The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault

By Mary Renault

Within the fourth century BC, Nikeratos is an actor, a devotee of Plato, and a pal of Dion of Syracuse. Their courting offers Nikeratos infrequent proximity to the Greek political level at a second whilst targets are approximately to collide. In Syracuse, the younger tyrant Dionysios the more youthful principles, yet Dion is decided to carry democracy and power to the town. in order to scale down Dionysios's excesses, Dion has Plato pose as a tutor—only to profit that the corrupt early life won't be so simply contained. With a mix of erudition and storytelling strength, Renault immerses the reader in intrigue and crafts a colourful Syracuse that leaps off the page.

This book positive factors an illustrated biography of Mary Renault together with infrequent pictures of the writer.

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The Mask of Apollo

Within the fourth century BC, Nikeratos is an actor, a devotee of Plato, and a chum of Dion of Syracuse. Their courting provides Nikeratos infrequent proximity to the Greek political degree at a second while pursuits are approximately to collide. In Syracuse, the younger tyrant Dionysios the more youthful ideas, yet Dion is set to deliver democracy and energy to town.

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Their goal was the practice of alchemy, or the ability to transform lead into silver or gold. The key to alchemy, according to ideas introduced in the tenth century, was a magical substance called the Philosopher’s Stone. Because it consisted of fine particles, this substance was not really a stone but a powder. For this reason the Philosopher’s Stone was sometimes referred to by sorcerers as the powder of projection. The strength of the Philosopher’s Stone was based on the nowdiscredited belief that all matter is composed of identical atoms.

As Levi writes: “There are two kinds of Necromancy, that of light and that of darkness—the evocation [of the dead] by Prayer, Pentacle and Perfumes, and the evocation by blood, imprecations and sacrilege [curses and disrespect]. We . . ”38 “The Carcasses of the Slain” Did You Know? Ancient Romans described spirits called larvae, creatures with hideous facial features that tortured the dead in the underworld. 62 Sorcery The methods of necromancy developed by the early Greeks and Romans survived for centuries with little variation, and the purpose of talking to the dead remained the same in every era.

While the desire for gold was strong, the quest for the Philosopher’s Stone went beyond satisfying the greed of the sorcerer. It was thought that the Philosopher’s Stone could also rearrange the atoms in the human body. This would heal the sick and pro- 54 Sorcery long life indefinitely. By pursuing the Philosopher’s Stone, alchemists sought immortality. “The Most Pure Gold” The search for a formula for the Philosopher’s Stone consumed the lives of innumerable sorcerers. One of the earliest descriptions of the substance comes from 1618.

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