The Magic Circle of Rudolf II

The Magic Circle of Rudolf II

Alchemy and Astrology in Renaissance Prague

Book - 2006
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Rudolf II--Habsburg heir, Holy Roman Emperor, king of Hungary, Germany, and the
Romans--is one of history's great characters, and yet he remains largely an unknown figure. His reign (1576-1612) roughly mirrored that of Queen Elizabeth I of England, and while her famous court is widely recognized as a sixteenth century Who's Who, Rudolf 's collection of mathematicians, alchemists, artists, philosophers and astronomers--among them the greatest and most subversive minds of the time--was no less prestigious and perhaps even more influential.

Driven to understand the deepest secrets of nature and the riddle of existence, Rudolf invited to his court an endless stream of genius--Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, German mathematician Johannes Kepler, English magus John Dee, Francis Bacon, and mannerist painter Giuseppe Archimboldo among many others. Prague became the artistic and scientific center of the known world--an island of intellectual tolerance between Catholicism, Protestantism, and Islam.

Combining the wonders and architectural beauty of sixteenth century Prague with the larger than-life characters of Rudolf's court, Peter Marshall provides an exciting new perspective on the pivotal moment of transition between medieval and modern, when the foundation was laid for the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.

Publisher: New York : Walker & Company, 2006.
ISBN: 9780802715517
0802715516
Branch Call Number: 943.7120232
DS2622 .M37 2006
943.7120232092 Mar
Characteristics: 276 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.

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j
jbmclallen
Feb 27, 2012

This is the best piece of historical non-fiction I have ever read. Marshall gives a wonderful overview of the cast of characters inspiring the Court of Rudolf II at the end of the Renaissance. These characters built the foundational pillars that would produce the "Age of Enlightenment," the time period that would in turn embark upon the American experiment and the paradigm of our current moment. If one has ever used the word "bohemian" in a sentence then one should read this book and actually think about what the term truly means.

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