Jacob Kurz von Senftenau

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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 a good education that included natural sciences. From 1579 to 1586 he served in the Reichshofrat, from 1585–1594 in the Geheimer Rat, from 1587–1593 as Reichsvizekanzler Amtsverwalter (Imperial pro-chancellor office manager), and from 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.[1]

Kurz organized the move of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe to Prague, and designed a quadrant for him.[2] Brahe arrived in 1594 and was offered Kurz's house to live in. Brahe died there in 1601, and the house was later occupied by Kepler.

Jacob Kurz died during a smallpox epidemic in Prague and was interred in St. Thomas Church in Josefská street, Prague.


  1. ^ 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 a gymnasium named after Johannes Kepler.
  2. ^ 1590 letter at the Wayback Machine (archived April 8, 2004) from Kurz to Brahe, English translation.