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Angels and Ether

The scheme of creation from top to bottom had not been single and consistent. Some portions of it could not be fitted into a single unit: e.g. the four elements so there should be a supplementary chain connected with the main one. The ordinary educated Elizabethans thought of universe as geocentric. They believed in God domiciled beyond the world in the coelum empyraeum. The name of this heaven signifies and hence light and the notion of God as light. The universe was believed to be constituted of a number of spheres increasing from the moons through the other planets and to that of the fixed stars in diameter and there was believed a sphere called the primum mobile outside of the fixed stars sphere which dictated the motions proper to all the rest. Within the universe there was a division between everything beneath the sphere of the moon and all the rest of universe. In one theory the four elements being the material for the whole universe, were mixed below the moon imperfectly and above it perfectly so the heavens were eternal and the sublunary regions subjected to decay. In an alternative theory the substance of all creation from the moon upward was the ether, the fifth element. The farther the distance from the earth, the purer and more brilliant was the universe. The Elizabethans kept the main medieval beliefs about the angels but omitted or confused many of the details: -They believed that the angels are intermediate between God and man and their nature is purely intellectual. -They posses free will like man but it never conflicts with Gods will. -They apprehend god not by figure or symbol. -They are arranged in orders and are Gods messengers and guardians of men. The most influential account of medieval notion of order of the angels resembling that of the men is introduced by Dionysius, the Christian Neo-Platonist of the 5th century A.D. There are three main orders of angels with their subdivisions:
1. The highest which is contemplative: Seraphs, Cherubs, Thrones 2. The 2nd which is more active but their psychological state is rather of an attribute than of the action: Dominations, Virtues, Powers 3. The most active f all: Principalities, Archangels, angels

The Dionysian order had lost its authority in Elizabethan age and was sometimes ignored and sometimes altered. In spite of the majority, there had been some other beliefs about the angels in the Elizabethan age mainly derived from Plato and Plotinus and that created an enthusiastic idealism which is the true mark the Renaissance, a habit of mind difficult to understand for a modern being at once fantastic and allied to action. -Platonists made a more picturesque world that in medieval period was mathematical. In Caxtons encyclopedia the world is compared to an egg.

-In another version of Platonism, above men and below the angels there was Nature in the ladder of creation. Nature was considered an intellectual being that Plato called the Soul of the world. However the orthodox opinion about nature was that nature has some laws applicable only to its own but it does not have a will and cannot be ranked as a kind of goddess, rather it is the direct and involuntary tool of God himself. -Another piece of Platonism is found in Spencer, in his Hymn of Heavenly Beauty where he duplicates the setting of the spheres of the physical universe with a variety of inhabitants:
1. God 2. Angels and Archangels 3. Cherubim and Seraphim 4. Seats and Dominations 5. Powers and Potentates 6. Platos Ideas and Intelligences 7. Soul of righteous men

-There was another way of Platonism that believed in the angles who were supposed to direct the turning of the spheres in the physical universe which is best known through the references in the poems of Donne. In the theory of the chain of being, before the intelligences were thought of as the lowest rank of angels linking with the highest specimen of the human race but the Platonists elaborated the function of intelligences finding them identical with the sirens who in Platos opinion sit upon their spheres and sing their different tones to compose the music of the world i.e. there is a melody made up by the motion of spheres which Aristotle puts off. This became a stock theme of academic disputation but the notion still fascinated mens mind in poetry. -The Elizabethans also believed that a part of angels fell from grace, inhabited hell and did harm to men and that they fell through pride. The bad angels also were ordered in nine groups as Dionysian order of angels:
1. Gods of gentiles, whose prince was Beelzebub. 2. Liars and equivocators whose princes were Apollo, Pythius, etc. 3. Vessels of anger, inventors of all mischief whose prince was Belial. 4. Revenging devils whose prince was Asmodeus. 5. Cozenes, belong to magicians and witches whose prince was Satan. 6. Aerial devils that corrupt the air and cause plagues, thunders, fires, etc. whose prince was Meresin. 7. Destroyer, captain of Furies causing wars and uproars whose prince was Abaddon. 8. The devil that derives men to despair. 9. Tempters in several kinds whose prince was Mammon.

-In an alternative way Psellus devides devils into six. whose prince was