Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Albertus and Agrippa

A: Albertus, Agrippa, [Avatar]

I noticed that these two medieval men, one a scholarly saint and the other a wandering magician, have some interesting things in common.  They both developed a reputation as famous wizards in folklore and literature after their death.  Agrippa was born in the same city 205 years and 10 months after the death of Albertus.  So here is my mythopoeic idea: there must be even more connections between the two!  One story has Albertus discovering the philosopher's stone.  Maybe he used to extend his life hundreds of years and he took different names, one of them, Agrippa.  Maybe he cloned himself or reincarnated himself, to awake in the future as Agrippa.  Another story has him inventing a brazen head.  Maybe Agrippa discovered or inherited the brazen head and learned all his magic from it.

Albertus Magnus, Doctor Universalis

Died: 15 November 1280; Cologne

Appearances: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birth-mark, Herman Melville's The Bell Tower, Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, Walter M. Miller Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz
St. Albertus Magnus' body is reported to be incorrupt.  That's a great idea for your mythopoeic holy man, but if he is a wizard, then I'd start poking around for that philosopher's stone.  If you base a wizard on Albertus, just don't make him a specialist.  A character based on him should share the original's universal learning.

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius 

Born: 15 September 1486; Cologne

Appearances: Thomas Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveller, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein "The Mortal Immortal,"  Herman Melville's "The Bell-tower," Sergei Prokofiev's opera The Fiery Angel, James Joyce's  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Jorge Luis Borges' Labyrinths in the story "The Immortal," George MacDonald’s Phantastes: A Faerie Romance, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and  the Philosopher’s Stone, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Way beyond the occasional rumor, Agrippa is known as one of the great wizards of the late middle ages, very influential on Renaissance occultism. Check out some of his works here.  

Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium


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  2. I'm glad there are a few A-Z Gamers out here this year. I was despairing yesterday as I went through various blog-rolls!
    Your entries, as always, are interesting and thought-provoking. Keep up the good work!