||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Russian Wikipedia. (August 2011)|
Jacob Daniel Bruce (Russian: Яков Вилимович Брюс, Yakov Vilimovich Bryus or Brus, 1669, Moscow – April 30, 1735, manor Glinki near Moscow) was a Russian statesman, military leader and scientist of self-claimed Scottish descent (Clan Bruce), one of the associates of Peter the Great. According to his own record, his ancestors had lived in Russia since 1649. He was the brother of Robert Bruce (ru), the first military governor of Saint-Petersburg.
He participated in the Crimean (1687, 1689) and Azov campaigns (1695–1696) of Peter the Great against the Ottoman Empire during the Russo–Turkish War. During the Great Northern War Bruce was appointed major-general of artillery. He was involved in the revival of Russian artillery, which had been lost to the Swedish forces along with its commander, Prince Alexander of Imeretia at Narva in 1700. He was commander of artillery in the Battle of Poltava (1709), for which he was awarded the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called. In 1721, he became one of the first Russian counts.
Jacob Bruce was one of the best educated people in Russia at the time, a naturalist and astronomer. In 1702, he founded the first Russian observatory; it was located in Moscow in the upper story of the Sukharev Tower. Bruce's scientific library of more than 1500 volumes, compiled in the 1730s, became a substantial part of the Russian Academy of Sciences library.
Among Muscovites, Bruce gained fame as an alchemist and magician, due in part to the innovative design of the Sukharev Tower which was very unusual in 18th-century Moscow. It was rumored that the greatest Black Magic grimoires of his collection had been bricked up into the walls of the Sukharev Tower.