However, important links with Rosicrucianism can be made through two of Dee's servants. Roger Cook worked for the magus from till They quarrelled and split, but made up again, with Cook returning into Dee's employ in Now it happens that a "Roger Cock" is recorded as having been an assistant to the alchemist-inventor, Cornelius Drebbel, whilst working for the Emperor Rudolph II at Prague up to Almost certainly "Cock" was Dee's "Cook".
Drebbel was among the most important of all Rosicrucians.
Monas Hieroglyphica - Wikipedia
Sanders dedicated the work to the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. To most effectively probe into the enigma of Dee we must look to the evidence provided by his contemporaries. We can't be sure about this, but one thing is clear: a cult of John Dee was a fact of life. His insatiable egotism was leavened by an intelligence and learning which commanded the admiration of other minds of stature. It is a severe comment on the insularity of Spenserian scholarship that hitherto no Spenserian has recognized the portrait of Dee — and, by implication, the status accorded to him — to be found within the Castle of Temperance episode in The Faerie Queene's Second Book.
Spenser describes three "honourable sages", the second of whom "could of things present best advize". Dee was certainly a practical man who organized programmes of exploration. This figure sits in the second room, its walls enlivened with "famous Wisards", as well as with "All artes, all science, all Philosophy".
What went on between Dee and the Sidney circle is unrecorded in detail.
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But with regard to others posterity has been blessed. The awkward tango that Dee danced with the alchemist and explorer, Adrian Gilbert, the half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, is well written down in the spiritual diaries. By the s Dee had acquired a new set of intimates.
The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society
We have notes by him on a book's flyleaf, dated May 31 , in which he bestowed on a "Mr Barker" the physician Thomas Barker? Alas, Dee gives no further explanation. The greatest competing ego with Dee's within his own circle was that of the Florentine patrician, Francesco Pucci , a utopianist of fluctuating and wayward opinions.
The following year he was expelled from the University. Passing from the Italian church in London to the French church, he was soon embroiled in controversy again. His unruly personality and brand of anti-Calvinist Protestantism must have made this inevitable. Leaving England, he made his way to Fausto Socinus in Basle by , but the town soon expelled him.
Returning to London in , he encountered further persecution and departed for Holland and the company of the great scholar Justus Lipsius, whose political thought was to influence Shakespeare and who was to be exposed for Familist tendencies a few years later. Pucci returned to London, and it is presumed that it was in the capital that he completed — or wrote out — Forma d'una repubblica cattolica in It was some centuries before his hand was recognized in this unpublished utopian text.
Pucci proposed the organization of a secret "republic" of good people in all lands, who would prepare the world for a great council that would reunify Christianity.
Borrowing from the notorious Anabaptists, whose implication in social and political revolution decades earlier had rendered their name anathema in all respectable circles, Pucci's scheme envisaged "Colleges" being established, whose principal officers would include a Provost, a Chancellor and a Censor, elected for terms of four years by males over the age of There were to be central delegate meetings from time to time in friendly territories, which would take place incognito if necessary, using the guise of merchants.
Outwardly the organization was to observe conformity to the laws of a land and to obey the civil magistrates, stipulations which indicate a Familist influence on Pucci's thinking. His objective was the unification of all peoples in a comity that reached even the mosque and the synagogue. His immediate target — the eradication of the Christian schism — would be effected by the calling of a general council of "spiritual persons" and "lovers of truth". At times he contemplated this council being called by the Pope. The rediscovery of Pucci in twentieth century Italy created a frisson of excitement in academic circles.
Some have been surprised by the absence of obvious utopian precursors to Pucci within the Italian tradition without considering that his utopia may reflect English conditions and thinking. We know that Sidney and Daniel Rogers were strongly influenced by eirenist impulses in the s, which were not completely erased by the St. Bartholomew massacre of Huguenots in Paris in They first sought to heal schism within Protestant ranks between Lutherans and Calvinists. The religious views of these thinkers, although having a Protestant foundation, could not be reduced to any orthodox straight jacket, Although no firm evidence has surfaced to establish that Pucci knew Dee by , the serious possibility remains that his utopia may actually represent a compendium of the commonplaces being exchanged within the confidentiality of the magus's circle.
What is beyond dispute is that by Pucci met up with Dee and the brilliant alchemical charlatan, Edward Kelley, at Cracow in Poland.
Pucci accompanied the two on their journey to Bohemia. He was at Prague with them by August Dee's spiritual diaries are enlivened by periodic bouts of obvious paranoia, but on this occasion his apprehensions appear well founded. At Erfurt he wrote, "I was sore vexed in mind to think of Pucci his return to our company, as well for his unquiet nature in disputations, as for his blabbing of our secrets without our leave or well liking or any good doing thereby".
Of Pucci, the Welsh magus wrote, "he has laid such a bait for us with our mortal enemy, to entrap us by fair fawning words". They wisely rejected such a seductive offer. By the unstable Pucci had reconverted to Catholicism. One is baffled as to why Dee did not break off such a dangerous acquaintanceship immediately, assuming that Pucci's move was sincerely meant and not a mere ploy to deceive the Catholic authorities.
But he did not and the uneasy relationship continued for some time. That Dee saw his own circle as being essentially a formal sect is implied by a later comment he made on Pucci, whom he dismissed as "being but a probationer, not yet allowed of, and to us known to be cut off. Dee himself had ambitions to enter a yet higher body. At a seance in Prague on August 20 the Spirit Uriel had communicated with him, and Dee poured his heart out: he was "most desirous to be entered speedily into the School of Wisdom And what can be said of Dee's religious standpoint when in Bohemia?
The Lutheran Budovec described his reception by Rudolph II at the time: he "was at first well received by him; he predicted that a miraculous reformation would presently come about in the Christian world and would prove the ruin not only of the city of Constantinople but of Rome also.
These predictions he did not cease to spread among the populace. When the Pope was informed he rightly feared the appearance of a new sect. Evans's summing up of Dee as a believer in a kind of mystical universal revelation strikes me as utterly inadequate, perhaps tending to indicate the magus was a quietist, a follower of a passive Christian route.
John Dee and the Secret Societies
His pursuit of angelic guidance was consciously functional, intended to steer his various enterprises — the explorations in the Americas, for example, or the rejigging of the political map of Central Europe, with Rudolph II seen as the great prize. Dr Adam Clarke, Hebraist, alchemist, astrologer and kabbalist, was arguably the leading Methodist intellectual of the early 19th century.
Tragically, his manuscript "Mysterium Liber" seems to have utterly vanished from the face of the earth. But at least we have Clarke's note describing this fascinating effort: "N. As it is assembd that the six books of Mysteries transcribed from the papers of Dr. John Dee by Elias Ashmole, Esq. Dee was employed sometimes as an official agent openly, and at other times as a spy, I purpose to make an extract from the whole work, and endeavour, if possible, to get a key to open the Mysteries.
In tracing the origins of Rosicrucianism, commentators have often turned to the mysterious journeyings of Nicholas Barnaud, a Huguenot alchemist around whom an enormous mystique has gathered over the centuries. This ultra-radical work, which was greatly expanded in subsequent editions, betrays a line of thought more consistent with the revolutionaries of than with the Huguenot aristocrats and their pet theologians of the s.
Virulently anti-church in sentiment, the author insists on the marriage of priests and the abolition of tithes, pursues the theme of a grand Huguenot alliance with the house of Guise to overthrow the Valois dynasty, justifies tyrannicide and the right of resistance to oppression, and outlines a novel form of political control for society with clear republican implications. Both John Dee and Gabriel Harvey owned copies of the work.
Many pseudonymous works have been linked to Barnaud's name and no satisfactory biographical sketch has ever been produced. This raises an intriguing possibility, hitherto unnoticed by historians, for in the Return of Aliens for November in London we encounter "Jacques Taffyn, who was recejver to the kinge of Fraunce, borne at Tourney in Flanders Anne his wife, borne at Tourney. Guy Barnarde and Nicholas Barnarde, brothers to the aforesaid Anna, Settling in France in his autumnal years, he was excommunicated by his local church described as "that pest".
His religious sentiments leaned towards those of Socinus — who rejected the Holy Trinity. We must now proceed from Barnaud the politician to Barnaud the alchemist. Two of his alchemical tracts were published in Holland by Christopher Raphelengius, grand-son of the Familist Christopher Plantin; the others were brought out at Leyden by Thomas Basson, an Englishman of the Familist persuasion.
He studied the similarities of the angelic conversations with various texts, among others by Ficino , Agrippa von Nettesheim and Johannes Trithemius , as well as the widespread biblical apocrypha and pseudepigraphy.
Dee was able to write several books considering his new occupation and received many invitations by high ranked politicians. After six years of absence, which he lived as a nomad in Europe, Dee came back to see that his instruments and his impressive library were destroyed.
When Elizabeth passed away, James I became her successor and found no reason to support Dee anymore, since he did not believe in anything supernatural. However, when Dee turned to him in for help with the charges brought against him, he promptly rejected him. So he spent his last years in poverty and died in late or early in Mortlake.