FULL TITLES: Vol 1: DISQVISITIONVM MAGICARVM LIBRI SEX, IN TRES TOMOS PARTITI. Auctore MARTINO DELRIO, Societatis IESV Presbytero. Tomus Primus.
[Six Books of Investigations into Magic, divided into three volumes. By the author MARTINO Del Rio, An elder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Volume 1].
Published by LOVANII, EX OFFICINA GERARDI RIVII. ANNO M. D. XCIX. [Leuven, From the workshop of Gerardus Rivius, Year 1599].
Vol. 2: MAGICARVM DISQVISITIONVM TOMVS SECVNDVS, IN QVO AGITVR DE MALEFICIO, VANA OBSERVATIONE, DIVINATIONE, & CONIECTATIONE. Auctore MARTINO DELRIO Societatis IESV Presbytero.
[The second volume of Investigations into Magic in which is discussed the harm of empty/deceptive/untrustworthy observation, divination and interpretation].
Published by LOVANII, Ex Officina GERARDI RIVII. ANNO M. DC. [Leuven, From the workshop of Gerardus Rivius Year 1600].
Vol 3. DISQVISITIONVM MAGICARVM TOMVS TERTIVS. SEV METHODVS Iudicum & Confeffariorum directioni commoda. AUCTORE MARTINO DELRIO, SOCIETATIS IESV PRESBYTERO.
[The third volume of Investigations into Magic. Useful severe methods for the direction of judges & confessors].
Published by LOVANII, Ex Officina GERARDI RIVII. ANNO M. DC. [Leuven: From the workshop of Gerardus Rivius Year 1600].
Written by: Martino Del Rio
Very rare 1599/1600 editions of Martino Del Rio’s Disquisitionum Magicarum in three volumes bound as one in original full calf leather binding. The spine is gilt decorated with 5 raised bands and a red gilt lettered morocco label. Separate title pages with engraved vignettes mark the beginning of each of the three volumes.Volume 1 is dated to 1599, while volumes 2 and 3 are dated to 1600. At the end of volume 1 is an errata leaf with the colophon on the verso dated 1599. There is a fold-out table in volume 2, which appears to be concerned with divination and auspicious signs/symbols and provides reference to other texts.
The last pages of volume 2 and 3 contain Gerardus Rivius’ printer’s vignette. The vignette depicts a winged horse atop a mound, whose base is surrounded by nine classical female figures playing instruments. Water springs forth from under the winged horse’s hind hooves, spilling into a river that encircles the figures. This scene clearly alludes to Pegasus atop Mount Helicon, the sacred mountain of the Muses, where his footsteps created the Hippocrene “horse spring”, a fount of poetic inspiration. The image rests above the printer’s motto, “TOTVM SIC IRRIGAT ORBEM”.
Martino Del Rio (1551 – 1608) was a scholar and statesman of Spanish descent, active in the Low Countries, who became a Jesuit in 1580 after his political career was complicated by the Dutch Revolt.
Del Rio was educated in Paris, Douai, and Louvain, and received the degree of Doctor of Law from Salamanca in 1574. Upon his return to the Low Countries he held the offices of senator, auditor of the army, vice-chancellor, and procurator general, having gained a reputation for, “being ‘the miracle of his age’, a title given to him by Justus Lipsius” (Fisher 1913). Del Rio, “possessed a speaking-knowledge of at least nine languages, wrote in a pure though somewhat diffuse style, and was careful to the extreme in the preparation of his books” (Fisher 1913).
Del Rio’s most (in)famous work Disquisitionum Magicarum, which he began after he joined the Jesuits, was envisioned as a book of reference for priests and ecclesiastical judges faced with matters of magic, witchcraft and the supernatural. What resulted was “a careful synthesis of witchcraft that drew connections with mathematics, astrology, alchemy, and other disciplines, and argued that the surge in witchcraft was rooted in the spread of “heresy” during the Reformation” (The Newberry, Religious Change and Print 1450-1700). Disquisitionum Magicarum “became the fundamental textbook for theologians and lawyers in particular until the middle of the eighteenth century” (Maxwell-Stuart 2014). A textbook, it is important to remember, that was instrumental in the persecutions of, “thousands of people, most of them lower-class women, (who) suffered torture and death” (The Newberry, Religious Change and Print 1450-1700).
This is a chance to own an important piece of European cultural history that had a profound impact on the adjudication of magic, and by extension everyday life throughout the Renaissance.
Of interest to those passionate about: religion/theology, law, history, gender and women’s studies, witchcraft, magic, alchemy, occult studies, folklore, Renaissance studies, Latin, early print culture, book studies.
"Supernaturalists and Empiricists: 3 Witchcraft and the Rise of the Empirical," Religious Change and Print 1450-1700. Newberry Publications, The Newberry Library, 2017 (Digital Exhibition).
Fisher, J. H. "Martin Anton Delrio." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. IV. 1913. 701. Internet Archive ONLINE.
The spine shows wear and damages of the leather but the boards remain firmly attached, and the binding is tight and intact. A small piece of leather is missing from the top of the spine. There is minor wear and rubbing of the front and back boards, there is also an old chip of the leather on the middle of the back board, along with a small spot with a series of scratches. The corners and gilt spine and edge ornaments show chipping and scuffing where there has been a deterioration of the leather (see pictures). The leather remains still smooth and supple to the touch. Library marks and bookplates from previous owners on the front blank and pastedown. Pages show age toning and some foxing. There is a water stain on the last five leaves, causing edge-wear to the last the three leaves. More pictures are available upon request.
BOOK MEASUREMENTS: 4to. 8” x 6” Inches. (LxB) 3” inches thick.