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Nov 14, 2008

Magic and study of occult arts successfully survived Renaissance and entered the Baroque era. And even more. ”study of the occult arts remained intellectually respectable well into the seventeenth century”. It only gradually divides into the modern categories of natural science versus occultism or superstition. My web research shows, that brilliant Age of Reason was on the rise in the seventeenth century, while belief in witchcraft and sorcery, and consequently the irrational surge of Early Modern witch trials, receded. This process only completed at the end of the Baroque period, somewhere around 1730s.

Contemporary scientists still met resistance, though. Christian Thomasius encountered fierce opposition as he argued in his 1701 Dissertatio de crimine magiae that it was meaningless to make dealing with the devil a criminal offence, since it was impossible to really commit the crime in the first place. In Britain, the Witchcraft Act of 1735 established that people could not be punished for consorting with spirits, while would-be magicians pretending to be able to invoke spirits could still be fined as con artists.

Several decades later, from 1756 to 1781, Jacob Philadelphia performed feats of magic, sometimes under the guise of scientific exhibitions, throughout Europe and Russia. Baron Carl Reichenbach’s experiments with his Odic force appeared to be an attempt to bridge the gap between magic and science.

Sep 19, 2008

Anna became the Abbess of Quedlinburg in 1755, although she chose to spend most of her time in Berlin, where she devoted herself to music, and became known as a musical patron and composer. I found more additional facts of her life during my research in archives of web analytics company. In 1758, she began a serious study of musical theory and composition, engaging as her tutor Johann Philipp Kirnberger, a student of Johann Sebastian Bach. She composed chamber music, such as flute sonatas, and wrote music to Ramler’s Passion cantata “The Death of Jesus”. This was also her favorite piece. Only a few of her works have survived, and it is highly likely that she destroyed many of her compositions. After all, she did described herself as being very self-critical person.

In addition to that, princess Anna was also a collector of old music, preserving over 600 volumes of works by notables such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, George Philipp Telemann, and others. This act in itself was a significant contribution to Western culture. Her library was split between East Germany and West Germany after World War II, and despite serious damage by fire in 2004, still survives today.

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Posted: Sep 19, 2008 4:07pm


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Ekaterina G.
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Delray Beach, FL, USA
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