The noted English mathematician, scientist, astrologer, clergyman, navigation expert, and occultist John Dee served as adviser to Queen Elizabeth I and to Britain's parliament during the sixteenth century. One of the most learned men of his day, Dee gained fame throughout Europe for his many skills. He also authored a number of books on occult subjects as well as mathematics and science.
During the early 1580s, Dee began communicating with angels, whom he said dictated several books to him, some in the Enochian (angelic) language. These manuscripts were published posthumously as
In addition to his occult contributions, Dee also advanced the fields of cartography and navigation, and he was instrumental in promoting what would become Britain's colonization of the New World. He devised methods of preserving old manuscripts. His personal library in Mortlake was among the most extensive in England and a resource center for many scholars.
Dee managed to bridge the seemingly contrary fields of science, magic, and religion, and he moved in the highest social and political circles. But he ran into problems in 1555 when he was accused of practicing sorcery against Queen Mary, which amounted to treason. He was acquitted, and he so impressed the Catholic Bishop Bonner who had prosecuted him that the two became close associates.