I just discovered the connection between James Bond, and John Dee. It appears that I am the candidate for James Bond incarnated. Nine days ago I claimed Krumlov castle. Yesterday, the Enemy of the American People attended a wedding in Austria. So many things elect me – for so many things! Those who reject me – elect me!
At the base of the Family Tree is Krumlov Castle where John Dee lived.
John Presco 007
On this day, August 10, 2018, I claim all castles and lands that the Rosenberg, Seinsheim, and Schwarzenberg family acquired as rulers of Bohemia and Czechoslovakia . Erkinger Seinsheim is my 14th. great grandfather, and, Peter von Rosenberg, my 15th. This is approximate, and needs more study.
I was destined to save the land of my ancestors from Putin, the Ult-right, and Donald Trump who declared NATO an enemy of the United States. NATO was founded in order to save Czechoslovakia from the Soviet Union. There will be many posts on this Quest, that is a Dynastic as well as Political and National device to save NATO and all of Europe. Scroll down to see the property I might soon own.
God has blessed my endeavor and fills the sky with falling stars, as did fill the heavens when I was born on October 8, 1946
President: Royal Rosamond Press
Centuries before Ian Fleming would write James Bond into existence, another man signed letters with “007.” That man, John Dee, was a mathematician, astronomer, and (some say) magician. He was also a trusted member of Queen Elizabeth I’s court. Some historians say that Dee was a spy for Elizabeth, thus making him an even more fitting inspiration for Ian Fleming’s hero.
Early Academic Accomplishments
Born in 1527, John Dee would later earn a reputation as one of the most learned men of his age. He attended St. John’s College, Cambridge from 1542 until 1546. He was so successful that he was made a fellow at Trinity College. It was there, working on a stage performance of Aristophanes’ Peace, that Dee gained attention for being a magician; apparently his stage effects were so clever, the audience could find no natural explanation for them.
Dee spent the late 1540s and the early 1550s traveling throughout Europe. He studied at Leuven in Brussels and delivered a lecture on Euclid in Paris. Dee met and befriended legendary cartographer Gerardus Mercator, and when he returned to England he brought a significant collection of astronomical and mathematical instruments. Soon after, Dee became a tutor to the court. The relationship with young Princess Elizabeth would prove a pivotal one.
Dabbling in Dangerous Studies
Dee had long been fascinated with astrology. In 1555, he created horoscopes for both Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth. Though this wasn’t necessarily an offense unto itself, he discussed Mary’s horoscope with Elizabeth. Thus, Dee was arrested for “attempting to calculate nativities,” which was elevated to a charge of treason. It’s not certain how Dee convinced the court of his innocence, but it may have had to do with his supposed occult powers. After one man testified against Dee, one of his children died and another was struck blind. Dee was released to the custody of Catholic Bishop Bronner for religious examination. The two would form a strong relationship; Dee was actually quite religious.
The following year Dee presented an interesting proposal to Queen Mary: he suggested the foundation of a national library and requested funds to start the project. Mary rejected the plan, so Dee set about building his own personal library. He amassed an incredible collection of rare books and manuscripts, one that far surpassed the collections of England’s universities. Dee focused on mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, and the supernatural.
A Closer Relationship with the Court
By the time Elizabeth rose to the court in 1558, Dee had already become her closest personal advisor. Elizabeth even entrusted him with choosing an auspicious day for her coronation. Dee would counsel the queen on all things scientific and astrological. Thanks to his knowledge of astronomy, key to nautical navigation at the time, Dee would also serve as the advisor for England’s voyages of discovery. He advocated imperialism and was actually the first to use the phrase “British Empire.”
Meanwhile, Dee straddled the worlds of science and mysticism—a proclivity that would win him widespread acclaim. When the Spanish Armada loomed in the British Channel, Dee counseled patience. Soon enough, a violent storm arrived and destroyed the Spanish fleet. People credited Dee with conjuring the storm. And in 1572, when a new star appeared in the sky, Dee was summoned to explain the phenomenon.
Dee often corresponded with the queen on confidential matters. He took to signing his letters “007” to designate letters for the queen’s eyes only. The zeroes represented eyes, and the seven was thought to be a lucky number that offered protection. Many scholars believe that Dee was one of Elizabeth’s spies, and that his travels throughout Europe were not for “spiritual conferences,” but rather to gather intelligence. It’s known that Elizabeth employed a number of spies, especially after the Pope declared her an illegitimate ruler in 1570. She was constantly threatened by conspiracy plots, all of which were quashed by her secret service. Dee would have been a formidable member of this team; his reputation for magic preceded him, and he was obviously well connected through his position at court.
A New Spiritual Journey
By the early 1580s, Dee had grown dissatisfied with his lack of recognition—and his lack of progress in understanding nature. He turned his attention to the supernatural. Dee attempted to contact angels through a crystal-gazer. In 1582, Dee met Edward Kelley, and the pair began the pursue supernatural studies together. They conducted their “spiritual conferences” with great piety. Dee truly believed that his efforts could improve the world, and he eventually ended up traveling throughout Europe to consult with high-powered leaders. He had audiences with Emperor Rudolf II in Prague and with King Stefan Batory of Poland.
During this period, Dee claimed that angels dictated entire books to him. Some were in the Enochan language, which he and Kelley created. But he didn’t always appreciate the angels’ council. In 1587, Kelley claimed that the angel Uriel had ordered Kelley and Dee to share their wives with each other. Though Dee initially consented, he soon broke away from Kelley and returned to England.
Dee came back to find that his vast library had been pillaged of its best books, manuscripts, and instruments. He also found Queen Elizabeth less willing to help him. She finally made him Warden of Christ’s College, a Protestant institution where the fellows detested Dee. After Elizabeth’s death, James I had no sympathy for Dee. He died in poverty, tended by his daughter.
For a list of collectible titles spanning more than 60 years,
What do the mystical Dr. John Dee and the spy James Bond have in common? A lot more than meets the eye.
Dr. John Dee was a sixteenth century alchemist, magician, and Christian cabalist who so entranced Queen Elizabeth that she even had Dee run her astrological chart to pick the most propitious day and time for her coronation. His home at Mortlake contained more books than any private library in England as well as a magic mirror that, it was said, would astound all who dared look at their reflection. When he wasn’t in England he traveled the continent to the courts of emperors and princes. He was also a spy.
England was a hotbed of political intrigue when Elizabeth took the throne. Plots and counterplots, assassinations, and threats of war were constant. She needed those she could count on to keep her on the throne. Francis Walsingham was Elizabeth’s chief spymaster. He seemed the right man for the job as his motto was Video et taceo, “See and be Silent.” The Queen trusted very few individuals and wanted her intelligence reported directly. Dee reported only to the Queen and Walsingham. The Queen would sign her dispatches to Dr. Dee as “M,” just as James Bond’s boss. Dee referred to himself as agent “007” preceding James Bond’s code name by nearly four centuries. The Earl of Leicester, a very important member of the court, who had been tutored by Dr. Dee as a child, would use a similar code. He marked his secret correspondence with two dots, or two number “0”s representing eyes. Dee would address his correspondence to the Queen with a heading “For Your Eye’s Only.”
John Dee had a great influence on his world. It was he who convinced the Queen she had rights in the Americas. It was he whose texts on navigation went beyond science and envisioned a British world ruled by a British navy long before the age of Imperialism. He made strides in the sciences but never received the credit for his work as he had also delved into the black arts and alchemy.
Dee, along with Sir Francis Bacon, is considered at least the inspiration for, if not the co-founder of, the Rosicrucian brotherhood. Because the brotherhood was not an organization in Dee’s time, there was no established organization or rules, officers, or even members. It was what it claimed to be, a brotherhood of “Invisibles,” and for good reason. To be a visible proponent of any science condemned by the Church could shorten one’s life expectancy considerably. Many of the texts of the Rosicrucians were written anonymously or with pen names like the famous Christian Rosenkreutz. A coded device Dee used on his writings called the “Monas hieroglyphica” is shared by one of the earliest known Rosicrucian writings, Confessio Fraternitatis.
There is a considerable amount of certainty that the Rosicrucian brotherhood played a great part in Dee’s role as Elizabeth’s spy. His position of court mystic, his connection to the “Invisibles” and his gifts that bordered on the supernatural, at least in appearance, would help in admitting him to the esoteric circles of Europe. He left for the continent at age twenty, and his travels included a stint working for the Muscovy Company advancing Anglo-Russian trade.
Ian Fleming’s biography has numerous similarities, including considerable evidence that the same esoteric studies and connection to the Rosicrucian brotherhood played a role in the life of James Bond’s creator.
Fleming was born into an immensely wealthy Scottish family. His grandfather, Robert Fleming, had started managing money as a sideline to his mercantile business, then in 1873 he created a family bank. The bank would survive a century and eventually be sold to Chase Manhattan Bank (now J.P. Morgan Chase) for $7.7 billion dollars. Grandfather Robert’s fortune might have relieved his heirs from needing an occupation, but Ian went to work for Reuters while his brother Peter became a well-known travel writer. From an early age Ian was inspired by the mystical arts. His father had been killed in the First World War and his mother, Evelyn St. Croix-Rose (Rosy Cross?) was not close to him.
His education started at the Durnford School near the estate of the Fleming family, whose motto was “The World is Not Enough.”
After a less than stellar performance at Eton and Sandhurst, Fleming’s mother sent him to the continent at about the same age as John Dee. There, in Austria, he studied Jung’s works on both alchemy and psychology with the Adlerian disciple Forbes Dennis.
Alfred Adler was an Austrian doctor who broke with Freud and split the science of psychology in half. Freud booted out anyone who had agreed with Adler. Adler favored feminism and introduced the concept that the dynamics associated with masculine and feminine principles were the key to understanding human psychology. This theme, as well as Fleming’s association with semi-occult circles, would find its way into his spy novels.
Fleming’s circle also included England’s Bloomsbury Set, a group of writers, intellectuals, and artists whose works greatly influenced the twentieth century: economist Maynard Keynes, author E.M. Forster, feminist writer Virginia Woolf, and scholar Lytton Strachney of Cambridge. Several were also members of the “Cambridge Apostles,” a group of twelve men that included Keynes, Forster, and Strachney as well as the spy Anthony Blunt. Their influence on Fleming might have been strong, but it ended as the war exposed two of them, Anthony Blunt and Lewis Daly, as spies against their own country during the First World War. Later the London Morning Post broke the story of the Bloomsbury Set celebrating the Black Mass. Soon after, their ranks were reduced by two suicides and otherwise premature deaths. Fleming’s reputation was unscathed by his connections.
He soon left England and traveled the world for Reuters and the Times. At nearly the same age, again, as Dr. Dee, Fleming went to Russia. It is certain that by 1939 when he was sent to Moscow he was acting officially as part of British intelligence. He was soon given the title Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, as would his avatar James Bond. Dee of course had been instrumental in setting up the Royal Navy.
One of Fleming’s most important roles was in coming up with a defense plan for Gibraltar. His secret code name was Operation Goldeneye. It had an occult meaning referring to the third or inner eye that was necessary to achieve the higher plane of understanding, gnosis. The name of the operation would later serve as the name for his home on the lush island of Jamaica and of the Bond movie of that name.
He played a role in tricking Rudolf Hess into flying to England. He knew Hess was a student of astrology and could be lured to England through the mystical arts. He consulted with the most renowned of Europe’s occultists, the Great Beast himself, Aleister Crowley. A plan was devised to lure Hess through a bogus horoscope. In January of 1941 an astrologer who was secretly a British intelligence agent convinced Hess of the need to meet the Duke of Hamilton. As a result of trickery and astrology, Hess parachuted into the hands of the RAF and was captured. This began a purge of occultists in Nazi Germany which was no small matter as the Nazi party was full of those who espoused neo-paganism, theosophical occultism mixed with a mystical desire for racial purity.
Crowley’s role was limited as he was not trusted in the mission, but he would anyway be resurrected in Casino Royale as Chiffre, a word implying Cipher.
Fleming was not the only spy interested in magic and the occult. Even the logo of the MI5 contained a pyramid and an “all-seeing eye.”
Possibly Fleming’s most important work was in being sent to the United States to participate in setting up a joint American-British intelligence network. America was not looking to get into the war against Germany. Parties like America First advocated isolationism while others even leaned towards the Fascists. British intelligence was on a mission to change all that. They took an active role in courting the politicians and the media and on occasion worked against those who worked against Roosevelt’s aid policies. The role was more often diplomatic than physical, but there were occasions that sparked Fleming’s interest that led to the creation of James Bond.
The British MI6 and the early OSS (then known as the COI) were housed in Rockefeller Center. Also housed there was the Japanese consul general’s office. Fleming participated in a late night break-in with a safecracker. They opened the offices, opened the safe, copied all the Japanese codebooks, and relocked the offices just in time. Fleming would also use this adventure in Casino Royale, and his role would earn Bond his “00” designation.
Thanks to his role as a spy, he became enamored by the odd gadgets used in spycraft and always carried a commando knife and a trick fountain pen that fired tear gas. He also was fond of the adventure.
After the war Fleming went back to journalism. He also wanted to write, and his contract as a journalist gave him two to three months each year to work on his fiction writing. One of his fellow spies had been Ivar Bryce, who had bought a home in Red Hills, Jamaica, and would find Fleming a property there as well. His fellow boss Bill Stephenson who had headed British intelligence in the United States along with author Noel Coward were regular visitors. Coward described the décor as temple-like with numerous snakes depicted on the walls. There for at least two or three months each year, Fleming settled down to write.
There are numerous theories for much of what has gone into or influenced Fleming’s work. His main character shares initials with the two pillars of Freemasonry, Joachim and Boaz. Such pillars have appeared in Masonic temples everywhere, and for centuries.
His tales can be read on two levels. Author Umberto Eco would remark that all of Fleming’s novels had a similar formula plot. “M” would give Bond a mission. The villain would appear to Bond or Bond to the villain. Next, a woman would appear to Bond. Bond would possess her. Later the villain would take Bond. Finally Bond would be victorious and unite again with the woman. Philip Gardiner in The Bond Code would compare this to the alchemist’s true goal of finding or transforming himself.
In many of Bond’s adventures, he finds the codes behind many of the characters created by Fleming. Often they translate into a loosely coded story of good overcoming evil, the light overcoming the darkness, and only after gnosis is achieved. Fleming even made a statement that James Bond was a Manichean. This refers to the followers of Mani whose “heresy” of dualism so disturbed the Church. Mani’s influence would last until the purge of the Cathars in the thirteenth century and beyond.
In Mani’s dualistic world, it is a constant battle of Evil and Good. Evil in the Bond novels is personified as Le Chiffre, Mr. Big, Hugo Drax, Kanaga, and Baron Samedi. The last refers to a Voodoo cult figure, an “Invisible,” or a dark angel. The evil characters are eventually defeated by Bond with the help of his female companions. The female names have an occult theme as well but represent knowledge or the search for gnosis. Solitaire (the tarot reader and fortune teller), Gala Brand (merry fire), Vesper Lynd (night born), and Vivienne (a life-giving goddess) take the role of the feminine side, along with those of more comical names, the lighter side of Bond created characters like Pussy Galore from people he knew. “Pussy” was the nickname of his neighbor and occasional lover Blanche Blackwell.
After a heart attack, he declared “I have always smoked and drank and loved too much….Then I shall have died of living too much.” A second heart attack made his prediction come true, claiming his life on August 12, 1964. He was only 56.
While he lived as a man of the world, he is buried in Sevenhampton, a small English village two miles from a bus stop. His grave is marked by an obelisk atop four stones.
A 16th-century portrait by an unknown artist
|Born||(1527-07-13)13 July 1527
Tower Ward, London
|Died||December 1608 or March 1609 (age 81)
Mortlake, Surrey, England
|Alma mater||St John’s College, Cambridge
|Known for||Advisor to Queen Elizabeth I|
|Fields||Mathematics, alchemy, astrology, Hermeticism, navigation,|
|Institutions||Trinity College, Cambridge
Christ’s College, Manchester
|Academic advisors||Gemma Frisius, Gerardus Mercator|
|Notable students||Thomas Digges|
John Dee (13 July 1527 – 1608 or 1609) was an English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occult philosopher, and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy. He was also an advocate of England’s imperial expansion into a “British Empire“, a term he is generally credited with coining.
Dee straddled the worlds of modern science and magic just as the former was emerging. One of the most learned men of his age, he had been invited to lecture on the geometry of Euclid at the University of Paris while still in his early twenties. Dee was an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, as well as a leading expert in navigation, having trained many of those who would conduct England’s voyages of discovery.
Simultaneously with these efforts, Dee immersed himself in the worlds of magic, astrology and Hermetic philosophy. He devoted much time and effort in the last thirty years or so of his life to attempting to commune with angels in order to learn the universal language of creation and bring about the pre-apocalyptic unity of mankind. However, Robert Hooke suggested in the chapter Of Dr. Dee’s Book of Spirits, that John Dee made use of Trithemian steganography, to conceal his communication with Elizabeth I. A student of the Renaissance Neo-Platonism of Marsilio Ficino, Dee did not draw distinctions between his mathematical research and his investigations into Hermetic magic, angel summoning and divination. Instead he considered all of his activities to constitute different facets of the same quest: the search for a transcendent understanding of the divine forms which underlie the visible world, which Dee called “pure verities”.
In his lifetime, Dee amassed one of the largest libraries in England. His high status as a scholar also allowed him to play a role in Elizabethan politics. He served as an occasional advisor and tutor to Elizabeth I and nurtured relationships with her ministers Francis Walsingham and William Cecil. Dee also tutored and enjoyed patronage relationships with Sir Philip Sidney, his uncle Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, and Edward Dyer. He also enjoyed patronage from Sir Christopher Hatton.
- 2Personal life
- 4Reputation and significance
- 5Literary and cultural references
- 6See also
- 9External links
Dee was born in Tower Ward, London, to Rowland Dee, of Welsh descent, and Johanna Wild. His surname “Dee” derived from the Welsh du (black); his grandfather was Bedo Ddu of Nant-y-groes, Pilleth, Radnorshire, and John retained his connection with the locality. His father Roland was a mercer and gentleman courtier to Henry VIII. John Dee claimed to be a descendant of Rhodri the Great, Prince of Wales and constructed a pedigree showing his descent from Rhodri. Dee’s family arrived in London in the wake of Henry Tudor’s coronation as Henry VII. Jane Dee was the daughter of William Wild.
Dee attended the Chelmsford Chantry School (now King Edward VI Grammar School) from 1535 to 1542. He entered St John’s College, Cambridge, in November 1542, aged 15, graduating BA in 1545 or early 1546. His abilities recognised, he became an original fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, on its founding by Henry VIII in 1546. At Trinity, the clever stage effects he produced for a production of Aristophanes‘ Peace procured him the reputation of being a magician that clung to him through life. In the late 1540s and early 1550s, he travelled in Europe, studying at Louvain (1548) and Brussels and lecturing in Paris on Euclid. He studied with Gemma Frisius and became a close friend of the cartographer Gerardus Mercator and cartographer Abraham Ortelius. Dee also travelled extensively throughout Europe meeting and working with as well as learning from other leading continental mathematicians such as Federico Commandino in Italy. He returned to England with an important collection of mathematical and astronomical instruments. In 1552, he met Gerolamo Cardano in London: during their acquaintance they investigated a perpetual motion machine as well as a gem purported to have magical properties.
Rector at Upton-upon-Severn from 1553, Dee was offered a readership in mathematics at Oxford in 1554, which he declined; he was occupied with writing and perhaps hoped for a better position at court. In 1555, Dee became a member of the Worshipful Company of Mercers, as his father had, through the company’s system of patrimony.
That same year, 1555, he was arrested and charged with “calculating” for having cast horoscopes of Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth; the charges were expanded to treason against Mary. Dee appeared in the Star Chamber and exonerated himself, but was turned over to the Catholic Bishop Bonner for religious examination. His strong and lifelong penchant for secrecy perhaps worsening matters, this entire episode was only the most dramatic in a series of attacks and slanders that would dog Dee throughout his life. Clearing his name yet again, he soon became a close associate of Bonner.
Dee presented Queen Mary with a visionary plan for the preservation of old books, manuscripts and records and the founding of a national library, in 1556, but his proposal was not taken up. Instead, he expanded his personal library at his house in Mortlake, tirelessly acquiring books and manuscripts in England and on the European Continent. Dee’s library, a centre of learning outside the universities, became the greatest in England and attracted many scholars.
When Elizabeth took the throne in 1558, Dee became her trusted advisor on astrological and scientific matters, choosing Elizabeth’s coronation date himself. From the 1550s through the 1570s, he served as an advisor to England’s voyages of discovery, providing technical assistance in navigation and ideological backing in the creation of a “British Empire”, a term that he was the first to use. Dee wrote a letter to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, in October 1574 seeking patronage. He claimed to have occult knowledge of treasure in the Welsh Marches, and of valuable ancient manuscripts kept at Wigmore Castle, knowing that the Lord Treasurer‘s ancestors came from this area. In 1577, Dee published General and Rare Memorials pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation, a work that set out his vision of a maritime empire and asserted English territorial claims on the New World. Dee was acquainted with Humphrey Gilbert and was close to Sir Philip Sidney and his circle.
In 1564, Dee wrote the Hermetic work Monas Hieroglyphica (“The Hieroglyphic Monad“), an exhaustive Cabalistic interpretation of a glyph of his own design, meant to express the mystical unity of all creation. Having dedicated it to Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor in an effort to gain patronage, Dee attempted to present it to him during the time of his ascension to the throne of Hungary. This work was esteemed by many of Dee’s contemporaries, but the work can not be interpreted today without the secret oral tradition from that era.
He published a “Mathematical Preface” to Henry Billingsley‘s English translation of Euclid’s Elements in 1570, arguing the central importance of mathematics and outlining mathematics’ influence on the other arts and sciences. Intended for an audience outside the universities, it proved to be Dee’s most widely influential and frequently reprinted work.
One of the important early products of the English School was the first English translation of the Elements of Euclid. This translation was carried out by The Lord Mayor of London Sir Henry Billingsley and not from a Latin translation but direct from the Greek. Published in 1570 this mathematical milestone contained a preface as well as copious notes and supplementary material from John Dee and this preface is considered to be one of Dee’s most important mathematical works.
By the early 1580s, Dee was growing dissatisfied with his progress in learning the secrets of nature as well as his failing influence and recognition in court circles. Failure of his proposed calendar revision, imperial recommendations and ambivalent results from exploration of North America had nearly brought his hopes of political patronage to an end. As a result, he began a more energetic turn towards the supernatural as a means to acquire knowledge. Specifically, he sought to contact spirits through the use of a “scryer” or crystal-gazer, which would act as an intermediary between Dee and the angels.
Dee’s first attempts with several scryers were not satisfactory, but, in 1582, he met Edward Kelley (then going under the name of Edward Talbot to disguise his conviction for “coining” or forgery), who impressed him greatly with his abilities. Dee took Kelley into his service and began to devote all his energies to his supernatural pursuits. These “spiritual conferences” or “actions” were conducted with an air of intense Christian piety, always after periods of purification, prayer and fasting. Dee was convinced of the benefits they could bring to mankind. (The character of Kelley is harder to assess: some have concluded that he acted with complete cynicism, but delusion or self-deception are not out of the question. Kelley’s “output” is remarkable for its sheer volume, its intricacy and its vividness). Dee maintained that the angels laboriously dictated several books to him this way, through Kelley, some in a special angelic or Enochian language.
In 1583, Dee met the visiting impoverished yet popular Polish nobleman Albert Łaski who, after overstaying his welcome at court, invited Dee to accompany him on his return to Poland. With some prompting by the “angels” (again through Kelley) and his worsening status at court, Dee was persuaded to go. Dee, Kelley and their families left for the Continent in September 1583, but Łaski proved to be bankrupt and out of favour in his own country. Dee and Kelley began a nomadic life in Central Europe, meanwhile continuing their spiritual conferences, which Dee recorded meticulously in his diaries and almanacs. They had audiences with Emperor Rudolf II in Prague Castle and King Stefan Batory of Poland whom they attempted to convince of the importance of angelic communication. The meeting with the Polish King, Stefan Batory, took place at the royal castle at Niepołomice (near Kraków, then the capital of Poland) and was later widely analyzed by Polish historians (Ryszard Zieliński, Roman Żelewski, Roman Bugaj) and writers (Waldemar Łysiak). While generally Dee was accepted as a man of wide and deep knowledge, they mistrusted his connection with the English monarch, Elizabeth I. They could not be sure that their meetings were without political ramifications. Some thought (and still do) that Dee was in fact a spy for the English monarch. Nevertheless, the Polish king, a devout Catholic and very cautious of supernatural media, began their meeting(s) with the affirmation that any prophetic revelations must be in keeping with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the mission of the Holy Catholic Church, and the approval of the Pope.
In 1587, during a spiritual conference in Bohemia, Kelley informed Dee that the angel Uriel had ordered the men to share all their possessions, including their wives. By this time, Kelley had gained some renown as an alchemist and in fact was more sought-after than Dee in this regard: this was a line of work that had prospects for serious and long-term financial gain, especially among the royal families of central Europe. Dee, on the other hand, was more interested in communicating with the angels who he believed would help him solve the mysteries of the heavens through mathematics, optics, astrology, science and navigation. It may be that Kelley in fact wished to end Dee’s dependence on him as a scryer for their increasingly lengthy and frequent spiritual conferences. The order for wife-sharing caused Dee great anguish, but he apparently did not doubt its genuineness. They apparently did share wives. However, Dee broke off the conferences immediately afterwards. Dee returned to England in 1589: Kelley went on to be the alchemist for Emperor Rudolf II. Nine months later, on 28 February 1588, a son was born to Dee’s wife, whom Dee baptised Theodorus Trebonianus Dee and raised as his own. It is possible that this child was Kelley’s; Dee was 60 at the time, Edward Kelley was 32.
Dee returned to Mortlake after six years abroad to find his home vandalized, his library ruined and many of his prized books and instruments stolen. Furthermore, Dee found that increasing criticism of occult practices had made England even more inhospitable to his magical practices and natural philosophy. Dee sought support from Elizabeth, who hoped he could persuade Kelley to return and ease England’s economic burdens through alchemy. She finally appointed Dee Warden of Christ’s College, Manchester, in 1595. This former College of Priests had been re-established as a Protestant institution by a Royal Charter of 1578.
However, he could not exert much control over the Fellows of that College, who despised or cheated him. Early in his tenure, he was consulted on the demonic possession of seven children, but took little interest in the matter, although he did allow those involved to consult his still extensive library.
He left Manchester in 1605 to return to London; however, he remained Warden until his death. By that time, Elizabeth was dead, and James I provided no support. Dee spent his final years in poverty at Mortlake, forced to sell off various of his possessions to support himself and his daughter, Katherine, who cared for him until the end. He died in Mortlake late in 1608 or early 1609 aged 82 (there are no extant records of the exact date as both the parish registers and Dee’s gravestone are missing). In 2013 a memorial plaque to Dee was placed on the south wall of the present church.
Dee was married three times and had eight children. He first married Katherine Constable in 1565; she died in 1574 and their union resulted in no children. His second (also childless) marriage to an unknown woman lasted only a year until her death in 1576. From 1577 to 1601, Dee kept a sporadic diary (also referred to as his “almanac”) from which most of what we know about his life during that time has been gleaned. In 1578 he married the 23-year-old Jane Fromond: Dee was fifty-one at the time. Jane had her own connections to the Elizabethan court: she was a lady in waiting to Elizabeth Clinton, Countess of Lincoln, a position she gave up when she married Dee. When in 1587, Kelley informed Dee of the angel’s wish that they share wives, Jane Dee (née Fromond) was the wife Dee shared with him. Although Dee complied with the angel’s supposed request for a while, he was apparently distressed by the arrangement and it was one reason why the two men parted company not long thereafter. Some believe that Dee’s son Theodore, born nine months later, could have been Kelley’s son, not Dee’s.
Jane died in Manchester of the bubonic plague and was buried in the Manchester Cathedral burial grounds in March 1604. Michael, born in Prague, died on his father’s birthday in 1594. Theodore, born in Třeboň, died in Manchester in 1601. His sons Arthur Dee and Rowland survived him, as did his daughter Katherine “who was his companion to the end”. No records exist for his youngest daughters Madinia, Frances and Margaret after 1604, so it is widely assumed they died in the same epidemic that took their mother. (Dee had by this time ceased keeping his diary).
While Arthur was a student at the Westminster School, Dee wrote a letter to his headmaster that echoes the worries of boarding school parents in every century. Arthur was an apprentice in much of his father’s alchemical and scientific work, and was in fact often his scryer until Kelley came along. Arthur went on to become an alchemist and hermetic author, whose works were published by Elias Ashmole.
As regards Dee’s physical appearance, the antiquary John Aubrey gives the following description: “He was tall and slender. He wore a gown like an artist’s gown, with hanging sleeves, and a slit…. A very fair, clear sanguine complexion… a long beard as white as milk. A very handsome man.”
Dee was influenced by the Hermetic and Platonic–Pythagorean doctrines that were pervasive in the Renaissance. He believed that numbers were the basis of all things and the key to knowledge. From Hermeticism, he drew the belief that man had the potential for divine power, and he believed this divine power could be exercised through mathematics. His ultimate goal was to help bring forth a unified world religion through the healing of the breach of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches and the recapture of the pure theology of the ancients.
Advocacy of English expansion
From 1570 Dee advocated a policy of political and economic strengthening of England and imperial expansion into the New World. In his manuscript, Brytannicae reipublicae synopsis (1570), he outlined the current state of the Elizabethan Realm and was concerned with trade, ethics and national strength.
His 1576 General and rare memorials pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation was the first volume in an unfinished series planned to advocate the rise of imperial expansion. In the highly symbolic frontispiece, Dee included a figure of Britannia kneeling by the shore beseeching Elizabeth I, to protect her empire by strengthening her navy. Dee used Geoffrey‘s inclusion of Ireland in Arthur’s imperial conquests to argue that Arthur had established a ‘British empire’ abroad. He further argued that England exploit new lands through colonisation and that this vision could become reality through maritime supremacy. Dee has been credited with the coining of the term British Empire, however, Humphrey Llwyd has also been credited with the first use of the term in his Commentarioli Britannicae Descriptionis Fragmentum, published eight years earlier in 1568.
Dee posited a formal claim to North America on the back of a map drawn in 1577–80; he noted Circa 1494 Mr Robert Thorn his father, and Mr Eliot of Bristow, discovered Newfound Land. In his Title Royal of 1580, he invented the claim that Madog ab Owain Gwynedd had discovered America, with the intention of ensuring that England’s claim to the New World was stronger than that of Spain. He further asserted that Brutus of Britain and King Arthur as well as Madog had conquered lands in the Americas and therefore their heir Elizabeth I of England had a priority claim there.
Reputation and significance
About ten years after Dee’s death, the antiquarian Robert Cotton purchased land around Dee’s house and began digging in search of papers and artifacts. He discovered several manuscripts, mainly records of Dee’s angelic communications. Cotton’s son gave these manuscripts to the scholar Méric Casaubon, who published them in 1659, together with a long introduction critical of their author, as A True & Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers between Dr. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. and King James their Reignes) and some spirits. As the first public revelation of Dee’s spiritual conferences, the book was extremely popular and sold quickly. Casaubon, who believed in the reality of spirits, argued in his introduction that Dee was acting as the unwitting tool of evil spirits when he believed he was communicating with angels. This book is largely responsible for the image, prevalent for the following two and a half centuries, of Dee as a dupe and deluded fanatic. Around the same time the True and Faithful Relation was published, members of the Rosicrucian movement claimed Dee as one of their number. There is doubt, however, that an organized Rosicrucian movement existed during Dee’s lifetime, and no evidence that he ever belonged to any secret fraternity. Dee’s reputation as a magician and the vivid story of his association with Edward Kelley have made him a seemingly irresistible figure to fabulists, writers of horror stories and latter-day magicians. The accretion of false and often fanciful information about Dee often obscures the facts of his life, remarkable as they are in themselves. It also does nothing to promote his Christian leanings: Dee looked to the angels to speak to him about how he might heal the very deep and serious rifts between the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformed Church of England and the Protestant movement in England. Queen Elizabeth I used him as her court astronomer on a number of occasions not solely because he practised Hermetic arts, but because he was a deeply religious and learned man whom she trusted.
A re-evaluation of Dee’s character and significance came in the 20th century, largely as a result of the work of the historians Charlotte Fell-Smith and Dame Frances Yates. Both writers brought into focus the parallel roles magic, science and religion held in the Elizabethan Renaissance. Fell-Smith writes: “There is perhaps no learned author in history who has been so persistently misjudged, nay, even slandered, by his posterity, and not a voice in all the three centuries uplifted even to claim for him a fair hearing. Surely it is time that the cause of all this universal condemnation should be examined in the light of reason and science; and perhaps it will be found to exist mainly in the fact that he was too far advanced in speculative thought for his own age to understand.”  As a result of this and subsequent re-evaluation, Dee is now viewed as a serious scholar and book-collector, a devoted Christian (albeit during a very confusing time for that faith), an able scientist, and one of the most learned men of his day. His personal library at Mortlake was the largest in the country (before it was vandalized), and was created at enormous and sometimes ruinous personal expense; it was considered one of the finest in Europe, perhaps second only to that of De Thou. As well as being an astrological and scientific advisor to Elizabeth and her court, he was an early advocate of the colonisation of North America and a visionary of a British Empire stretching across the North Atlantic.
Dee promoted the sciences of navigation and cartography. He studied closely with Gerardus Mercator, and he owned an important collection of maps, globes and astronomical instruments. He developed new instruments as well as special navigational techniques for use in polar regions. Dee served as an advisor to the English voyages of discovery, and personally selected pilots and trained them in navigation. He believed that mathematics (which he understood mystically) was central to the progress of human learning. The centrality of mathematics to Dee’s vision makes him to that extent more modern than Francis Bacon, though some scholars believe Bacon purposely downplayed mathematics in the anti-occult atmosphere of the reign of James I. It should be noted, though, that Dee’s understanding of the role of mathematics is radically different from our contemporary view. Dee’s promotion of mathematics outside the universities was an enduring practical achievement. As with most of his writings, Dee chose to write in English, rather than Latin, to make his writings accessible to the general public. His “Mathematical Preface” to Euclid was meant to promote the study and application of mathematics by those without a university education, and was very popular and influential among the “mecanicians”: the new and growing class of technical craftsmen and artisans. Dee’s preface included demonstrations of mathematical principles that readers could perform themselves without special education or training.
During the 20th century, the Municipal Borough of Richmond (now the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames) honoured John Dee by naming a street near Mortlake, where he lived, “Dee Road” after him.
Dee was a friend of Tycho Brahe and was familiar with the work (translated into English by his ward and assistant, Thomas Digges) of Nicolaus Copernicus. Many of his astronomical calculations were based on Copernican assumptions, but he never openly espoused the heliocentric theory. Dee applied Copernican theory to the problem of calendar reform. In 1583, he was asked to advise the Queen about the new Gregorian calendar that had been promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII from October 1582. His advice was that England should accept it, albeit with seven specific amendments. The first of these was that the adjustment should not be the 10 days that would restore the calendar to the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, but by 11 days, which would restore it to the birth of Christ. Another proposal of Dee’s was to align the civil and liturgical years, and to have them both start on 1 January. Perhaps predictably, England chose to spurn any suggestions that had papist origins, despite any merit they may objectively have, and Dee’s advice was rejected.
He has often been associated with the Voynich manuscript. Wilfrid Michael Voynich, who bought the manuscript in 1912, suggested that Dee may have owned the manuscript and sold it to Rudolph II. Dee’s contacts with Rudolph were far less extensive than had previously been thought, however, and Dee’s diaries show no evidence of the sale. Dee was, however, known to have possessed a copy of the Book of Soyga, another enciphered book.