Monday, August 24, 2015

Weekly Geek! Rudolf II - The Holy Roman Emperor

Rudolf II - the Holy Roman Emperor, is one of the real-life characters of the Trilogy—and oh dear—he certainly inspires loathing amongst the AST readers!  While much of it is well-deserved, thanks to the somewhat creepy, very pervy and extremely gluttonous personality presented to us in Shadow of Night, there is also much to be intrigued by!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is full of praise and admiration for Rudolf.  Quote from the Met: "Prague became, under Rudolf's guidance, one of the leading centers of the arts and sciences on the continent. His taste for outstanding decoration and fantastic imagery were legendary, while his ambition and insight as a patron and collector changed the way art would be viewed by future generations." If you talk to the art crowd, Rudolf wasn't such bad guy.

Vertumnus, a portrait depicting
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor painted as
Vertumnus, the Roman God of the seasons,
c. 1590-1. Skokloster Castle, Sweden.
Rudolf was a one man kick-starter!  Face it, the dude took court patronage to new levels by paying numerous artists, scientists and craftsmen to do what they do best—create.  And we get the privilege to meet many of them in the pages of Shadow of Night.  Joris Hoefnagel, Erasmus Habermel, Ottavio Miseroni, and Tadeas Hajek, to name a few!

Rudolf accumulated thousands of paintings for his collection during his rule.  In fact, when the Swedes seized Prague in 1648 their healthy plunder from Rudolph's castles included the following: 470 paintings, 69 bronze figures, several thousand coins and medals, 179 objects of ivory, 50 objects of amber and coral, 600 vessels of agate and crystal, 174 works of faience, 403 Indian curiosa, 185 works of precious stone, uncut diamonds, more than 300 mathematical instruments and many other objects.  Harkness did not invent the red-headed paintings of Venus for the sake of artistic license.  Rudolf actually owned such paintings!  We've included a few from Spranger and Veronese for your viewing pleasure:

Mars and Venus United by Love
Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) (Italian, Venetian, 1528–1588)

Bartolomeo Spranger, Venus and Adonis
Barthomeus Spranger’s 1596 painting of Jupiter and Antiope

He also set the standard for collecting.  By establishing a "Cabinet of Curiosities" he would inspire generations of acquisitive, Victorian collectors.  The name itself "Kuntstkammer" summarizes the theoretical concept of such rooms of art (Kunst) and marvels (Wunder).   Any Kuntstkammer worth its salt would contain objects from the following categories: naturalia (products of nature), arteficialia (or artefacta, the products of man), and scientifica (the testaments of man's ability to dominate nature, such as astrolabes, clocks, automatons, and scientific instruments). Rudolf's Kunstkammer displayed an encyclopedic collection of all kinds of objects of dissimilar origin and diverse materials on a universal scale.  In essence, your grandmother's tchotchke collection owes it's existence to good ol' Rudy!

Bezoar, c. 1600

Automaton with Diana on a Centaur Hans Jakob I. Bachmann | 1602-1606 | Photo ©: Kunsthistorisches Museum

Here's one last AST "coincidence" to consider:  The written inventory of Rudolf's collection, the only surviving record of his fabulous collection, is part of the Voynich* collection.  Ha!

*The Voynich Collection

As always, here's a few ways to feed your daemons:

- Overview of Rudolfine Prague:
- Kuntstkammer details:
- NYT article: The Art, Science and Lechery of Rudolf II 

See you next time!

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts!  If you enjoy our Weekly Geeks and/or our other regular features, you can subscribe and have our posts come straight to your inbox.  No spam, promise!  No post, no email.  Simple as that, and you can unsubscribe at any time!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Downloadable Giveaway!

That's right!  Another giveaway to wind down this summer of giveaways!  This one is international!  And totally downloadable (thus, the name!)

We are offering the following:

~ 1 AllSoulsCon online pass - Penguin Books has been really generous and has provided us with a pass to offer so that a lucky winner can attend AllSoulsCon virtually!
What’s included in the online Pass?
*   All the panels streamed live
*   Opportunities to submit questions to the panelists
*   Exclusive contests (including one from the Daemons!)
*   Downloadable items (event badge designed by FetchGoodyAlsop, printable All Souls Trilogy-inspired party items, suggested menu, stickers)

~ 1 All Souls Trilogy Audible audiobook!  And of course we Daemons love to put a cherry on top!  We are throwing in a full AST audiobook (you choose which one), featuring Jennifer Ikeda, from Audible.  A gift from us to the winner!  International restrictions may apply depending on the publisher for the book in the country, so the winner may wind up with an Audible credit instead.  In order to receive the book/credit the winner must be an Audible member.  They offer a free trial membership with no obligation to join.

The best part?  No packages to wait for.  It's will all be available to you electronically!
Please see the following requirements for streaming ASC online -

We are going to go ahead stick to our tried and true giveaway formula—one simple mandatory trivia question (from A Discovery of Witches), two bonus questions, and social media options for more chances to win!  See terms/conditions at the bottom of this post.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Terms and Conditions:
•  Contest ends the night of the 31th of August at 11:59pm.  Clock is set for EST.  Check for time zone differences!
•  No purchase or membership is required for participation.
•  Please know that we will never use your information to spam you, nor will we sell it to another agency.  We hate that, we know you do too.  :)
•  Twitter users will have the opportunity to enter daily. 
•  Social media entries (with the exception of Facebook): if the entrant follows on social media, they must be a current follower at the time of the drawing.  Following to enter, then unfollowing will disqualify the entrant.  Following is an option and is not mandatory.  This is why we assigned the highest point value to one of the trivia questions!  We want you to want to follow us.  If you don't, no worries and no hard feelings!  You are still welcomed to enter!
•   Point system correlates to how many entries you are given.  Example: if you respond correctly to a trivia question worth 3 points, you will be given 3 entries.  Yes, we check the answers! ;)
•  We reserve the right to disqualify entrants to who do not meet the specified criteria. 
•  Winner will be chosen by random drawing (using the Rafflecopter app) at contest end.  Provided all the entry requirements are met (trivia answer[s] are correct, or social media entry verifies), the winner will be contacted via email within 72 hours of contest end, and will have an additional 72 hours to respond afterwards. If there is no response, or the selected entrant fails to meet criteria, a new winner will be chosen and notified using the same method mentioned above.
•  This promotion is sponsored by Daemons Domain and Penguin Books.  It is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with any of the social media venues (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, & Pinterest) we use to publicize it.  The aforementioned parties are hereby released of any liability. 
•  This contest is open internationally.  There may be restrictions as far as getting a winner outside of the U.S. an All Souls Trilogy audiobook from Audible directly.  Instead, Audible will offer a credit to users outside of the U.S.A.  The winner may receive an AST book from the proper publisher or another audiobook (of choice) altogether.

If you have any additional questions re: this giveaway, feel free to send us an email!  Email us at - Subject: "Downloadable Giveaway"

Good Luck!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Weekly Geek! 'The Book of Life'

This installment of the Weekly Geek  is the finale of our exploration of titles. This week - you guessed it!  It's none other than The Book of Life.  It doesn't take its name from God's book mentioned in the Talmud.  According to Jewish belief, The Book of Life contains the name of every person going to heaven - those who are considered righteous before God.  While there are some parallels to the creature's Book of Life, it doesn't really fit the requirement of being a renaissance work. Those parallels between the Jewish and the creatures will be the subject of their very own 'geek' - we promise!

The inspiration for the title of the AST The Book of Life is actually a 15th century work by a Florentine philosopher/theologian/physician, Marsilio Ficino.  Among other things, Ficino served three generations of the Medici and  was chosen by  Cosimo de Medici to run Plato's Academy in Florence - in large part due to Ficino's status as the driving force behind the resurgence of Platonism during the Renaissance.

Villa Medici Careggi - site of the Academy

By virtue of his status in Florence, Ficino influenced Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Durer, and Pico della Mirandola, among others! Ficino was also a leading defender of the concept of the immortality of the soul.  His interest in astrology also got him into some hot water with the Church! (Whoops.)

Our AST namesake, also referred to as De Vita, was published in 1489 and contained a great deal of medical and astrological advice for maintaining health and vigor, as well as espousing the Neoplatonist view of the world's ensoulment and its integration with the human soul.  In short, Ficino was a 'big picture' kind of guy.

First page of a Ficino codex
"There will be some men or other, superstitious and blind, who see life plain in even the lowest animals and the meanest plants, but do not see life in the heavens or the world ... Now if those little men grant life to the smallest particles of the world, what folly! what envy! neither to know that the Whole, in which 'we live and move and have our being,' is itself alive, nor to wish this to be so." ~ from the Book of Life

In a way, Ficino and his philosophy conjures up a real life version of Edward Kelly and the creature's Book of Life in Shadow of Night.  There are threads from Ficino to many of the historical figures who make an appearance in our beloved trilogy!  Ficino especially influences George Chapman's imagination in his discussion of Homeric poetic inspiration. Giordano Bruno, Symphorian Champier and Athanasius Kircher were all devoted students of his work.  Emperor Rudolf's library contained many of Ficino's works.  And it probably comes as absolutely no surprise that John Dee actually owned a copy of Ficino's Book of Life!1

Our final connection is entirely speculative on our parts, but based on Daemon detection, there is a very good chance that Matthew may have met and had an opportunity to learn under Ficino prior to wearing out his welcome in Florence.Matthew at the Academy paints a delicious picture in our Daemon brains!

Feed your own daemons with these delicacies:

Codex of De Vita

1. Westman, Robert. The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism and Celestial Order, p.191
2. Matthew's Florence adventures are mentioned briefly in Chapter 28, A Discovery of Witches and Chapter 9, Shadow of Night

You can see our other Weekly Geeks concerning All Souls Trilogy titles here:
The Discovery of Witches
Shadow of Night

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts! If you enjoy our Weekly Geeks and/or our other regular features, you can subscribe and have our posts come straight to your inbox.

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Ridiculously Random Recap! - Issue 3

Ah, the Ridiculously Random Recap!  Why the name?  Because it's a recap.  And it's random (ridiculously so).  There is no rhyme, reason or rationale, reference it's recurring release.  Also, alliterations are almost always adored by able, yet addled daemons!

We have a few things to report in case you missed it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr ...etc and elsewhere.

It's sort of a short one this time, but good information, regardless!

From July 24th, 2015 until today! Here we go!

1. Fandom news

All Souls Con:
If you plan to buy a ticket, time is running out to purchase at the discounted price!  You have until 13 August (Diana's birthday!).  Also, the fan-panel has been announced!  See the schedule <---here.

The Tenth Knot:
Ready for the next step in your virtual Oxford tour? This time you'll be visiting The Bridge of Sighs, New College, and All Souls College!  Check it out here: Part 2 - The Bodleian.   Then on to Oxford's Covered Market here: Part 3! More to come on The Tenth Knot!

The Bridge of Sighs - Photo by L. Ventura.
The Daemons - what we've been doing!

Happy Birthday, Diana - Giveaway!

- We are co-hosting this: Diana's Birthday Giveaway (most prizes listed on image above) with AllSoulsCon and The All Souls Podcast!  Runs until 13 August, 2015!
- A bit of whimsy with this post: Examining the Case of the Magpie
- This week, we published a Weekly Geek - featuring George Chapman!
- Congratulations to Maro Hogan!  She's won our Game Night Giveaway, featuring the AST Board Game!

2.  Other Points of Interest Around the Web

• Pretty cool time-lapse video of Oxford.

Timelapse of Oxford from Spires Media on Vimeo

• She made it!
We're happy @CACatlady! got her riding companion safely!

3.  Author/Series News

Deb and 'Esmerelda' on the road!
• Deb went on a Road Trip!  While away, she announced 4 upcoming US events: Deb Harkness Events

- Tuesday, October 27th at 7:00 pm
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02138

- Wednesday, October 28th at 8:00pm
Brooklyn, NY.

- Friday, October 30th at 6:15pm
Nashville Public Library
615 Church St, Nashville TN 37219
Find Tickets/Tickets available:

- Sunday, November 8th at 6:00 pm in MST
Jean Cocteau Cinema
418 Montezuma Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Find Tickets/Tickets available:

• The All Souls Real-Time Reading Companion - Deb and Headline Books have created an exclusive e-short for UK readers.  (Thank you Vicky Palmer for the tweet that made us and others deliriously happy!)

Currently on Amazon for pre-order; expected e-release is September 18th, 2015.  Pre-order here: Pre-order The All Souls Real-Time Reading companion

Cover of the upcoming E-short for UK readers.

A Discovery of Witches Sample
Do you have a friend you'd like to introduce the series to?  Don't have the share option with your various ebook accounts?  Look no further, the first 4 chapters of ADOW are available to read free from Penguin: Read the First Four Chapters of ADOW (will take some time to load)

Do you know of anything going on in the fandom that you'd like to see included in these recaps?  Please contact us!  Also, we love to hear about new events, websites, or articles as long as it has to do with the All Souls Trilogy!  Do you like our regular features/posts?  Consider subscribing!  You can unsubscribe whenever you'd like, and our new content will come straight to your inbox! 
Subscribe to Daemons Domain!

Til next time!
Feed your daemons...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Weekly Geek! 'Shadow of Night'

This installment of Weekly Geek is a theme continuation from the last time we published one of these: All Souls Trilogy titles. Having already covered A Discovery of Witches, this time we're guessed it: Shadow of Night!

You can thank none other than George Chapman.  It just so happens that one of his best known poems is titled "The Shadow of Night."  It was dedicated "To My Deare and Most Worthy friend,  Master Matthew Roydon". Coincidence?  No.  It's a pretty safe bet that Ms. Harkness may have spent more than a little time with good ol' George while she was deep down in the Matthew Roydon rabbit hole in graduate school!*

Click the image to enlarge.
Here's the thing . . . the George Chapman we meet in Shadow of Night (SON) comes across to the reader as meek, mild and approachable compared to the rest of Matthew's raucous posse.   In the story that's how we perceive him — sweet, unassuming, George — he's the one who tutors Diana; assists her in gaining her general bearings in the 16th century, dutifully helps with the extensive search for Ashmole 782, and slaves away on his translation of Homer (more on that subject another time.  Suffice it to say, we Daemons suspect a certain Gael and/or his moody uncle may have put a bug in George's ear about that one.)  What SON doesn't show us is that George is the poetry equivalent to a rock star's rock star!  You know who we mean...that old Blues legend that every rock-god cites as source of inspiration and influence.  Well friends, our mild-mannered George is essentially the Muddy Waters of poetry.  He's part of the reason that the English Romantics, particularly John Keats (who was moved to write "On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer"), and Percy Bysshe Shelley  became so "mad, bad and dangerous to know!" Who would've thought?! If you only knew of George Chapman from the novel, Shadow of Night, you'd have no earthly idea how influential he actually was.  Harkness has confirmed that this is by design; her writings touch the surfaces of the stories of various historical figures to perhaps tempt the reader to dig a little deeper.  In our case, it worked!

Onto "The Shadow of Night!"  It's a poem in two parts, modeled on Greek hymns.  It's full of allegorical references to the Greek and Roman gods.  It's been characterized as a heroic poem which laments the loss of true knowledge and virtue (it seems the same complaints we hear today about the 'dumbing-down' of society are nothing new).  The first hymn seems to have a special kinship to the world of AST, and really appeals to our daemon sensibilities!  It's a hymn to Night as a primordial goddess.  She is praised in part, for the inspired melancholy she brings.  This 'inspired melancholy' is a desired state because it allows for deep introspection, self examination, and contemplation of the world.  The daylight hours, in contrast, are devoted to trivial distractions.  Who better to take full advantage of the night than a scholarly vampire with little need for sleep?  In fact, we may know the poster child for Chapman's inspired melancholy! :)  Now reading the dedication to Matthew Roydon makes absolute sense - at least in the AST universe!   Although the Matthew we know may take issue at the repeated references to 'glitter' — (!) ;)

Alex Ruiz "Starry Night"
We could go on for hours examining the varied themes in this poem — it's one of the many hazards of being a daemon — but we will spare you that, and leave you with some links below for your own exploration, including a biography, an expert's take on the occult themes in "The Shadow of Night" (hello elemental magic!), and a link to a collection of George's poems.

Go forth!
feed your daemons!

Poetry, including Shadow of Night:

* For those who didn't understand the reference, Deb's mentioned it during the different stops on her tour this year; Matthew Roydon was an elusive man in her research during her graduate studies! Thus, "the rabbit hole" ;)

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geekcontact us!  You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts! Do you enjoy our posts and features?  Subscribe to Daemons Domain!  You can unsubscribe at anytime.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Happy Birthday, Diana! Giveaway.

To celebrate Diana's Birthday, we are having a joint giveaway with our partners over at All Souls Con and The All Souls Podcast!

Up for grabs is:

- A paperback copy of Shadow of Night
- A signed copy of Diana's commonplace book (signed by Deborah Harkness)
- A leather bracelet that says "Magic begins with desire" by @marifel
- A sample from all three All Souls Trilogy Books. (along with a pouch and earbuds)
- A dream pillow made by Kate on Pins and Needles 
- An AST bookmark
- A Holographic TBOL Pin
- Em's recipe for Vampire Walnuts (not shown in the picture)

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

This contest is open internationally and ends on the evening of Diana's Birthday- 13th of August 11:59 pm PDT
Terms: One winner will be drawn using the Rafflecopter app, and notified via email within 48 hours after the contest ends. The winner will have 72 hours to reply, or a new winner will be drawn.

Good Luck!