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Michael Wexionius (Gyldenstolpe)

Michael Olsson Wexionius (from 1650 Gyldenstolpe)
Born February 16, 1608, Pjätteryd, Sweden. Died June 28, 1670, Turku.

Master of Philosophy, 1632, University of Uppsala

Rector, Royal Academy of Turku, 1641-42, 1653-55
Professor of Jurisprudence, Royal Academy of Turku, 1647-58
Dean, Faculty of Philosophy, Royal Academy of Turku, 1640
Professor of Politic and History, 1640-58, Royal Academy of Turku
Rector, 1638-40, Växjö school

Judge, Pohjanmaan tuomiokunta, (Ostrobothnia assizes), 1663-70, Älvsborg province, 1667-70
Clerk to the nobility, Turku Court of Appeal, 1658-70

Honorary Doctor of Laws, Royal Academy of Turku

Photo: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon
Written by Tomas Sjöblom
Translated by John Calton

Connections in high places

Michael Wexionius was born the son of a clergyman in Småland, Sweden. His family circumstances were auspicious for someone intent on a scholarly future, since the southern Swedish province had connections to several of the Royal Academy of Turku’s founding fathers. Count Per Brahe was a holder of several fiefdoms there and the bishop and vice-chancellor Isaacus Rothovius was also from Småland.

His name - Wexionius - was based on his school in Växjö. He enrolled for studies at the University of Uppsala in 1626, and was fortunate enough to receive the patronage of the Swedish king’s half-brother, the Lord High Admiral, Carl Gyllenhielm. He had established a fund for the University at Uppsala in 1629, and Wexionius was among the first to receive a grant, thanks to which he was able to complete his Master’s degree in 1632. Wexonius’ dissertation Positiones philosophicae was a demonstration of several diverse theoretical fields of enquiry.

Gyllenhielm continued to support his protégé by recommending him to no less a statesman than the Lord High Chancellor of Sweden, Count Axel Oxenstierna. The count granted Wexionius funding for a further four years for study trips abroad. Wexionius studied a range of subjects in Dutch and German universities in the years 1633-36. He returned to Sweden and took up a position under Oxenstierna. He was also rector of the Växjö school from 1638 to 1640.

The decision to establish the Royal Academy of Turku was made in 1638, largely at the initiative of Per Brahe and Oxenstierna. And these two men were influential in Wexionius’ appointment as the first ‘professor of politic and history’ in 1640.

Wexionius sought and was granted the chair in jurisprudence in 1647, but retained his previous academic position. Exploiting his connection to Brahe, Wexionius was ennobled in 1650. He was recorded in the Swedish House of Nobility under the name Gyldenstolpe. In the same year, a dispute arose as to whether he himself had the right to award the degree of doctor of laws, when he himself had not completed a final thesis in jurisprudence. A solution was found: he was awarded the first doctor of laws degree in Finland.

In 1657, he was appointed clerk to the nobility at the court of appeal in Turku, a position he had yearned for over many years. He commenced his duties the following year, and subsequently relinquished his professorial duties. Wexionius was also appointed judge at the Ostrobothnian assizes in 1663 and judge at Älvsborg in 1667.

Chalcography of professor Wexonius. Image: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon.​
Chalcography of professor Wexonius. Image: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon.​


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