|Publication Date||March 22, 2011|
A captivating portrait of the crucible of magic, science, and religion at the court of the doomed dreamer Rudolf II in Renaissance Prague.
At the end of the sixteenth century, the greatest philosophers, alchemists, astronomers, and mathematicians of the day flocked to Prague to work under the patronage of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. The Theatre of the World is the enchanting story of Rudolf II, an emperor more interested in the great talents and minds of his times than in the exercise of his power. Rarely leaving Prague Castle, he gathered around him a galaxy of famous figures: the Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, the German mathematician Johannes Kepler, and the English magus John Dee.
Entranced, like Hamlet, by the new Renaissance learning, Rudolf found it nearly impossible to make decisions. He faced the threats of religious discord and the Ottoman Empire, along with 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.
The Theatre of the World is a beguiling and dramatic human story filled with angels and devils, high art and low cunning, talismans and stars. It offers a captivating perspective on a pivotal moment in the history of Western Civilization.
From the Hardcover edition.