Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Seers, Mystics and 16th Century Royalty

Readers of my series know that the mystical world--whether it's relics of startling power, ancient prophecies or a magician's hex--plays a part in the stories. But this is not a fanciful decision on my part. Seers and astrologers and necromancers were part of life in the 16th century, in a way not often captured in historical fiction.

Three men in particular stand out: Michel de Nostredame (Nostradamus), Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and Dr John Dee. In a recent article I share my research on them:

On January 12, 1559, Elizabeth Tudor entered the Tower of London to prepare for her coronation as Queen of England. Her half-sister, Mary I, had died on November 17th and Elizabeth seized the reins of power immediately, but the all-important coronation was not set to take place until nearly two months later.

The date when Elizabeth would ride through the city of London to Westminster Abbey was January 15th. At the suggestion of Robert Dudley, Elizabeth consulted Dr. John Dee, the astrologist and scholar who later served as Shakespeare's inspiration for Prospero in The Tempest. Dee chose the date as most favorable to a successful reign.

Dr. John Dee

Elizabeth's years of reliance on Dee puzzles some people today. How could the Tudor queen, educated, enlightened and brilliant, known for saying, "I would not open windows into men's souls," make decisions based on an astrologer? But to wonder that misreads the importance of men like John Dee in the 16th century. The more well versed in the Renaissance the ruler was, the more he or she favored the educated seers and wizards....

The rest of the post can be found here.

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