Dr John Dee (1527-1608) was born in London of Welsh parentage. Although he was a polymath, he was never a doctor. He was reputed to have had the largest library in England at that time, holding 3,000 books and 1,00 manuscripts. Dee was court astrologer to both Mary Tudor and Queen Elizabeth I and it is widely believed that he was the founder of the Rosicrucian Order. His principal published work is Monas Hieroglyphica (1564). Dee is also credited with coining the phrase ‘Brytish Impire’.
Some consider that Dee’s life had been the inspiration for the work of a number of his literary contemporaries, including two plays, Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlow and The Tempest by William Shakespeare.
Further information about Dee is available on a dedicated Internet site(a) and a 2015 reappraisal of his life can be read on another(b).
Dee, like many others, was convinced that the newly discovered American continent was in fact Atlantis and prepared a map of the New World for Queen Elizabeth I with one side marked Atlantis. This view he shared with Francis Bacon.*Until Dee, Atlantis speculation had been centred on Spanish Central America, but Dee moved it into British territory in North America.*