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John Dee: Her Majesty's Secret Sorcerer

2011-10-05 | 🔗

Born in 1527 to a Welsh family, John Dee grew to become one of Queen Elizabeth's most memorable advisors. Join Sarah and Deblina as they delve into the life and times of this scholar, statesman and sorcerer.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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for info and how you can start saving today is a pico dot com, slash allergy, local stuff. You missed in history class from house of works, tat come alone, walk into the pot tat time to bring a chocolate boarding and I'm scared out, and we promised our listener. Some still hallooing a shout, the cells in october- and it just so happens, I've got magic on the brain recently because I was visiting with my ten year old niece and she is finally requiring me to do something that many people have done, which has read Harry Potter, L. Finally, I know I know you ve been wanting that for time has already been waiting. Long cherished hopes lies in that and I am really very highly valued at she's wearing a wizard outfit right now. Actually so we wanted to
into some real life examples of people who are said to have been involved with magic and the Courts and John D, who was a mathematician An astronomer from the sixteenth century really peaked our interests, not least of all, because there's a new offer about him. So this opera, which is called doctored d, her mirrored at Manchester International Festival in July, and it came about when so organizers approach. The graphic novelists Alan more, who is this creator of beef or vendetta from Hell approached him too on a new projects about the quote life of an obscure but important figure from english history, though more pondering on this, decided to focus on John D. Of course, more didn't finish the project he left before it was complete. Damon Albert singer songwriter of the band blur and also guerrillas. He did
along with Director Rufus Norris, and we haven't heard or seen at our selves. But we do. We did get kind of stuck on that phrase obscure, but important figure from english history That's exactly what type of money Teresa commenced in history cloud, exactly So there is no denying that d was important in addition to being an accomplished, mathematician astronomer geographer, navigator, Naso book collector. He wasn't it or to Queen Elizabeth first and probably a spy for her in some capacity and also an early proponent of expanding Britain into an higher so wise. The sky, with some legitimate resume entries, sometimes dismissed as the queen's astrologer and necromancer, and a sorcerer while we're gonna. Take a look at that. But first we need to find out how he got to work for the queen in the first place, it started with schooling, and he was born. John D was born July: thirteen fifteen twenty seven in London, his father.
rolling DE was of Welsh descent and was probably some kind of merchant, though gianduja started his studies a school in Chelmsford and ethics in fifteen thirty five and then went on to John College, in Cambridge in fifteen forty two, where he studied a pretty impressive line up of Greek latin Philosophy, geometry, arithmetic and a straw, me and from the beginning he was really a dedicated to his studies, especially when you consider how young he was at the time he really seem too low. To learn, especially when it came to studying mathematic than just. To give you an example: of Young John Dene typical day. According to his biographer Benjamin Woolly D work at his studies about eighteen hours a day, leaving just four hours for sleep and two hours for meal so busy child
and by all accounts he was an extremely talented scholar. Some even call him a genius, so I guess all that hard work. It has really paid off. He got both his back slurs and masters degrees from Saint Johns and fifteen forty five and fifteen forty eight respectively in fifteen forty six. He was one of the founding fellows of Trinity College in Cambridge, but then switch stuff up a little bit. He left England from fifteen forty eight to fifty. Fifty one. He continued his scientific education on the continent and he studied with a variety of top experts in a number of different fields, and in cartographer in mathematics he published astronomy tax and lectured on Euclid elements. Euclid, of course, was a greek mathematician and sometimes called the Father of geometry. Indeed, some credited with popularizing, euclidean geometry and academic circles. He was also said to be an early supporter of Copernicus is Julia Centric model of the union, so he without promoting for revolutionary MA
He was out learning and kind of YO thinking about and talking about edge ideas. It wasn't They know he turned down to mathematical professorships, one at the University of Paris and fifteen He won and another one that was offered to him at the University of Oxford and fifteen. Fifty four: it's unclear exactly why he did ass. He seems to have had designs on landing, a position with the english crown, though, as will see later probably hoped that that set up would result in financial support or patronage that would allow him to pursue his own research. So that seem to work at first he was aiming higher. I did seem to work at first and when DE returned to England in fifteen fifty one, he was able to associate himself with the royal court and he offered his mouth instruction.
Yea than to navigators, and that same year he was presented to King Edward, the thick few granted him a pension of one hundred crowns which deal later exchange for rector ship which had a knife comfortable living associated with it. They had seemed like he was doing well for himself. He made friends that court He received the patronage of a couple of them, including the duchess of Northumberland, and soon he started to get caught up in things down intrigue that was going on at the time regarding queen marries ascension to the throne and the tensions going on in England between the Catholics and Protestants, but D played his cards right in at least at first. He didn't appear to take sides with Obviously, during this time could mean a swift execution yes, so when Queen Mary, the first who was catholic, took the throne DE served as a consultant and astrologer to her.
So we should stop here, thou and talk about it, a little bad because you're, probably thinking whoa, wait a second astrology. I thought you said you was into astronomy, have a whole different opinion of him now, but but You go, judging whom we have to give you a little background by way of explanation around this time. There wasn't such a distinct line between astronomy and astrology. Many people like D put stock in both, in fact, even though people, coming out of the dark ages in the sixteenth century. Reason and science still existed right alongside superstition and magic. So he wasn't the only one to feel this way or to have these beliefs and they'll get to upset about dark age, people. I know everyone sometimes gets riled up without, but I think it's a good illustrate of term for discussing coming out of this real superstitious magical time. It's the strain of so just to give you an example of what these beliefs, where like he believed that the positions of the planets
at the moment of a person's birth would affect their future, so like astrology, but he was drift to find scientific explanation for this, and it was this to understand at all that really shaped his whole career, so organisers and allow the two essentially, and so he was to use these astrology skills for, queen Mary, he was asked to cast horoscopes for her and for her husband filled the second of Spain, around that time, though, D also started correspondence with the protestant Princess Elizabeth marries, half sister and he did and astrological chart for her too soon after This may be, coincidentally, maybe not in May a fifteen. Fifty five de was arrested and imprisoned at Hampton Court a week or so before. Elizabeth faced us similar situation and the charge against him made
different dependent on what source you look out. I've seen it as conjuring and then have seen in other places, as simply calculating just to explain that mathematics was kind of considered a form of black magic by some at that time. So that's why calculating would have been a criminal charge. He was acquitted after this least soon after though then he went back to work for Mary. What you learn of amazes me yeah, he kept on Workin for Mary and he was loyal to her until she died and fifteen fifty eight and then when Elizabeth First became queen after that date. Immediately shifted his allegiance to her. It's likely most people think that he may have port her all along, but regardless it's interesting to see that he showed loyalty to kind of whoever was in power because it was best for him, especially since it seems like it would be difficult for an astrologer to show loyalty to two people. What are you gonna tell somebody that their their cards? Don't look so great or their stars aren't allowed
currently rather away. The conversation value would be a tricky conversation have so with Elizabeth. He became kind of scientific and medical advised her to her known officially as the queen's intelligent, Sir or the royal astrologer, and she asked him to use his straw. Ashura logical skills to pick the data for coordination in obviously doubt so. She was happy with the result and she promised to security, but always have kept him at arm's length like she didn't want to be too closely associated with his involvement in the occult that diesel had that dream of royal patronage and especially a dream of creating this huge royal. very that would be available to everyone with of advancing learning. But he couldn't get official support for that, though. Finally, you to build his private library and spent several years, the broad collecting books for it by the mid fifteen sixty if he had
set up a laboratory and a library near London and the library had more than four thousand books in it and was the largest private library in England at the time, but D kept to his original tension, he was really generous with it. He made it accessible to scholars. He had a pretty significant collection of Stronger comical instruments, the collection of globe, though this with all suddenly at the fingertips of England Scholars, which was a great boost, them and for him to during the next twenty years or so deal was involved in a number of let's say, practical or more site if they compared to discuss later. Yes, he added, for example, the first the translation of Euclid elements and fifteen seventy. He also observed Tito brought his supernova fifteen seventy two and if you would like to know a little bit more about that, you can reference Aren T cobra, hip podcast from last December, so he observed this as well and he offered some triggering the metric
it's for finding its distance from earth, so he kind of help cunning ass, a discussion absolutely and he commented that England adopted gregorian calendar and fifteen eighty two, although no one really listen to him at the time and during the tire period. He was also helping lay the groundwork for english exploration by preparing. Just all sorts of now information, including maps and charts for navigation in the polar regions as well teaching, ship captains and crews about the principles and navigation and giving them navigational instruments. So this allowed them to venture out on rules that were away from the coast and really encourage exploration. I cannot see him at the coach on us All of these advisory Venus somebody who's, got the brains and knows all of the specific for all of these diverse sciences and can help the people actually making the decisions make them.
act, vision, and just a little side note if you're interested in such things DE was probably an adviser on Sir Francis streaks voyages as well. That's another impressive entry for his rather maybe along the same lines DE was a really big advocate of building a british empire and that certain make sense, if you consider involvement in all the navigation stuff, he expressed those views, those views for an empire in a work called perfect art of navigation. just because he was working on navigation and empire. Building didn't mean that he had left math and physics and astrology magic to just linger. They are and not be worked on. He published something called the proper Jamaica offers Tita in fifteen fifty eight, which contain his views on these subjects, mouth and physics and magic, and things like that. and that's not all. He had going on many forces. Author also suggests that throughout this period do is
working with none other than Sir Francis Walsingham as a spy for the english crown and that's kind of us the prize is it is it just takes the story in a completely different direction, and article and military history, by Anna Mantle bound for example, suggests that it was d along with Walsingham who founded the british secret intelligence service, we talk about having an entry on your resume that something that you wouldn't expect for someone who's labelled sorcerer conjuror, not at all, but he was probably able to use both his scientific in his more supernatural skills to act as buying into work in this capacity because for more of scientific part of things. Mondo bomb suggests that do is kind of like a six century version of James Bond Gadget Master Q. He would cree all kinds of cool devices, including this mechanical
bird which may not have been used for spying, but it still sounds pretty need so that that very practice side of him had an outlet in speaking of James, and there is another James bond connection here. That's kind of interesting and I couldn't find it in any great academe sources or anything. So I thought I just put it out there that if you happen to look up d and double o seven on the internet, you might find some interesting stuff there. Some say that he actually use that, double or seven sign in his secret correspondence to the queen. The two owes Wid Symbolise eyes and the seven was just a sacred, are lucky number to him. I like that. Maybe some tudor experts can let us know if there is any truth. I now here's what we do know, though D also discovered this work. While he was searching for books abroad, and it was the stag I fear of your highness trust them ass, a German,
magician of the late fifteenth century. It was divided into reeboks, all of which were apparently concerned with the application the angels- and this was a topic. That d was very interested, and I will tell you more about that later, but the first two parts actually turned out to be hooks, They were really the subject of them was really secret codes and only the third part was actually about contacting spirits, according to model bombs, article d use this code to communicate with Walsingham and disguise the intelligence he gathered, throwing some symbols associated, alchemy, and there too, that was in the next, so that people would think that they were magical writings. It's why some people things. It's why some people think of him more as a master spy than necessarily magician, and I really love this detail. I'm an imagined somebody intercepting a ladder.
bout, magic and add to that. In other. These weird symbol thrown in its from old John D, really there's important communications contained. I think that such an interesting tactic for aspire to take on a week when we talked about this forest fires. We take that one who would visit the hospitals and faint being crazy, and then this reminder That almost too said personality disguise alma something that has the ability to tarnish your reputation but, as furthering may cause all same time, dismissed. Let Europe what you're working on Saturday. it also employ has psychic abilities and a court knowledge. A nurse walsingham, for example, asked him to cast horoscopes to evaluate the queen's marriage auctions, and he used this too. That neither the Duke Jiangsu or his brother were suitable marriage partners for the queen. So what other intelligence the obtain well for one thing: he there's a lot of information about Spain, which was England's big, expand
lost rival. He found out the armada, the spanish fleet that was designed to overthrow Elizabeth long before was launched and in fact it said that D predicted violent storms and fifteen eighty eighty, his mouth in astronomy, knowledge to predict the weather, I guess and spy that around and Spain had some trouble because of that because of those rumours, they had trouble drumming up volunteers for this venture and then, of course, the predictions prove to be True Troy many of the Armada ships some have wondered if that prediction that he made was actually just psychological warfare by the inclosure if it was actually just that he you really doing there was rather than fighting yet that between the scientific pursuits and spying do. You really have his work cut out for him, but he also had some high jobs going on here fortunes for money he practice necromancy with real corpses, basically attempting to
Munich with the dead or even raise the dead, and on top of that he would also teach the occult art than alchemy to students. First, basically as the magician for higher, but one their thing. That was a real passion of deeds with his efforts to communicate with angels in the sky had so much going on, but that was a really strong interest appeared. He said to have conducted a cold experiments with crystal gazing that he called screening the ether. And began conversing with angelic intelligences. This way and d got more and more involved in their so well. Some of these precede seem pretty well balance for most of his life. This started it take over the other one from the fifteen eighties onward until it really began to dominate his life. entirely and a lot of people think that he changed his focus because he was just so frustrated that he couldn't get.
A comprehensive understanding of the universe up until that point. That was what he was striving for all long, as we mentioned earlier, to try to reckon EL the magical aspects of life with the practical aspects, and here the secrets of the universe secrets is a world economic sense and he was frustrated. He couldn't do this despite his long hours, despite his intelligence and thought Maybe the angel could explain and all they could help him now. Another major influence that played a part in this there was a man named Edward Kelly, not to be confused with NED Kelly is Lou mentions another not mad at another. Australian podcast, but Edward Kellett came to tease life and fifteen. Eighty two and he's often referred to as decent medium according to Encyclopaedia Britannica Kelly was convicted counterfeiter and he claimed that he could contact angels and spirits by gazing into a crystal. He D held seances together and DE became pretty convinced that Kelly's abilities were actually real. The two travelled on the continent,
for several years in the fifteen eighties doing displays of magic at various courts. Nay, recorded a language for communicating with angels, which is now referred to as a Nokia in, and he basically claimed the angels had revealed this language to them. Many historian suggest that Kelly was pretty much a con artists doing this for a fact, and for wealth according to DE biographer woolly. He eventually made a play for these wife and that's what sort of broke them apart, but D themes to of really. There fear in his belief of stuff and that didn't help him. When any friends, and by the time he returned to England and fifteen eighty nine, his reputation had been very much tarnished by his involvement in the occult, and he found his library had been ran. Fact in his book than scientific instruments had been stolen in that that great reputation as a practical, my
as somebody who is intelligent and and capable of performing. All these sciences was really gone and ultimately, the financial support that D had longed for from Queen Elizabeth the first and that she hit promised him to never really materialise. She she did give him a job. She appointed him Warden of Manchester College and fifteen ninety six, but that didn't pan after the port d in support his family and was obviously poses aware to get him out of London. away from from giving her a batter out by association so Friends managed to raise money for him, but still his final years were pretty misspent in poverty. He was people in Manchester and in sixteen o five to add insult. Three the area was hit by plague, killing his wife and several of his children too. He events returned to London and died there in December. Sixteen o eight. He basically spent the end of his life, trying to fight off the reputation of being a conjuror and
It's what many remember him as even though he did so many other things, they're kind of faded into the background. Now the Museum, though, has some artifacts associated with him that you can check out, including a mirror that he probably used in his occult research and for all literary minded people out there d, as also thought to be from people actually faith, almost certainly the inspiration for a very famous literary you're Prospero in Shakespeare, is the temper soon of ways, and some people have said this before he was the quintessential magician and therefore, I think ok, a submission fur hollowing month, even though he wasn't that scarier spooky. I like Halloween entries like that, when better intriguing Conor reminds me of the mass murder said for Halloween last year once they just make you think what what's reality when night
the interested to check how an opera, if I ever get a chance indefinitely, though that probably should bring us the listener mountains. So we had a lot fine recently recording the pod cast about Orson Welles WAR of the worlds. Radio broadcasts is definitely spooky. It is, and so we have a couple of emails here about that. One is from Marta and she says good afternoon. Ladies, I just finish listening to your pipe cast on Orson Welles in the war of the worlds broadcast. So I wanted to share with you a fond memory that your broadcast helpfully recalled in two thousand: eight, worked at a local skilled in nursing facility. That October to mark the seventh anniversary of the original broadcast. I worked with some of the residents. ray broadcast. The original. We really put a show for the other residents. So it was an actual radio broadcasts. She's trying to point out, she goes on to say the residents had a great time thing on the show, and afterwards we talked about the original many of them
Instead, I worked with were teenagers and young adults at the time, and they told me that the summit was a little scary and for others, a good laugh. The majority were glued to their seats, wanting to know what happened next. The rest, enjoyed sharing their memories of their youth with me, which made this little bit of history come alive. For me, I've since moved on a career, and some of those residents have passed away, but your pie, cost covering the war of the worlds is brought back some fun. That worries that sounded like such a need project to you in I don't know, maybe something that would be pretty fun for both today and I mean it's really climate at the people actually got to hear the original, but it something that doesnt team few go away really, and I we got so many emails from pupil about hearing the war of the worlds than most of them were not people who had heard the original broadcast. They heard it has their grandparents paid for them or if it was re broadcast on the radio and we eat heard from some people who said I know
Happily, what I would have done, because I thought it was real when I urgently broadcasting seventy there whenever they seem like a great thing to play for little kid, because we heard from many many people who had terrified at memories of children, of hearing no more of the world. But we do get another fine email between its from terror and she wrote that a friend of mine received his masters degree and broadcast communications and his master thesis live about the war of the worlds last heavily and he threw a nineteen. Thirty is war of the worlds in party where everyone had to come in here. He addressed we drink classic cocktails listen to the war of the worlds broadcast and listen to the war. I am to host the pretty again but on a bigger scale, for the thought had found, it really fun and a perfect pre Halloween, with their email to include good costume idea for sure I've been party idea. Definitely, though, it
have any more Halloween's Josh and will probably have time to to receive your feedback and maybe for environmental and get him in fear. Now, maybe a thin view affinity her this pike ass. If we're going to have it, yeah. You know that we can always use spooky idea are always Humphreys. Doesn't have to be contained in just one month of the year we can spread around. Definitely though right and where at history podcast at Housetop works that com or after on twitter at missed in history, and we are on Facebook teeth for those are all great ways to leave. Behind suggestion if you want to join me on my quest to find out what those poor potter thing is all about many years. After that, that's being cool, you can
I count and heart of what we have on our website called how Harry Potter Blonde works. I think I should probably hold off remaining in case of oil is sure there will be. No. You can find that thy visiting our homepage and searching for Harry Potter, W W W stuff for Stockholm restored to check out our new video podcast stuff from the Future Joint House for staff as we explore the most promising and perplexing possibilities of tomorrow. The house reports that I found out has arrived download it today and I do. This episode is brought to you by mulatto cookies work, some
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