Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 'was born at Leipzig on July 1, 1646 into a noble and academic family, the son of Friedrich Leibniz,' Professor of Moral Philosophy and Registrar of the University of Leipzig, and of Friedrich's third wife, Catharina Schmuck, the daughter of a Professor of Law. Leibniz lost his father in 1652 at the age of six, and his mother took charge of his education. He started school at seven, and, as soon as he knew enough Latin (which, Leibniz says, he taught himself at seven or eight), he was allowed into his father's library. There he undertook a vast reading of poets, orators, historians, jurists, philosophers, mathematicians, and theologians - from Livy and Clavisius to Cicero, Quintilian, Seneca, and Pliny, to Herodotus, Xenophon, and Plato, to the histories of the Roman Empire and the Fathers of the Church. His universal and assiduous reading made him knowledgable in almost every field.
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