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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: count alessandro di cagliostro

DEFINITIONS

Count Alessandro di Cagliostro:

(1743–1795) There is a debate as to whether Cagliostro was a unique person or an alias for Joseph (or Giuseppe) Balsamo, an occultist and con artist. As a result, comments about Cagliostro may refer to him, to Balsamo, or to both.

Cagliostro/Balsamo travelled Europe and was involved with famous people, ranging from Cardinal Orsini to Benjamin Franklin. He seems to have been involved with the creation of sects of Freemasonry. Most famously, he was involved in the "Affair of the Diamond Necklace" with Marie Antoinette to defraud the jewelers to the French monarchy. This was one of the triggers that led to the French Revolution.

Cagliosto was supposedly also an alchemist, founded maternity hospitals and orphanages, and author of several books on occult topics. He spent time in prison and with royalty. His story is one of myth blended with reality.




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