Today in World History: July 13th

John Dee, adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, mathematician, astrologer, philosopher, and alchemist, was born on this day in 1527. Born in London, England, to minor courtiers, his drive for knowledge brought him success, leading him to own one of the biggest libraries in London. Dee also dabbled in the magic arts, studying the work of those such as Nicholas Flamel in his search for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. Despite his reputation and connection to Queen Elizabeth, who trusted him deeply, Dee’s practices became increasingly criticized by the population, as witchcraft prosecution was reaching its height in England and science and magic began to be seen as separate entities. Despite this, Dee lived a long life, dying at the age of eighty-two in his hometown of London, in late 1608 or early 1609. His work was very popular during the Elizabethan Era, being frequently cited by the philosophers and scientists of the time, after his work was published by an antiquarian more than ten years after Dee’s death. In 2013, a plaque was erected in hi memory, inside the church where he was buried, the church of St Mary the Virgin Mortlake.

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