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Hans von Bodeck

Hans von Bodeck, born in the Hansa city state of Elbing in 1582, belonged to an old and prominent Elbing family. His grandfather was Bürgermeister or mayor and his father was a Stadtrat city councillor. Ancestor Johann III von Bodeck (1542- 1595) of this distinguished patrician family of Elbing had the von Bodeck family imperial status re-affirmed by emperor Rudolf II, who at the same time upgraded the family crest.

Hans, while on study tour throughout Europe, attended Oxford and Cambridge. He apparently attended the funeral ceremony for the English queen, Elizabeth and the coronation of the new English king, James I. The council of Elbing had sent two delegates with dual missions: firstly, to pay its respects to the new king and secondly to oppose the transfer of English trade from Elbing to nearby Danzig.

In 1604 von Bodeck left for London and met John Dowland, Philip Rosseter[?] and Thomas Campion. All three composers of lute songs lived in the same district of London. Bodeck befriended them, and Campion wrote a song dedicated to von Bodeck. Many people from England and Scotland came to live in Elbing and other towns in Germany.

Later that year von Bodeck left for Paris and met Count Christoph von Dohna Schlobitten, nobleman of Prussia, who lived just 15 km distance from Elbing. Von Bodeck became a counsellor to the Hohenzollern Kurfürst, elector of Brandenburg. He passed away in 1658.

A collection of pieces for lute was purchased by Dohna Schlobitten and kept at the Elbing library. Both Elbing and the library were destroyed in 1945.

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