Concept

Brazen head

Summary
A brazen head, brass, or bronze head was a legendary automaton in the early modern period whose ownership was ascribed to late medieval scholars, such as Roger Bacon, who had developed a reputation as wizards. Made of brass or bronze, the male head was variously mechanical or magical. Like Odin's head of Mimir in Norse paganism, it was reputed to be able to correctly answer any question put to it, although it was sometimes restricted to "yes" or "no" answers. In the seventeenth century, Thomas Browne considered them to be misunderstanding of the scholars' alchemical work, while in modern times, Borlik argues that they came to serve as "a metonymy for the hubris of Renaissance intellectuals and artists". Idries Shah devotes a chapter of his book The Sufis to providing an interpretation of this "head of wisdom" as well as the phrase "making a head", stating that at its source the head "is none other than the symbol of the [Sufic] completed man." Legend Chaucer's "The Squire's
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