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Jacob Daniel Bruce

    Jacob Daniel Bruce (1670 –1735) was a close associate of Peter the Great, a Russian statesman, military leader, and scientist of Scottish descent. Bruce was born in Moscow in 1669, the son of William Bruce, a Scottish Protestant Jacobite who had left his homeland in 1647 to pursue a military career in Russian service. Jacob Bruce participated in the Crimean (1687, 1689) and Azov campaigns (1695–1696) of Peter the Great against the Ottoman Empire during the Russo–Turkish War. During the Great Northern War Bruce was heavily involved in the development of the Russian artillery. As commander of the artillery in the Battle of Poltava (1709), he succeeded in fighting off the offensive of the Swedes. For his achievements in the battle, Jacob Bruce was awarded the Order of St. Andrew, the only medal issued by Russia at the time. In 1711 he was appointed General Feldzeugmeister, and in 1721 he became one of the first Russian counts. Among Muscovites, Bruce gained fame as an alchemist and magician, due in part to interest in astronomy and the use of the upper part of the Sukharev Tower as his observatory. He was one of the best educated people in Russia at the time, a naturalist and astronomer. Bruce's scientific library of more than 1500 volumes, compiled in the 1730s, became a substantial part of the library of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In the mid-1730s the Kunstkamera, Russia’s first state museum, received many items that had once been owned by Jacob Bruce, including some Persian coins.

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