Christiernus Torkelsen Morsing

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by Fritz S. Pedersen

Christian Torkelsen Morsing (Morsianus), ca. 1485–1560, is attested as a student in Leuwen from 1514, and from 1519 as principal of the Cathedral School (Vor Frue Skole) in Copenhagen. He soon became professor at the University of Copenhagen and was rector in 1522–1523. During the 1520s and up to 1537 he studied abroad, but was also professor at the philosophical faculty 1529–1531. Christian III called him home in 1537, where he became professor of medicine and was appointed as the first rector of the university after its restructuring following the Reformation. He continued in his chair of medicine, was elected rector three times more, and was vice-chancellor from 1544. Apart from medicine, his chief scholarly interest seems to have been mathematics.


  • (1) De latina constructione vigintiquinque precepta..., Copenhagen 1519 (edition of grammars attributed to Murmelius, Bugenhagen og Despauterius).
  • (2) Arithmetica brevis ac dilucida, in quinque partes digesta (consisting of: De numeris integris; De fractionibus vulgaribus et physicis; De regulis quibusdam; De progressione et radicum extractione; De proportionibus), Cologne 1528 (repr. Basle 1536, 1538, 1539 and 1553 as an appendix to Lefèvre d’Étaples’s Epitome arithmeticae Boëthii with the title Christierni Morssiani Arithmetica practica in quinque partes digesta).
  • (3) Dionysius de situ orbis, a Rhennio Fannio latinitate donatus..., Antwerp 1529, Cologne 1530 (edition of Dionysios Periegetes’s geographical poem in Priscianus’s Latin rendering, erroneously attributed to the grammarian Remmius (Palaemon)).
  • (4) En liden Bog om Pestilentzis Aarsage, Foruaring oc Lægedom der imod (medical treatise in Danish on plague), Copenhagen 1546, 1552, 1553, and again 1619 with a prologue by H.P. Resen.


  • EHRENCRON-MÜLLER, H. 1927: Forfatterlexikon, vol. 5, 427–29.
  • ELLEHØJ, S. et al. (ed.) 1979 & 1992: Københavns Universitet 1479–1979, vol. 7, 11–15; vol. 8, 76–79.
  • HANSEN, A. & JENSENIUS, K. 1937: Christiern Thorckelsen Morsings danske skrifter (Klassisk dansk Medicin 1), Copenhagen.
  • KORNERUP, B. 1982: in DBL 10, 62–63.
  • RØRDAM, H.F. 1869 & 1874: Kjøbenhavns Universitets Historie 1537–1621, vol. 1, 432–46; vol. 4, 34–35, 74–77, 103–08.
  • ULFF-MØLLER, J. 2005: “Die Rechenbücher von Christiern Thorkelsen Morsing und Claus Lauridsen Scavenius,” in Arithmetische und algebraische Schriften der frühen Neuzeit, ed. R. Gebhardt (Adam-Ries-Bund e.V. Annaberg-Buchholz, Schriften 17).