Wednesday, July 13, 2011

John Dee

On this date (July 13th) in 1527 the mathematician, astrologer, alchemist and occasional tutor and advisor to Queen  Elizabeth I, John Dee was born. Dee was one of the most learned men in Europe and highly influenced by the Neo-Platonic, Pythagorean philosophy inaugurated by the Italian scholar Marsilio Ficino (1433-99). Curiously, John Dee's eldest son, Arthur Dee was also born on July 13th in 1579. From these dates it can be calculated that John Dee became a father for the very first time on his 52nd birthday ! 

Time and inclination don't permit elaboration upon the many influences that John Dee's esoteric inclinations have emanated throughout the centuries, many others have done so. Shakespeare for example, may have modelled the character of Prospero in his drama The Tempest upon John Dee. It is however worth noting that the author Peter French stated of Dee's eldest son, Arthur that -

'Little is known of this son of Dee's; one cannot help but wonder however, how much he may have influenced Browne, who was one of the seventeenth century's greatest literary exponents of the type of occult philosophy in which both the Dee's were immersed'. 

Books - Peter French - John Dee 1972
Peter Ackroyd - The House of Doctor  Dee 1993
Gustav Meyrinck - The Angel of the Western Window 1927
Wikilinks -  John Dee
Correspondence by Sir Thomas Browne - On John and Arthur Dee

1 comment:

-E- said...

i had heard of him but didn't know about the prospero thing. good info.