruit as a true tendril of the vine, which he admired, likes a fiery rose. His life long he was very famous as philosopher, in Wittenberg he was Churfuerstlichen Consistorial Advocat (lawyer of the church court of the elector). In the same way he is mentioned with praise in the philosophy because of his great jurist ability and gained afterwards to the rector of the grammar school of the saltworks of Saxony. Through smoothness, unselfishness and diligence he increased the reputation of the grammar school and its own. He indeed informed more wonderfully the absentees wisely by his writings, as he informed the person present by his own person. Certainly for the common welfare he served as state servant 23 years. Yes he served! In the heaven now, he obtains his wage after he has stopped on April 3rd 1650 on his name-day to serve. He left a big desire to him not only with his wife Catharina Berndes, 2 sons and 5 daughters also with the grammar school and the whole scholarly world. There you are reader, what does you tell the life of this teacher. Learn to die. In memoriam of the son to his father, older than he, Johann Christian Gueinzius J.U.D. and Consul of the community of Halle and council of Mansfeld and Deacon 1681."



[1] Eckstein, Dr. Friedrich August; Programm der Lateinischen Hauptschule zu Halle; Halle 1850.
[2] Dreyhaupt, Johann Christoph von; Ausführliche diplomatisch-historische Beschreibung ... des Saal-Kreyses; 1750.
[3] Olearius, Dr. Gottfried; Des himmlischen Weinstocks fruchtbringende Reben.....; Leichenpredigt für Christian Gueinzius; Halle 1650.
[4] Conermann, Klaus (Hrsg.); Die Mitglieder der Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft 1617 - 1650; Weinheim 1985.
[5] Niemeyer, Hermann Agathon; Wolfgang Ratichius in Cöthen; Halle 1842.
[6] Nicandro, Johanne Gottfriedo; Das girendeWittven-Täublein; Leichenpredigt für Catharina Berndes; Eisleben 1675.
[7] Gueinzius, Gotthold; Die Queintz - Geschichte einer Familie; Berlin 1979.
[8] Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon; Mannheim, Leipzig, Wien, Zürich 1992.
[9] Riemann, Hugo; Musiklexikon; Ergänzungsband A - K; Berlin 1927.
[10] Grove, George; Sadie, Stanley; The new Grove Dictionary of music and musicans; Band 7; London 1980.
[11] Wentzel, Johann Caspar; Hymnopoeographia; Teil 1; Herrnstadt 1719.



© 2002 Hans & Elke Gueinzius D-71229 Leonberg