Mercurial Emperor by Peter Marshall
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Mercurial Emperor
By Peter Marshall

The Mercurial Emperor

The Magic Circle of Rudolf II in Renaissance Prague

By (author) See other recent books by Peter Marshall
Format: Paperback

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Mercurial Emperor by Peter Marshall

Book Description

In the late 16th century the greatest philosophers, alchemists, astronomers, painters, and mathematicians of the day flocked to Prague to work under the patronage of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, an emperor more interested in the great minds of his times than in the exercise of his immense power. Rarely leaving Prague Castle, he gathered around him a galaxy of famous figures: among them the painter Arcimboldo, the astronomer Tycho Brahe, the mathematician Johannes Kepler, the philosopher Giordano Bruno and the magus John Dee. Fascinated by the new Renaissance learning, Rudolf found it nearly impossible to make decisions of state. Like Faust, he was prepared to risk all in the pursuit of magical knowledge and the Philosopher's Stone which would turn base metals into gold and prolong life indefinitely. But he also faced threats: religious discord, the Ottoman Empire, his own deepening melancholy and an ambitious younger brother. As a result he lost his empire and nearly his sanity. But he enabled Prague to enjoy a golden age of peace and creativity before Europe was engulfed in the Thirty Years' War. Filled with angels and devils, high art and low cunning, talismans and stars, The Mercurial Emperor offers a captivating perspective on a pivotal moment in the history of Western civilisation.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781844135370
ISBN-10: 1844135373
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 135mm x 21mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 2-Aug-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Books By Author Peter Marshall

Heretics and Believers by Peter Marshall Heretics and Believers, Hardback (May 2017)

A sumptuously written people's history and a major retelling and reinterpretation of the story of the English Reformation

Poseidon's Realm by Peter Marshall Poseidon's Realm, Hardback (February 2016)

Peter Marshall, author of 15 books, voyages around the Aegean - Poseidon's Realm - in order to explore the evolution, nature and legacy of Greek civilization and to test his hunch that it must be seen from the point of view of the sea. The book brilliantly illuminates the culture and the people who helped form the seabed of Western civilization.

Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation by Peter Marshall Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation, Hardback (January 2015)

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation is the story of one of the truly epochal events in world history - and how it helped create the world we live in today

» View all books by Peter Marshall


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Author Biography - Peter Marshall

Dr Peter Marshall has written widely on cultural and intellectual history and is the author of more than a dozen books translated into eleven languages, including The Philosopher's Stone: A Quest for the Secrets of Alchemy, World Astrology and Europe's Lost Civilization. His travel writing includes the books Around Africa and Celtic Gold. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.

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