The 2nd Puzzle: The Lost Book of Magic
The Secret Riches Visualization ToolandMost people know what The Secret is. They know about the power of positive thinking, repetition, self belief.andFew people know however that these ideas were once the key elements in ancient books of magic. Such books often also contained medical knowledge and practical personal advice. The success of such ideas gave these books a long life. They were much sought after and argued over.andAnd in some periods you could be burnt at the stake for possessing such books.andThese days you can buy books of magic and positive thinking for a relatively low cost, and without much danger to your health. You can even go to seminars on how to see your success, or you can give away your money to people selling seals and hoodoo correspondence courses.andSo what has any of this got to do with Istanbul?andAt the time of the fall of Constantinople (since called Istanbul) in 1453 thousands of scholars fled to Italy. They went to Florence and to Milan and beyond. Among them were physicians, astronomers and mathematicians.andMarsilio Ficino, whose family fled from Constantinople to Italy, was one the most important figures in the Italian Renaissance.andHe was involved, with Cosimo de’Medici, in trying to heal the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.andHe was also a vegetarian, a priest, and at one point was lucky to escape with his life after being accused of magic before Pope Innocent VIII.andNDFicino’s father was a physician under the patronage of Cosimo de’ Medici, who took the young man into his household and became the lifelong patron of Marsilio, who was made tutor to his grandson, Lorenzo de’ Medici.andSo where did Marsilio get his most important ideas?andMany of his thoughts are common sense now, such as advice to keep your body in good order, but some of his other ideas are more far reaching, even to this day.andMarsilio FicinoandIn the Book of Destiny, Marsilio details the links between behavior and consequence. He talks about the list of things that hold sway over a man’s destiny,andHe practised astrology too and believed in talismans and symbols. His most famous prediction was that the son of Lorenzo de’Medici would become Pope. He did.andHis most famous achievement though was in the blending of the occult, the magical traditions of astrology, with the teaching of the Catholic church.andHe wrote a treaty on the Immortality of the Soul, which after his death, became dogma of the Catholic and eventually the Protestant churches. This was a theoretical advancement on the Christian belief that we will all live on after death. His theory synthesized Christianity and Platonism, and created a foundation for the Renaissance.
andHe subscribed to the notion that there was hope for world renovation (best remembered in the word Renaissance – rebirth – itself), which would occur through art, science and technology. He declared that religion’s basis had to be philosophy and believed that Plato should be read in churches. Ficino wrote that the human soul was both immortal and divine, made in the image of God.andThis guy was responsible for the theory behind the Renaissance, and Christianity’s slow acceptance of the idea of human advancement, which underpins the positivism and dynamism of the West over the past five hundred years.The Fall of Constantinople, 1453aSo what’s the puzzle here?andMarsilio’s family had moved from Constantinople before the fall and the ideas he was taught by his uncle, Manuel Chrysoloras, included specific magical concepts such as the power of self belief, the use of ritual repitition and the divinity of the soul.andThe legendary Byzantine manuscript “The Seventh Book of Destiny”, quoted by Marsilio in a letter to his uncle, included detailed magical ideas about positivism and dynamism and the power of the mind and how you can attract good fortune.andThe Seventh Book of Destiny was one of the books specifically targeted for burning during the Inquisition. Every known copy was destroyed for ever, except one, which we know about from a legend of the fall of Constantinople. The legend states that a copy was lost overboard in a metal trunk the night before Constantinople fell on Tuesday, 29 May 1453.andA Venetian galiot, a small galley, with a single mast and twenty fast rowers, had, so the legend goes, managed to reach a hidden gate in the sea wall near the Golden Horn at around midnight, despite a night bombardment of the sea walls by the Ottoman artillery, the most advanced in the world at that time.andFive close members of the last Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos’ entourage, including his sixteen year old illegitimate daughter, given the title of Princess only hours before, were taken on board. Each was allowed to bring only one very small chest.andOne chest was lost into the sea as the passengers boarded, the chest containing Constantine XI’s personal illuminated copy of The Seventh Book of Destiny.andThe position of that small sea gate was well known at the time. And Mehmed the Conqueror had that area of the Bosphorus dredged after the conquest in search of that lost trunk, which was observed going overboard, but the average depth of the water in that area, 160 feet, and the swift currents and eddies, some of which flow in different directions at different levels, must have taken the trunk some distance as it tumbled to the sea floor.andPresent day archeological equipment, including the latest seismological underwater mud-penetrating metal detection equipment are likely to offer the surest route to the rediscovery of that legendary lost trunk. The book containing the lost Secrets of Byzantine magic will eventually be found.andBut when, and what else does The Seventh Book of Destiny talk about?
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What is The Istanbul Puzzle?
The Istanbul Puzzle is a thriller/mystery novel, first published January 19, 2012. It's the first in a series of novels featuring Sean Ryan and Isabel Sharp, being published by Harper Collins and a series of other publishers around the world. The Istanbul Puzzle starts when Sean discovers a friend and colleague has been beheaded in Istanbul.
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