[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Czech references (was Re: About Thaddeus Hajek)

Rene Zandbergen wrote:

> > [...] I suspect he had the book by
> > Jaroslav Svatek, _Obrazy z kulturnych dejin..._ with
> > him and that is where the information not found in English
> > publications comes from.
> Has this been translated into English? There is a reference to
> the above (actually Josef Svatek, or is that the same?) in:

Oops... yes, obviosly that is the same. I had just J. Svatek
at hand and perhaps thought about Hasek :-) I do not think
it was translated into English. There was a German version
published in Prague, however, at about the same time.
This is the one I have but it seems to be abridged
(or earlier version) as some facts people quote from
the Czech version cannot be found in this one (unless
it is "creative quoting"). No! - I have found it:
the German edition was 1879 and the Czech one 1891.
So the latter was considerably updated.

>   Voynich, a preliminary sketch of the history of the Roger
>   Bacon cipher MS, 1921.
> Voynich writes:
>   Swatek, the Bohemian historian, records, and the American
>   chemist, Henry Carrington Bolton, repeats after him, that
>   during his various visits to Prague (1584-1588), Dee talked
>   with emperor Rudolph for hours about the secrets and
>   inventions of Roger Bacon.
> The reference for Bolton is: The Follies of Science, Milwaukee,
> 1904.

Svatek was not a historian but a journalist (which explains
why there are no proper references in his books). Bolton's
opinion is, obviously, irrelevant.

> Elsewhere, I have read that Dee only ever had one interview with
> Rudolf.

That is correct (as far as I can see from available sources).
On 3 Sep 1584 Dee had "a large hour audience of his Majesty"
(AT&FR p. 230-231), before which he had sent Rudolph a letter
and a copy of _Monas Hieroglyphica_ (which had been dedicated
to his father Maximilian II). Later he wrote letters to Rudolph
which were either intercepted by his enemies or the Emperor 
did not bother to reply. He was clearly unimpressed by Dee's
inspired talk. Later, when he was allowed to stay in Bohemia
(after being expelled first) but only within the estates of
Rozmberk, it seems from his diaries that (unlike Kelley)
he obeyed this restriction. So - it is highly unlikely
he sold VMs to Rudolph, and especially that it happened
in the summer of 1586 when they were expelled and mistreated
by the Emperor.

> Another source which was recommended by Lubos Antonin is the
> historian (and friend of Marci) Bohuslav Balbin. Apparently he has
> written a long anecdotal work in Latin, which has been
> translated into Czech only in a very abridged manner. That is
> apparently a standard school book of Czech history, but the original
> is very little read and may contain some 'trouvailles'.

Yes - and there are certainly tons of other works, memoirs etc.
that may contain important information. But to go through
them not living in Prague (not to mention language barriers)
is rather difficult (to put it mildly).

> Actually, he used a 'w', but in any case, the proper name would have
> been
> Mnis'ovsky (cf. Otto, although he is listed under Missowsky).

There was no standard orthography then (of course) so his name was
probably spelt differently in various places. 

> > I believe rather strongly that it was not so. Perhaps I will
> > write a separate message explaining why.
> Looking forward!

I started writing about it but it is getting out of control so
perhaps I will make it a Web page. One of the arguments is
the one above - Dee did not "talk with emperor Rudolph for 
hours about the secrets and inventions of Roger Bacon".
Or at least there is no evidence for this - and much evidence
against it.

> Do you have easy access to a copy of Pelzel? Should you
> be able to obtain copies of the portraits of Horcicky and
> Missowsky, they would look so nice at my web pages.... (hint, hint).
> Only if it is not too much hassle of course.

I had thought about it, too. Will check if it is available
at the libraries here... BTW: I have nice 19th c. engravings 
based on Casaubon of Dee and Kelley, and one of Olbracht 
Laski on my Web pages - if anyone is interested.

Best regards,