Jacob Bruce

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Jacob Bruce
James Bruce
Coat of arms
Arms of Count James Bruce, from his diploma of nobility. Note the red lion and unicorn, both symbols of Scotland
Full name
James Daniel Bruce
Born(1669-05-11)11 May 1669
Died17 May 1735(1735-05-17) (aged 66)
Noble familyClan Bruce
OccupationStatesman, military leader and scientist

Count James (Jacob) Daniel Bruce (Russian: Я́ков Ви́лимович Брюс, tr. Jákov Vílimovič Brjus; 11 May 1669 – 30 April 1735) was a Russian statesman, military leader and scientist of 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, 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 Imereti at Narva in 1700.[1] He was commander of artillery in the Battle of Poltava (1709), for which he was made a knight of the Order of St Andrew. In 1721, he became one of the first Russian counts.

Bruce was one of the best educated people in Crimea 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 1,500 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.


  1. ^ Simpson, Grant G. (1992). The Scottish Soldier Abroad, 1247-1967. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 59. ISBN 0859763412.

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