Goller, Balthasar (d. 1619)

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Balthasar Goller, a Hutterite physician in Nikolsburg, Moravia, around 1600 (d. 1619). It is well known that the Hutterite brotherhood held its physicians and barber-surgeons in high esteem; in fact, at the turn of the 16th century one could hardly find adequate medical care in Moravia outside the Hutterite brotherhood (see Medicine among the Hutterites). It is known that Hutterite physicians were employed by most noble lords of that area, even Emperor Rudolphus II consulted such a doctor twice, and the head of the Catholic Counter Reformation in Moravia, Cardinal Franz von Dietrichstein, used these men himself and recommended them to his friends, in spite of the fact that he otherwise worked violently against these "heretics."

It seems that Goller was a real doctor (not only a barber-surgeon as most other brethren in this field had been). He lived in Nikolsburg, the manorial estate of the Dietrichsteins, and most likely was for a while the assistant to Georg Zobel, another outstanding Hutterite physician (d. 1603). Goller distinguished himself as the personal physician of the imperial ambassador to Turkey on the latter's mission to Constantinople in 1608-1609. From this trip we have five letters from him to the brethren at home, still extant in one of the Hutterite codices.

From a letter of Dietrichstein of 1618 we learn that he was "chief physician of the brethren." Dietrichstein dispatched him to his friend "even though I needed him badly myself." In 1619, Goller was to meet his tragic fate in the first upheavals of the Thirty Years' War. He was slain by some soldier or officer, and the pharmacy of the brethren in Nikolsburg was likewise destroyed and confiscated. It was but a few years before the entire brotherhood was expelled from Moravia altogether (1622), mainly due to the urging of the Cardinal Dietrichstein. (See also Dietrich, Sebastian.


Friedmann, Robert. "Hutterite Physicians and Barber-surgeons." Mennonite Quarterly Review 27 (1953): 129-130.

Author(s) Robert Friedmann
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Friedmann, Robert. "Goller, Balthasar (d. 1619)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 20 Mar 2023. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goller,_Balthasar_(d._1619)&oldid=143585.

APA style

Friedmann, Robert. (1956). Goller, Balthasar (d. 1619). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 March 2023, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goller,_Balthasar_(d._1619)&oldid=143585.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 539-540. All rights reserved.

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