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3 - Arthurian Dynasty

The Tudors and Occult Power

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

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Summary

The Tudors’ Welsh ancestry and doubtful claim to the English throne rendered them conscious successors of King Arthur, and the mythology surrounding Arthur and Merlin became central to the construction of Tudor power from 1485 onwards. Accusations and rumours of magic were rife at the court of Henry VIII and played a key role in the downfall of Anne Boleyn as queen, but allegations of magic also swirled around Cardinal Wolsey in Henry’s early reign. However, it was not until the reign of Elizabeth that a Tudor monarch embraced her ‘Arthurian’ identity to the extent of seeking the advice of a latter-day Merlin, a role eagerly fulfilled by John Dee. At the high point of Dee’s influence a magically inspired idea of a British empire briefly influenced official policy under a queen so fascinated by the occult arts that she personally practised alchemy. At the same time, the Italian religious exile (and possible spy) Giordano Bruno saw himself as an ‘occult missionary’, bringing his particular brand of Hermetic magic to England.

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Magic in Merlin's Realm
A History of Occult Politics in Britain
, pp. 138 - 189
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Arthurian Dynasty
  • Francis Young
  • Book: Magic in Merlin's Realm
  • Online publication: 07 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067133.005
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  • Arthurian Dynasty
  • Francis Young
  • Book: Magic in Merlin's Realm
  • Online publication: 07 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067133.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Arthurian Dynasty
  • Francis Young
  • Book: Magic in Merlin's Realm
  • Online publication: 07 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067133.005
Available formats
×