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John Dee - Public domain portrait engraving

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John Dee - Public domain portrait engraving

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John Dee (1527 – 1608 or 1609)

Public domain photograph of renaissance portrait painting, 16th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description

John Dee, 1527 - 1608, was an English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and occultist who is often associated with magic and the occult. He served as an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and is best known for his work as a mathematician and astronomer, but he also had a deep interest in occult and esoteric knowledge. Dee believed that the universe was governed by mathematical principles and that understanding these principles would lead to a deeper understanding of the natural world and its relationship to the divine. He saw magic as a way to unlock these hidden truths and communicate with spiritual beings. Dee's magical practices involved various rituals, scrying, and communication with angels. He developed a system of angelic communication known as Enochian magic, which he claimed was revealed to him through his scrying sessions with his assistant, Edward Kelley. According to Dee, the Enochian language was the language of angels, and he believed that by communicating with these angelic entities, he could gain insights into divine knowledge and uncover hidden mysteries. Dee's magical work and involvement in the occult were controversial during his time. While he had influential patrons and supporters, he also faced criticism and accusations of sorcery. His reputation as a magician and occultist has persisted throughout history, and he is often considered one of the most famous figures in Western esotericism. It's important to note that magic, as understood by Dee and other occultists of his time, was not the same as stage magic or illusion. It was a belief system and a practice that sought to tap into supernatural forces and gain access to hidden knowledge and power. "The character of Dee, our English Faust, as he is not inaptly called, has both been misrepresented and misunderstood. An enthusiast he undoubtedly was, but not the driveling dotard that some of his biographers imagined. A man of profound learning, distinguished for attainments far beyond the general range of his contemporaries, he, like Faustus, and the wisest of humankind, had found out how little he knew; had perceived that the great ocean of truth yet lay unexplored before him. Pursuing his enquiries to the bound and limit, as he thought, of human knowledge, and finding it together vanity, he had recourse to forbidden practices, to experiments through which the occult and hidden qualities of nature and spirit should be unveiled and subdued to his own will. " - Jonh Roby, Traditions of Lancashire, 1829

Spanish collar, ruff or gorgera first appeared about 1560, and was at first open at the neck. After 1570 it becomes closed. It was gradually increasing in diameter reaching 25-30 cm, and by the 1580s the collar became known as the “millstone” or “cartwheel” which required a supporting frame. The collar was made from layers of plaited linen or lace. The Dutchwoman Dangen van Pless at the court of the English Queen Elizabeth I introduced starch that was initially yellowish, which made the collars creamy. Some tinted them with saffron in a golden hue and dyed them with natural dyes in pink or lilac colors. The rigidity of gorgera forced its owner to keep his posture, and for his impracticality, ruff became a symbol of wealth and status and contributed to the spread of the fork, the use of which made it possible to protect the collar from soiling with food. Gorgers were banned in Spain by King Philip IV. Spain was involved in endless wars against the growing Protestant world and in desperate need for cash. Philip announced an austerity program, condemned extravagance, and introduced the concept of simple, pragmatic living. Forcing people to live pragmatically was fairly difficult. Eventually, the inquisition found a way - it banned the ruffed collars and starch, as a "tool of the devil". Alquacils, inquisition enforcers of justice, were armed with scissors and prowled the streets of Madrid enforcing the ban. Shops were raided and gorgera merchandise burned. By the middle of the 17th century, ruff had decreased in diameter and almost did not use starch. The fashion lingered longer in the Dutch Republic, where ruffs can be seen in portraits well into the seventeenth century. In Germany and Flanders, ruff was worn until the beginning of the 18th century. In the 18th century, it remained for a long time among the Jews as an obligatory part of the costume.

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1500 - 1600
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john dee
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