[Featured Lot] Maffei, Francesco Scipione. A Arte Magica Anniquilada...Accresce huma nova Prefacao, que escrevia o Traductor. Lisbon: Officina De Simao Thaddeo Ferreira, 1783. 4to. a-g4,h2,A-X8,Y6. 346,[2] pp. Contemporary mottled sheep, spine banded extra gilt in compartments, title on red leather label, edges with marbled design in green, covers a bit bowed in, paper remarkably clean and crisp in excellent state of preservation. Cut on t.p., decorated head-piece. First Portugese Edition. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Krown & Spellman retail: $750

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    Francesco Scipio Maffei (1675-1755), the playwright of Merope  and La Ceremonia , was a man of letters well loved by his fellow Veronese.  He was known for his travels to England and around the European continent in search of antique medals, intaglios, and cameos and his lavish yet inexpensive parties.  "[He]..was gifted with a comprehensive genius, a lively wit, and a penetrating mind, eager for discoveries, and well calculated for making them." [Chalmers.]This essay is the most important of those engendered by the controversy about Tartarotti's De Congresso Notturno della Lammie. Tartarotti, an Italian neo-platonist, published a histor of witch-beliefs from antiquity to the present (1749). Tartarotti found a survival of the Diana cult in the witches and criticized Del Rio and other witchcraft authors. "Witchcraft he holds to be a purely imaginary offence, hurtful to no one but the party herself. It may, indeed, merit punishment such as prison, exile, pillory, scourging or the like. The offense is that of the old illusioned followers of Diana, who are admonished charitably or treated medically." [H.C. Lea, Materials Toward A History Of Witchcraft, III,1445.]

    For Maffei, Tartarotti did not go far enough in attacking the rationality of the witchcraft belief. Maffei's three contributions to the witchcraft controvery were the Arte magica dileguata (1749), Arte magica distrutta (1750) and the Arte magica annichilata (1754).

    Portugal had very few trials of witches, its inquisitors were more concerned with Judaizers.The last recorded trial for witchcraft in Portugalwas in 1802. Portugese witches were not generally associated with heresy and the devil and were more of the 'cunning women' witches. {See Ankarloo and Clark, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe, 18th & 19th Centuries,1999,129ff.] Our translator  whose preface is of interest obviously is one of those intent on bringing 18th century rationalism to the discussion of witch beliefs.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2014
    16th-23rd Thursday-Thursday
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