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surviving a flood next to studies

Martinus Baczoni

What is this story? And this project?

Martinus came from a middle-class family and was of Hungarian-Transylvanian origin, as mentioned in his records of him at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. He started his studies at the Claudopolitan college, mirroring the path of his brother, Matthaeus.

A few years after the enrolment of his brother at the University of Franeker (a well-known university in the north of The Netherlands, that does not exist at the moment), in 1717 Martinus arrived in Groningen. He chose to study theology and was admitted "gratis", thus free of charge. Martinus did not arrive alone, but with a college friend Paulus Wiski, who also succeeded to be admitted free of charge.

The adventures of our student don't end with relocation, as just after he settled in, around Christmas time, in 1717 a flood erupted in the north of The Netherlands. The combination of hurricane wind and spring tides that caused it, led to dams breaking and the massive waves of seawater reaching Groningen. The flood wreaked havoc and caused the deaths of more than 2200 people in the province of Groningen alone, as well as the destruction of villages nearby and the drowning of many cattle. 

As you can guess, Martinus's family grew very worried, to put it mildly, and made sure that through his brother's friend in Groningen, sufficient funds be delivered to our poor student. That friend notes: "A hundred ducats reached my hands, 60 of which were intended for D. Martinus Baconi, the other 40 being intended for D. Wiski. I will see to it, God willing, that they are transmitted safely and securely to aforesaid Lords."

From further letters, it is evident that the friend, R. Andala, grew very fond of Martinus. In a few years, in 1719, he'd write to Matthaeus (the brother): "To see your brother coming to us, to greet him, and to talk with him several times during his stay here, especially since he is a pious, learned man, very modest and very loving to me, was certainly very pleasing to me. After your departure, I always regretted that I could not help you. But this impels me all the more to serve your people, especially by respecting your brother."

The further life of Martinus is not very well known, but it is possible to infer he continued, in a way similar to his brother, in his academic career in theology.

Click here to find out!

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