Jacob Kurz von Senftenau
Jacob Kurz von Senftenau (1554 – March 11, 1594) (sometimes spelled as Kurtz, Latinized name: Jacob Curtius, Czech: Jakub Kurz ze Senftenavy) was the Imperial pro-chancellor (Reichsvizekanzler) for the Emperor Rudolph II. In addition to high politics he was also a contact between the Emperor and contemporary scholars, notably the astronomer Tycho Brahe.
Jacob Kurz was born to a noble family whose many members filled high governmental position for the Habsburgs during the 16th and 17th century (Senftenau is name of a castle in Lindau, Bavaria bought by Jacob's father). He was given good education that included natural sciences. 1579–1586 he served in Reichshofrat, 1585–1594 in Geheimer Rat, 1587–1593 as Reichsvizekanzler Amtsverwalter (Imperial pro-chancellor office manager), 1593–1594 as Reichsvizekanzler (Imperial pro-chancellor). Kurz, as a high official at the Imperial court in Prague, built a splendid house near the Prague Castle.
Kurz organized the move of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe to Prague. Brahe arrived in 1594 and was offered to live in Kurz's house. Brahe (and later also Kepler) lived and died there in 1601. Kurz also designed a quadrant for the astronomer.
Jacob Kurz died during smallpox epidemy in Prague and was interred in St. Thomas Church in Josefská street, Prague.
- History of Kurz's house (finished in 1590) is described in Václav Brož: O domě říšského místokancléře Jakuba Kurze ze Senftenavy na Hradčanech a o zřízené při něm hvězdárně Tychona Braha in Sborník příspěvků k dějinám král. hl. města Prahy 1, 1907 (scanned text, not yet manually checked for typos). Today the place is occupied by gymnasium named after Johannes Kepler.
- 1590 letter at the Wayback Machine (archived April 8, 2004) from Kurz to Brahe, English translation.