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Re: VMs: Evidence review
> [Jeff:] I have always taken it on trust that the VMS was actually owned by
> Emperor Rudolph. As my current thinking is now based on this I
> would like to review the actual evidence.
> [Jan:] So your "solid" evidence is actually only third hand
> information, providing Dr. Raphael was told about it directly by
> Rudolph :-).
This (like most everything one could ask, it seems) was discussed
some time ago in the list.
Besides the problem of it being third-hand information, one should
note that Rudolph's hypothetical acquisition of the VMS is unlikely to
have happened after 1611. I know of no evidence that Raphael had much
contact with Rudolph: according to Rene's bio he was hired by Rudolf's
son Ferdinand II, then governor of Styria, and may not have spent much
time in Prague until he became attached to the appeal's court in 1622.
Raphael died in 1644 at age 64. The VMS was in Baresch's hands
presumably from some time before 1637 until his death sometime before
1662. Marci wrote the letter to Kircher in 1665, when he was 70 and in
So Rudolf's involvement is based on story that Marci had heard at
least 21 years earlier, from Raphael who had learned it some 35 years
One argument against the story: according to all specialists, the VMS
author is not Bacon. So if Raphael was right, Rudolf had been deceived.
Could that happen when he had so many knowledgeable people at his court?
Another argument: One would expect that a manuscript bought by an
emperor for so much money would show some sign of it, e.g. a decent
rebinding, a seal, whatever...
Another argument: Baresch was in contact with Marci since 1622, so he
should have known Raphael's story through Marci; yet Baresch's 1637
letter does not mention Bacon nor Rudolf (nor Jacobus's "signature",
BTW). It seems strange that he would omit such an important detail
when trying to convince Kircher to study the manuscript.
My feeling (just a feeling) is that Raphael had heard about Rudolf
buying a Bacon book, but never saw the latter; he just guessed that
Baresch's book must be it, perhaps from a vague description. (He would
not be the last one to jump to conclusions about the VMS... 8-)
I give it 1% chance that the VMS was ever owned by Rudolf, 10% chance
that it was owned by Jacobus, 1% chance that it ever was in England,
0% chance that it was ever seen by Dee or Kelley. But anyone is free
to choose his/her own probabilities...
All the best,
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