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Caspar Bartholin the Younger (secundus)

Born  1655
Died  1738

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Danish anatomist and physician, born September 10, 1655, Copenhagen; died June 11, 1738.

Biography of Caspar Bartholin the Younger (secundus)

Caspar Bartholin was he last of the famous Bartholins. His grandfather, Caspar Berthelsen Bartholin (1585-1677), also known as Jesper Bertelsen, Casparus Bartholinus or Bartholinus Malmogiensis, was the son of Bertel Jespersen, a vicar in Malmö, then a part of Denmark, now in Sweden. His father was Thomas Bartholin (1616-1680).

Caspar Bartholin began his medical studies in 1671, and already in 1674, aged 19, he was appointed professor of philosophy by the King, Christian IV. Follwing his appointment he travelled and studied extensively in Europe for three years, and in Paris worked with the anatomist Joseph Guichard Duverney (1648-1730), and together they found Bartholin's glands in a cow. On his return to Copenhagen he commenced practice, he began teaching as professor of physik and also taught anatomy. In 1678 he was conferred doctor of medicine by his father, Thomas Bartholin.

Most of his works consist of the processing of the works of other authors, especially that of the famous Steno (Niels Stensen, 1638-1686), but it also contains a lot of original work. After the turn of the century his efforts in the natural sciences seem reduced or even ended, in the period from 1701 to 1708 only very few works on anatomy and physiology were still to appear.

Late in Life Caspar Bartholin became interested in politics. As early as in 1790 he had become a supreme court judge, becoming Procurator General in 1719, and Deputy of Finance in 1724. Like his father and grandfather, honours were heaped upon him, and in 1731 he and his descendants were raised to the nobility.

Caspar Bartholin was accused of doing more to further his own interests and that of his family, than he did for the university and the study of medicine. Even 37 years after he ended his activities as a professor, he held the tenure as well as the pay for the chairs of physik and medicine as well as being dean of the faculty of medicine. The greatest contribution to the unduing of the faculty however, was the fire that ravaged all the buildings and collections of the university in 1728.


  • Dissertatio de cygni anatomia.
    This work, which appeared under his name in 1668, is generally ascribed to his father, Thomas Bartholin, who thus wanted to help his son.

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