Trivia

Hard

The Original “007” Was A Real Spy By The Name Of?

Belle Boyd
Richard Sorge
John Dee
Ian Flemming
A 16th century portrait of John Dee.
Unknown Artist/Wikimedia

Answer: John Dee

If you’re not a history buff with a focus on 16th century England, then you can be completely forgiven for thinking that “007” was simply a clever moniker that James Bond creator Ian Flemming made immortal by bestowing it upon his charming spy.

Long before James Bond was committed to type in the 20th century and then graced the silver screen with his dashing exploits for Queen and country, there was a very real 007 who was quite a character in and of himself.

In the 16th century, a man by the name of John Dee, an English Renaissance man well versed in everything from mathematics to astronomy, astrology, occult philosophy, and espionage, served as one of Queen Elizabeth I’s most trusted advisers and as a talented spy. When Dee was abroad and sending secret messages back to the Queen, he signed his correspondence “007”, a moniker that Ian Fleming was well aware of and, in a nod to Dee’s role in the history of British intelligence and his loyalty to the Queen, borrowed to use for James Bond.

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