Martin Delrio. Disquisitionum Magicarum Libri Sex, 1612

The most influential early modern book on witchcraft, magic & superstition, 1612

Martin Delrio. Disquisitionum Magicarum Libri Sex. Quibus continetur accurata curiosarum artium, & vanarum superstitionum confutatio, utilis Theologis, Iurisconsultis, Medicis, Philologis. Moguntiae, apud Johannem Albinum (Mainz, Johann Albin), 1612. 4to (24,5 x 19 cm). [24], 1070, [2 blank] pp.


Title-page printed in red and black. Woodcut initials and head- and tailpieces. Contemporary vellum with the sewing supports laced-in. Paste-downs not pasted down, revealing vellum fragments of a mediaeval manuscript, the sewing supports at the lower board broken, turn-ins at upper board curled away from the board. Still overall in good condition.


A rare and early edition of Martin Delrio's celebrated Disquisitionum magicarum libri sex, one of the most influential books on witchcraft, magic and superstition published in early modern Europe.


A Jesuit born in Antwerp and a noted classical scholar, Martin Delrio (1551-1608) is best remembered today as the author of the Disquisitiones, his magnum opus. The first edition appeared in 1599-1600; in the centuries that followed it was reprinted numerous times. Indeed, the work remained in print until well into the 18th century, eclipsing the Malleus maleficarum.


"Its influence extended beyond the Catholic Netherlands across Europe and even reached the shores of North America, where in the wake of the Salem witchcraft trials the Harvard divine Increase Mather cited from the work with approval", as Machielsen writes in his introduction.


Divided into six books (with every book preceded by a summary) it subsequently treats "magia in genere", "magia in daemoniaca", "maleficio, et de vana observatione", "officio iudicum contra maleficos" and finally "officio confessarii".


VD17 1:001038S (5 copies); this edition not in Caillet; cf. Machielsen, Martin Delrio (Oxford, 2015).

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