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Marcus Elieser Bloch (1723-1799) was a German medical doctor and
naturalist. He is generally considered one of the most important
ichthyologists of the 18th century. Bloch was born at Ansbach in
1723. His parents, being very poor, gave him hardly any education,
so that on arriving at manhood he was almost illiterate, and till
the age of nineteen could not even read German. Some knowledge of
Hebrew and rabbinical literature enabled him, however, to obtain a
teacher's position in the house of a Jewish surgeon in Hamburg.
Here he learned German thoroughly and mastered some Latin, taking
up also the study of anatomy. Scientific enthusiasm being thus
aroused, Bloch went to Berlin, where, with remarkable zeal, he
devoted himself to the study of all branches of natural science and
medicine, being supported by some relatives. After taking the
degree of M.D. at Frankfort-on-the-Oder in 1747, he settled in
Berlin. He died in Carlsbad on August 6, 1799.