- (1527-1608)English natural philosopher, alchemist, astrologer, and mathematician, famous for his learning in scientific and occult subjects, but also suspected as a person whose occult interests might involve contact with evil spirits. These suspicions were deepened by his efforts, with the aid of his "scryer" or medium Edward Kelly, to establish communication with angels in order to learn about the world of nature. The son of a London merchant, Dee received an excellent humanistic education and took B.A. and M.A. degrees at Cambridge, but natural philosophy and the occult sciences became his principal interest. Although he won some patronage fromEnglish politicians such as William Cecil and Robert Dudley, he never gained much financial support from his own sovereigns, and he died in relative poverty. Dee travelled widely in Europe seeking financial support. He spent several years at the court of the Emperor Rudolf II in Prague but eventually returned home when he realized that the emperor was interested only in his ability to transmute base metals into gold. He left behind a reputation for profound learning. His large library eventually was acquired by the Bodleian Library at Oxford.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.
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