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Harmonia Time Capsule: 1486

Let’s take a quick look back in time to 1486...to the Tudor dynasty, the birth of Agricola and the publication of Mirandola's "Oration on the Dignity of Man."

Tudor Rose

Photo: wikipedia

Tudor Rose detail from the portrait of Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger

Following long and bloody disputes, the Wars of the Roses came to an end.  Lancaster and York were united through the marriage of Henry VII to his third cousin Elizabeth.  The two were wed in January 1486 at Westminster Abbey.  The joining of England’s two noble houses was celebrated with the Tudor Rose, an emblem of red and white.  The rose stood as a lasting symbol of the Tudor Dynasty, particularly during the reign of Henry VIII.

The Wars of the Roses
Alison Weir
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That same month, Martin Agricola was born.  The German composer and music theorist wrote studies of musical rudiments aimed at performing musicians. He also wrote extensively on the subject of organology, the study of instruments.  In 1529, Martin published his Musica instrumentalis deudsch.  The treatise contains a collection of detailed woodcuts depicting instruments used in his age.  Many of the woodcuts offer insight into the formation of the renaissance consort.

Musica Instrumentalis Deudsch
Martin Agricola
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In September 1486, German scholar Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was born.  Throughout life, Agrippa cultivated a fascination with the occult sciences.  Resultant suspicion suspended his work on several occult tracts and made him a figure of great notoriety.  Following his death in 1535, dark rumors spread.  Many believed that, before death, Agrippa summoned a familiar and sent it out into the world.  Indeed, that familiar—a black dog—appears in subsequent legends about Faustus, including that by Goethe.

The Philosophy Of Natural Magic
Henry Cornelius Agrippa
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In December 1486, Italian philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola published his De hominis dignitate, or “Oration on the Dignity of Man.”  The Oration was meant to preface 900 theses on mankind’s quest for universal knowledge.  These theses evoked tenets of Greek, Hebrew, and Christian philosophy, weaving discordant schools of thought into a cohesive whole.  Pico welcomed fellow scholars to Rome to debate his arguments; however, the progress of Pico’s plan was soon impeded by Pope Innocent VII.  The Pope called for a review of the theses and had thirteen of them condemned.  The remainder were deemed incendiary and offensive to all pious Christians.

On the Dignity of Man
Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola
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Music heard on this Time Capsule

Excerpts from Tr. 15 - Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt / Tr. 19 - Mit Fried und Freud: Das macht Christus
Himlische Cantorey — Music of the Reformation (Cpo Records, 2007)
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album cover

The Wars of the Roses
Alison Weir
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Musica Instrumentalis Deudsch
Martin Agricola
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Philosophy Of Natural Magic
Henry Cornelius Agrippa
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
On the Dignity of Man
Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Excerpts from Tr. 15 - Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt / Tr. 19 - Mit Fried und Freud: Das macht Christus
Himlische Cantorey — Music of the Reformation (Cpo Records, 2007)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

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