The rising class of technological adepts – these “mecanicians”

[The rising class of technological adepts – these “mecanicians” – wanted to increase and improve their skills. They sought out learning, not unlike those a hundred (?) years earlier who flocked to classes on literacy when the printing press spread the printed word – in the local languages (not Latin) – throughout Europe. Not long ago, in a similar fashion, people “flocked” to computer courses.]

It should be noted, though, that Dee’s understanding of the role of mathematics is radically different from our contemporary view. Dee’s promotion of mathematics outside the universities was an enduring practical achievement. As with most of his writings, Dee chose to write in English, rather than Latin, to make his writings accessible to the general public. His “Mathematical Preface” to Euclid was meant to promote the study and application of mathematics by those without a university education, and was very popular and influential among the “mecanicians”: the new and growing class of technical craftsmen and artisans. Dee’s preface included demonstrations of mathematical principles that readers could perform themselves without special education or training.

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