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HERMETIC TRIVIA

(Last Updated 29 Sep 2005)


"This is the image of God, O Tat, that has been drawn for you, as far as it can be. If you observe it clearly and reflect upon it with the eyes of the heart, believe me, my son, you will find the way to higher things. In fact, the image itself will guide you... It dwells in those who have already seen it and draws them upward, just as they say a magnet draws up iron." -- Corpus Hermeticum IV:11


KEY TO QUESTION COLORS:


LIGHT BLUE = Easy (well, sort of...)
GREEN = Medium
YELLOW = Difficult
RED = Very difficult. Not many people know this.


1. When and where was the Corpus Hermeticum written? ANSWER

2. The Corpus Hermeticum was often known by the Latinized form of the name of its first book. What was this? ANSWER

3. What work, closely associated with the Corpus Hermeticum, has survived (with one exception) only in its Latin form, and that similar to a deck of cards which has been shuffled? ANSWER

4. In what language and as part of what collection do folios 21-29 of the above work survive in a version that tells the same story with different wording? ANSWER

5. This short work is often incorrectly claimed to be part of the Corpus Hermeticum. Its origin is contended, but it may in fact be from Alexandria in the first centuries CE. It is the work attributed to Hermes Trismegistus which contains references to alchemy. What is its name? ANSWER

6. Although it is preserved in completeness only in Armenian, fragments of this Hermetic work in the original Greek were discovered in the Bodleian Library during the late 20th century. It probably predates the Corpus Hermeticum. What is it? ANSWER

7. What text in the Nag Hammadi Codices, written in the 2nd Century CE, is a discourse from Hermes Trismegistus to his son? ANSWER

8. What alchemical symbolism is contained in this discourse? ANSWER

9. With what school of philosophy are the Hermetic writings associated? ANSWER

10. Renaissance Hermetic thought says man is composed of three parts. What are they? ANSWER

11. What does the word spiritus mean in Latin? ANSWER

12. What is the oldest Kabbalistic "scripture?" ANSWER

13. This form of practical Kabbalah is concerned with finding hidden correspondent meanings between words by calculating their numerical values. It forms the basis for modern numerology? What is it called? ANSWER

14. What form of practical Kabbalah treats the letters of a word as an acronym, each letter beginning a word in a sentence? ANSWER

15. What form of practical Kabbalah finds hidden meanings using anagrams? ANSWER

16. In the Kabbalah, who is the symbol of the state of man before the Fall? ANSWER

17. What is the purpose of Kabbalistic "meditation?" ANSWER

18. What characteristic is shared by Paths on the Cabalistic Tree of Life, the letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and the Major Arcana in the Tarot deck? ANSWER

19. Both the Kabbalah and Hermetic practices have the same end goal. What is it? ANSWER

20. Who invented the "Hermetic Cabala," merging the teachings of Christianity, the Jewish Kabbalah and Neo-Platonic Hermeticism? ANSWER

21. What Byzantine Macedonian collector created, in the 5th Century CE, an Anthology in which are preserved many Hermetic writings, today usually called "Extracts" or "Fragments?" ANSWER

22. When did the Corpus Hermeticum have a revival in Constantinople? ANSWER

23. Who headed the Hermetic Revival in Constantinople in the middle ages? ANSWER

24. What Spaniard wrote the Sepher-ha-Zohar? ANSWER

25. In what language was the Sepher-ha-Zohar written, in order to make it seem more authoritative? ANSWER

26. Who was the founder of the Knights Templar? ANSWER

27. In chronological order, in what five locations did the Knights of the Hospital of St. John have their headquarters? ANSWER

28. Who was the last (provable) Grand Master of the Knights Templar, burned at the stake in Paris in 1314? ANSWER

29. This man from Majorca was the first Christian Cabalist. Who was he? ANSWER

30. This Byzantine was the first teacher of Greek in Florence. Among others he taught Boccacio. Who was he? ANSWER

31. This Greek octogenarian was forbidden to speak at the Council of Florence in 1439 because he was too cantankerous and contentious. He got bored and began holding lectures on Plato in the afternoons. Who was he? ANSWER

32. What two great Florentine figures attended these lectures? ANSWER

33. What printed work had more editions in Europe than any other except the Bible by 1600? ANSWER

34. This abrasive and outspoken Cardinal did philological analysis, by which he proved that the Donations of Constantine were a forgery, thus laying the foundation for the removal of the major source of income of the Catholic Church. Then he proved that the "Celestial Hierarchies," long thought to be written by an associate of St. Paul, were much newer. Who was he, and who was the Greek he exposed? ANSWER

35. By what name was the pagan messenger god generally known in the Renaissance? ANSWER

36. What does the word "trismegistus" mean? ANSWER

37. Why did the Hermetists of the Renaissance think the Corpus Hermeticum was authoritative? ANSWER

38. Whose manuscript of the Corpus Hermeticum found its way to Italy from Macedonia almost five hundred years after his death? ANSWER

39. What monk, working as an agent for Cosimo de' Medici, brought him the manuscript of the Corpus Hermeticum? ANSWER

40. Which family doctor did Cosimo de' Medici choose to translate the Corpus Hermeticum into Latin? ANSWER

41. Who was the first head of the Platonic Academy of Florence? ANSWER

42. What what Byzantine exile who had attended the Council of Florence many years earlier was in possession of a manuscript of the Corpus Hermeticum two years before Cosimo de' Medici? ANSWER

43. This man was a colleague of Marsilio Ficino (not his student, as some have stated) even though he was one generation younger. He offered pay the way of opponents to Rome to debate his 900 Conclusions which proved that all religions were part of a single stream that culminated in Roman Christianity. Who was he? ANSWER

44. Who was probably the only Christian in Europe to be fluent in Hebrew in 1492? ANSWER

45. Why was the Cabala such a good fit with the Corpus Hermeticum? ANSWER

46. What pope, himself a dabbler in Hermeticism, wrote a bull which permitted the Hermetic Cabala to flourish throughout Europe for the next 150 years? ANSWER

47. This German was sent to Italy by the Elector Palatine in order to collect Hebrew texts. While there, he studied under Ficino, Pico and John Argyropoulos at different times. He later taught Greek and Hebrew at Ingolstadt. Who was he? ANSWER

48. What German Cabalist wrote a book on cryptography that is used by computer security experts today? ANSWER

49. Two major Hermetic figures of the Renaissance, one from the South and one from the North, both wrote treatises recanting their Hermetic views which they had previously published with great fervor. Perhaps their recantations were sincere, or perhaps they were just a front to protect them from the authorities. Who were they? ANSWER

50. What Venetian Hermeticist published the widely influential De harmonia mundi in 1525, which dealt with the Music of the Spheres? ANSWER

51. This head of the Augustinian Order was an associate of Ficino and Erasmus, and acknowledged his debt to Pico. He knew Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac and Arabic. He introduced the Sepher-ha-Zohar and the Koran to Italy. He wrote an exhaustive survey of the Cabala, concerning which he was an enthusiast, for Pope Clement VII. Who was he? ANSWER

52. What French Cabalist published the first translation of the Sepher Yetzirah in 1552? ANSWER

53. What widely roving Italian Hermetic philosopher was burned at the stake in Rome for refusing to recant his belief that life exists on other planets? ANSWER

54. What Anglican priest and Hermetic writer corresponded with Ficino, studied with Pico and was a friend of Erasmus? ANSWER

55. Who did an English translation of the biography of Pico which his (Pico's) nephew wrote? ANSWER

56. Who was Queen Elizabeth I's court astrologer? ANSWER

57. Today this man is known as a poet. But in his day, he spent many of his short 32 years working as a secret agent and spy on the Contintent for Queen Elizabeth. Who was he? ANSWER

58. Who used a translation of the first lines of Pico della Mirandola's "On The Dignity Of Man" as a speech in one of his works? ANSWER

59. What Holy Roman Emperor created a haven in Prague for Hermetic thinkers during the persecutions of the Counter-Reformation at the beginning of the Seventeenth Century? ANSWER

60. What two Proto-Rosicrucians met in Prague? ANSWER

61. A Dane and an Austrian served successively as court astrologer to the Holy Roman Emperor. Who were they? ANSWER

62. This man, in his Amphitheatrum sapentiae aeternae, published the Emerald Table, thus paving the way for the advent of Rosicrucianism. Who was he? ANSWER

63. What Elector Palatine set up a Rosicrucian state in Bohemia, whose open defiance of the Pope began the Thirty Years War? ANSWER

64. What daughter of James I of England married the Winter King of Bohemia? ANSWER

65. What French philosopher was mentor to the daughter of the Winter King of Bohemia? ANSWER

66. What Genevan Calvinist did a philological analysis on the Corpus Hermeticum in 1614 and concluded that it was post-Plato? ANSWER

67. Who wrote the so-called Rosicrucian Manifestos, the "Fama Fraternitatis" and the "Confessio?" ANSWER

68. In what language was the "Fama Fraternitatis" written? ANSWER

69. In what language was the "Confessio" written? ANSWER

70. Who is mentioned by name in the "Fama Fraternitatis" as "Theoph:Par.Ho." ? ANSWER

71. Who wrote "The [Al]chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz?" ANSWER

72. What Rosicrucian emblematist was body-surgeon to the Landgrave of Hesse? ANSWER

73. What mathematician went to Germany to seek out the Rosicrucian Brotherhood? ANSWER

74. When and by whom was the Corpus Hermeticum first translated into English? ANSWER

75. Who were the Cambridge Platonists? ANSWER

76. This man who styled himself a "natural philosopher" owned English translations of the "Fama Fraternitatis" and the "Confessio." He spent more than 30 years studying and wrote over a million words on the subject of alchemy. We know him for what appear to be his secondary areas of interest. What is his name? ANSWER

77. This Englishman was a prolific writer on Magia and Hermetica. He wrote a public defense of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. Who was he? ANSWER

78. Who did an English Translation of the Emerald Table? ANSWER

79. This famous American became Grand Master of the Neuf Soeurs Lodge of Freemasonry in France, and initiated what French writer? ANSWER

80. What Jesuit founded the Ancient and Illuminated Seers of Bavaria (the "Bavarian Illuminati") in 1776? ANSWER

81. Two countries had successful revolutions led by Freemasons. Many of the same individuals were active in both revolutions. What were these countries? ANSWER

82. What nineteenth century Englishman, the eponym of a literary award, wrote Zanoni, A Rosicrucian Novel? ANSWER

83. What transvestite held Rosicrucian salons in Paris in the second half of the nineteenth century? ANSWER

84. What modern Hermetic initiatory society, which became the fountainhead for virtually all "New Age" occultism, was founded in the late nineteenth century by three English Freemasons, one of whom claimed to be Scotsman? ANSWER

85. This work of fiction deals extensively with the practice of the Kabbalah in Alexandria between the two world wars. It is the second book of a tetralogy. What is its name, and who wrote it? ANSWER

86. What is the meaning of the Greek "Poimandres?" ANSWER

87. This Hermetic maxim concerning the relationship between earth and the heavens, stated in the first sentence of the Emerald Table, has become the watchword of many modern occult systems. What is it? ANSWER

88. What Christian Cabalist was known as "Dr. Illuminatus?" ANSWER

89. Who inspired Cosimo de' Medici to revive the ancient Athenian Platonic Academy? ANSWER

90. This man, known to us primarily as a mathematician, reconciled the split which ended the Council of Basle. He then led the delegation which invited the Byzantines to the Council of Florence. Later he accompanied them back to Constantinople after the Council was over, becoming a great admirer and defender of Plethon as a result. Who was he? ANSWER

91. Ficino learned Greek from what Byzantine exile who had attended the Council of Florence many years earlier? ANSWER

92. What Byzantine student of Plethon's became a Cardinal and moved to Rome? ANSWER

93. Why was Ficino particularly suited to translating the Corpus Hermeticum? ANSWER

94. What two paintings are full of Hermetic symbolism, their content having been directed by Ficino? ANSWER

95. From what exiled Spanish Jewish scholar did Pico della Mirandola learn Hebrew? (Hint: it wasn't Elia del Medigo.) ANSWER

96. What Kabbalistic trick did Pico della Mirandola use to prove that Christianity was the crown of all religions? ANSWER

97. What Greek philosopher did Pico urge Ficino to translate into Latin after he had finished his translations of Plato? ANSWER

98. Who was probably the only Christian in Europe to be fluent in Arabic in 1520? ANSWER

99. What Swiss doctor and alchemist claimed to have studied under Trithemius? ANSWER

100. What Danish astronomer had a golden statue of Hernes Trismegistus crowning the observatory he constructed for himself? ANSWER

101. This man is usually described as a charlatan. He attached himself to John Dee and aided him in attempting to communicate with angels. He also taught Rudolph II alchemical practices. Who was he? ANSWER

102. In what language did John Dee attempt to communicate with angels? ANSWER

103. Over the course of more than 35 years, Tycho Brahe made the most detailed observations of the stars ever performed in history up to that point. What was his purpose in doing this? ANSWER

104. What group merged alchemy with the Hermetic Cabala? ANSWER

105. What three English Freemasons founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? ANSWER

106. The founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn claimed they had discovered the lost writings of what personage who was later proven to be a fictional character? ANSWER

107. What Irish writer was the most famous member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? ANSWER

108. What occult historian and member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn designed a deck of Tarot cards in 1909 upon which almost every later Tarot deck was based? ANSWER

109. What member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn referred to himself as "The Beast" and claimed he was the most evil human alive? ANSWER

110. What secret society that still exists today was co-opted (not founded, as many think) by "The Beast?" ANSWER

111. What great occultist and author was the spiritual heir of the Golden Dawn? ANSWER

112. Where is Cosimo de' Medici's manuscript of the Corpus Hermeticum today? ANSWER

113. Where is Cardinal Bessarion's manuscript of the Corpus Hermeticum today? ANSWER


SCORING:

Less than 13 = Dilettante. You clearly have not been initiated into the Hermetic Mysteries.
13 - 58 = Seeker. Continue purifying your soul. When you become worthy, a member of the Brotherhood will contact you.
59 - 90 = Initiate. You have read well in the Book of Nature, and it has begun to reveal its secrets to you.
91 - 132 = Adept. Guard your profound Hermetic knowledge wisely and use it only for Good.
133 or more = Magus. All the ways of heaven and earth are open unto you.


This page offers clues and mentions interesting people in very condensed form.
It is hoped that it will spark the curiosity of the player and encourage further investigation.
Some of my favorite books on the subject are:
Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition by Dame Frances Yates
The Rosicrucian Enlightenment by Dame Frances Yates
George Gemistos Plethon by C. M. Woodhouse

There are also a lot of web sites. Two of the best I've run across are:
The Alchemy Web Site
(especially note the Alchemical Texts and Resources sections)
and
Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
(note particularly the "on-line exhibitions" links toward the bottom of the page)

A very large on-line selection of some of the best Hermetic writings, including the Corpus Hermeticum itself can be found at
Twilit Grotto



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