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(IX.) HISTORY - Success - And The Beginning Of Failure

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Author Topic: (IX.) HISTORY - Success - And The Beginning Of Failure  (Read 580 times)
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« on: August 17, 2007, 08:27:59 pm »

In England, the only man whose mind could be compared with that of Kepler or Brahe was that astonishing

Elizabethan John Dee (1527-1608).

Had he resisted a fascination with magic, his reputation would stand higher than it does; even so, no one doubts his accomplishments as a navigator, a mathematician and a philosopher, even if in the end his adventures into the occult led him into the hands of the master-quack Edward Kelley, and the barren fields of alchemy and angel-raising.

Dee was born at Mortlake, the son of a minor servant at the court of Henry VIII. He showed an early mathematical bent, and after a primary education at school in Chelmsford went up to St John's, Cambridge, and there studied intensively - and also laid the foundations of his reputation as a magician by devising a flying machine for a college production of Aristophanes' Pax so real that the audience suspected witchcraft.

His major interests were mathematics and navigation, and he went on to study them at the University of Louvain.

The study of navigation obviously required dexterity in mathematics, and in astronomy, and Dee claims that by the time he left Cambridge for Louvain he had already 'taken thousands of observations of the heavenly influences and operations in this elemental portion of the world'. But at Louvain his reputation was as a logician; many distinguished men were soon travelling to the university to hear him lecture.

Back in England - via Paris and Rheims, where he also lectured with enormous success, students perching halfway up the walls of the college to hear him - he accepted a pension of a hundred crowns a year from Edward VI, and achieved the patronage of the Duchess of Northumberland, whose husband was Chancellor of Cambridge University.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 08:23:09 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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