1    The Golem of Prague

In the sixteenth century, the House of Habsburg controlled much of Central Europe, the Netherlands, and Spain, as well as Spain’s colonies in the Americas. The House was maybe the first true world power. The Sun shone always on some portion of it. Its ruler was also Holy Roman Emperor, and his seat of power was Prague. The Emperor in the late sixteenth century, Rudolph II, loved intellectual life. He invested in the arts, the sciences (including astrology and alchemy), and mathematics, making Prague into a world center of learning and scholarship. It is appropriate then that in this learned atmosphere arose an early robot, the Golem of Prague.

A golem (goh-lem) is a clay robot from Jewish folklore, constructed from ...

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