Sunday, 3 April 2011

Guidebook / magic mirror

Henry VII died here. His blood, which he ordered to be sprinkled on the wall, is still to be seen in the room wherein he died. Many old written and printed books are in the Palace. Also a large circular mirror, in which King Henry VII by means of magic saw what was passing everywhere both by sea and land. The secret passages used by this king were first discovered under Queen Elizabeth.

Notes on England / Johann Jacob Grasser / c 1606


In the palace, remark the Library of King Henry VII, for the most part consisting of manuscripts, of which Library nothing was known until the time of Queen Elizabeth. One of the books is on magic or the black art, called "Modus et Ratio Divinae Contemplationis". Here also is a large mirror in which Henry VII was able to see what he wished; but this mirror broke in pieces when the King died. His inkstand is likewise here. A portrait of the King when a young man, together with his wife; also the genealogies of all the Kings of England. King Henry VII's chamber wherein he is said to have died, the wall of which is besprinkled with his blood, but this is not permitted to be seen by everyone.

England as seen by foreigners / William Brenchley Rye / Friedrich I Duke of Wittenberg

Nero's emerald
Pliny (NH 37,64 ):
Iidem plerumque concavi, ut visum conligant. quam ob rem decreto hominum iis parcitur scalpi vetitis. quamquam Scythicorum Aegyptiorumque duritia tanta est, ut non queant volnerari. quorum vero corpus extentum est, eadem qua specula ratione supini rerum imagines reddunt. Nero princeps gladiatorum pugnas spectabat in smaragdo.

'Smaragdi' are generally concave in shape, so that they concentrate the vision. Because of these properties, mankind has decreed that 'smaragdi' must be preserved in their natural state and has forbidden them to be engraved. In any case, those of Scythia and Egypt are so hard as to be unaffected by blows. When 'smaragdi' that are tabular in shape are laid flat, they reflect objects just as mirrors do. The emperor Nero used to watch the fights between gladiators in a 'smaragdus'.1

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