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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

Sweden’s first political science textbook

Michael Wexionius was not only the first Professor of Politic and History at the Royal Academy of Turku, but he set precedents in many other areas as well. He was well acquainted with Central European and Swedish academic traditions, and soon after joining the Academy, he organised its festive inauguration ceremony in 1640. Wexionius designed the programme, gave the address and directed the masque.

Wexionius emphasised in his speech the importance of education to the nation. He praised the late King Gustav II Adolph of Sweden and his heir, the Queen regnant Christina, for having civilised minds and for supporting scholarship. He also praised the Regency for its civilised mind and held the superiority of the Swedish aristocracy, vis-à-vis other nations, to be axiomatic. However, he conveyed the message that universities should continue to be supported if the kingdom was to remain strong.

Wexionius was an especially prolific professor. Under his leadership, the Academy’s first dissertation was published. This work, Rota Fortunae (‘The wheel of fortune’, 1647), was the first publication of the Academy’s printer as well as Finland’s first published degree. Wexionius also oversaw the first work of the Academy’s professoriate, Natales Academiae Aboensis, which can be considered Finland’s first academic register. Altogether, Wexionius played a leading role in the preparation of over one hundred dissertations.

Another significant achievement in the first decade of the Academy came from Wexionius’ pen. Under the commission of Per Brahe the Younger, he produced the work  Epitomede scriptionis Gothiae, Sueciae, Fenningiae et subiectarumprovinciarum (1650), which dealt with the history, language conditions, financial standing and governance of Swedish provinces.

On the subject of state-craft, he published Politica ad modernum imperii Sveo-Gothici statum accommodata in supplementary editions in 1657. It can be considered the Kingdom of Sweden’s first political science textbook and it was Brahe’s wish that the work would apply especially to Sweden’s circumstances.

Michael Wexonius' work 'Epitome descriptionis [...]'.​
Michael Wexonius' work 'Epitome descriptionis [...]'.​

Michael Wexionius may not have been the most original or ground-breaking and creative scholar. He was more of a Renaissance man who dominated the fields of study in his time and used his knowledge and expertise for the development of a new university. Wexionius was an early and influential founder of the Royal Academy of Turku. He worked toward nurturing the class of civil servants in a new and more enlightened nation.



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