CARPZOV (Latinized Carpzovius), the name of a family, many of whose members attained distinction in Saxony in the 17th and 18th centuries as jurists, theologians and statesmen. The family traced its origin to Simon Carpzov, who was burgomaster of Brandenburg in the middle of the 16th century, and who left two sons, Joachim (d. 1628), master-general of the ordnance in the service of the king of Denmark, and Benedikt (1565-1624), an eminent jurist.
Benedikt Carpzov was born in Brandenburg on the 22nd of October 1565, and after studying at Frankfort and Wittenberg, and visiting other German universities, was made doctor of laws at Wittenberg in 1590. He was admitted to the faculty of law in 1592, appointed professor of institutions in 1599, and promoted to the chair Digesti infortiati et novi in 1601. In 1602 he was summoned by Sophia, widow of the elector Christian I. of Saxony, to her court at Colditz, as chancellor, and was at the same time appointed councillor of the court of appeal at Dresden. After the death of the electress in 1623 he returned to Wittenberg, and died there on the 26th of November 1624, leaving five sons. He published a collection of writings entitled Disputationes juridicae.
Benedikt Carpzov (1595-1666), second of the name, was the second son of the preceding, and like him was a great lawyer. He was born at Wittenberg on the 27th of May 1595, was at first a professor at Leipzig, obtained an honourable post at Dresden in 1639, became ordinary of the faculty of jurists at Leipzig in 1645, and was named privy councillor at Dresden in 1653. Among his works which had a very extensive influence on the administration of justice, even beyond the limits of Saxony, are Definitiones forenses (1638), Practica nova Imperialis Saxonica rerum criminalium (1635), Opus decisionum illustrium Saxoniae (1646), Processus juris Saxonici (1657), and others. He did much, both by his writings and by his official work, to systematize the body of German jurisprudence which had resulted from the intersection of the common law of Saxony with the Roman and Canon laws. His last years were spent at Leipzig, and his time was entirely devoted to sacred studies. He read the Bible through fifty-three times, studying also the comments of Osiander and Cramer, and making voluminous notes. These have been allowed to remain in manuscript. He died at Leipzig on the 30th of August 1666.
Johann Benedikt Carpzov (1607-1657), fourth son of the first Benedikt, was born at Rochlitz in 1607. He became professor of theology at Leipzig in 1643, made himself chiefly known by his Isagoge in Libros Ecclesiarum Lutheranarum Symbolicos (published in 1665), and died at Leipzig on the 22nd of October 1657, leaving five sons, all of whom attained some literary eminence.
August Carpzov (1612-1683), fifth son of the first Benedikt, distinguished himself as a diplomatist. Born at Colditz on the 4th of June 1612, he studied at the universities of Wittenberg, Leipzig and Jena, and in 1637 was appointed advocate of the court of justice (Hofgericht) at Wittenberg. Entering the service of Frederick William II., duke of Saxe-Altenburg, he took part in the negotiations which led to the peace of Westphalia in 1648, and was appointed chancellor by the duke in 1649. From 1672 to 1680 he was chief minister of Ernest I. and Frederick I., dukes of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and died at Coburg on the 19th of November 1683. August, who was a man of earnest piety, wrote Der gekreuzigte Jesus (1679) and some treatises on jurisprudence.
Johann Gottlob Carpzov (1670-1767), grandson of Johann Benedikt, was born at Dresden in 1679. He was educated at Wittenberg, Leipzig and Altdorf, became a learned theologian, and in 1719 was appointed professor of Oriental languages at Leipzig. In 1730 he was made superintendent and first pastor at Lübeck. His most important works were the Introductio in libros canonicos bibliorum Veteris Testamenti (1721), Critica sacra V.T. (1728), and Apparatus Historico-criticus Antiquitatum V. Test. (1748). He died at Lübeck on the 7th of April 1767.
Johann Benedikt Carpzov (1720-1803), great-grandson of the first Johann Benedikt, was born at Leipzig, became professor of philosophy there in 1747, and in the following year removed to Helmstädt as professor of poetry and Greek. In 1749 he was named also professor of theology. He was author of various philological works, wrote a dissertation on Mencius, and published an edition of Musaeus. He died on the 28th of April 1803.
On the family of Carpzov, see Dreyhaupt, Beschreibung des Saalkreises, Beilagen zu Theil 2. S. 26.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)