Robert Fludd

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Robert Fludd.

Robert Fludd (* 1574 in Milgate Park (Milgate House) of Thurnham at Bearsted near Maidstone / today in the Maidstone district , Kent ; † September 8, 1637 in London ) was an English philosopher , theosophist and physician.


Fludd was born in Kent, England. He began his medical studies at Oxford University in 1592 . After traveling in France , Italy and Germany , he practiced as a doctor in London. As a natural philosopher and theosophist, he was strongly influenced by Nikolaus Cusanus and Paracelsus .

Robert Fludd: Utriusque cosmi, 1617

He was a follower of esoteric ideas and wrote various writings on this topic. His main esoteric work was Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris Metaphysica, physica atque technica Historia , whereby the larger world means the macrocosm, i.e. the universe, and the small world means the human being, as microcosm. He underpins his views (almost on every page) with many quotations from Hermes Trismegistos in Poimandres , i.e. the translation of the Corpus Hermeticum by Marsilio Ficino and Asclepius . Fludd was thus in the hermetic - cabbalistic tradition of the Renaissance, in the direction represented by Ficino and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola . One of the Christian Kabbalists next to Mirandola was Johannes Reuchlin .

The second volume, the microcosm, whose technical story he would like to tell, is adorned by a person above whom a triangular halo hovers, symbolizing its divine origin. At the feet of man is a monkey, with which Fludd symbolizes the art through which man mirrors and imitates nature. In the segments of a circle the treated arts or techniques are shown, which are then dealt with in the chapters: prophecy , geomancy , memory art, genetic biology (the art of creating horoscopes ), physiognomics , chiromancy and pyramids of science. Pyramids are Fludd's symbol for the up and down movements or interactions between the divine / spiritual and the earthly / physical.

Fludd was attacked by Marin Mersenne , who u. a. wrote that Fludd's two worlds were based on the unproven "Egyptian" doctrine, according to which man contained the world (the doctrine of Hermetica) and from Asclepius the claim of Mercurius that man was a great miracle and like God. William Foster, a clergyman, attacked him as a magician. The astronomer Johannes Kepler attacked Fludd because of the pictures and hieroglyphs used in his books. Kepler juxtaposed the numbers used by Fludd in the hermetic manner with his truly mathematical diagrams. The contrast between Fludd and Kepler (allegorical, medieval thinking on the one hand and the beginning of the exact natural sciences on the other) later found the interest of Wolfgang Pauli .

Fludd did indeed hold on to the authority of the Hermetica, although Isaac Casaubon stated in 1614 that they appeared in post-Christian times. But Fludd still believed in the Hermetica as an authentic product of ancient Egyptian wisdom.

Fludd appeared in his writings as an advocate of the Rosicrucian ideas, but refused to belong to a Rosicrucian order suspected by some contemporaries, as he explained in his work Summum bonum under his pseudonym "Joachim Frizius".

Robert Fludd was buried in Bearsted.


The contemporary German artist and Joseph Beuys student Anselm Kiefer dedicated a cycle of works to Robert Fludd, impressed by his statement that every plant has its counterpart in the sky in the form of a star. In particular, he created a book with 18 lead double pages, which are designed on both sides with acrylic on photos using mixed media. The book is titled For Robert Fludd - The Secret Life of Plants .


Figure from mind and consciousness
  • Tractatus apologeticus integritatem Societatis de Rosea Cruce defendens , Leiden 1617
  • Tractatus theologico-philosophicus , Oppenheim 1617
  • Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris Metaphysica, physica atque technica Historia , 2 vols., Oppenheim, Frankfurt 1617
  • Tractatus secundus. De naturae simia seu technica macrocosmi historia , Oppenheim 1618, Frankfurt 1624
  • Monochordium Mundi symphoniacum J. Kepplero oppositum , Frankfurt 1622
  • Philosophia sacra et vera christiana seu Meteorologia cosmica , Frankfurt 1626
  • Sophiae cum memoria certamen , 1629
  • Clavis philosophiae et alchymiae , 1633
  • Philosophia Moysaica , Gouda 1638, engl. London 1659.


  • James Brown Craven: Doctor Robert Fludd (Robertus de Fluctibus). The English Rosicrucian, life and writings . William Peace, Kirkwall 1902, (Also reprinted: First Impressions, Thame 1993, ISBN 1-87273-630-0 ).
  • Allen George Debus: The English Paracelsians . Oldbourne, London 1965, ( Oldbourne history of science library ), (Also: Watts, New York 1966).
  • Joscelyn Godwin : Robert Fludd. Hermetic Philosopher and Surveyor of two Worlds . Thames and Hudson, London 1979.
  • William H. Huffman: Robert Fludd and the end of the Renaissance . Routledge, London et al. 1988, ISBN 0-415-00129-3 .
  • Johannes Rösche: Robert Fludd: The attempt of a hermetic alternative to modern natural science , Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 3862340570 ( preview )
  • Frances A. Yates : Memory and Recall. Mnemonic from Aristotle to Shakespeare . 3. Edition. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-05-002617-0 , ( Acta humaniora ), p. 294 ff .: Chapter 15: The theater memory system of Robert Fludd .
  • Antonio Clericuzio : Robert Fludd , in: Claus Priesner , Karin Figala : Alchemie. Lexicon of a Hermetic Science, Beck 1998, pp. 139-140
  • Dominik Perler : Robert Fludd: Die Welt im Kopf, in: C. Markschies u. a. (Ed.), Atlas of World Views. Berlin 2011. pp. 220-229.

Web links

Commons : Robert Fludd  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Johannes Rösche: Robert Fludd: The attempt of a hermetic alternative to modern natural science. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, p. 19f.
  2. Arthur I. Miller: 137, CG Jung, Wolfgang Pauli and the search for the cosmic number. Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Munich 2011
  3. ^ Robert Fludd in the Find a Grave database . Retrieved September 18, 2017 (English).