Francesco Scipione Maffei. Arte Magica Annichilata. Venona: 1754.

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    Francesco Scipione Maffei. Arte Magica Annichilata. Venona: Domenico Occhi, 1754.

    First Edition. Quarto. a4+p1, A-T4 [T4 blank] [10], 328, [6] pages. Device on title page, head-pieces, historiated initials. Contemporary vellum , some foxing and soiling to the vellum, chipped title label, edges red, University of Chicago bookplate (with deaccession stamp), a rectangular piece of the front pastedown has been excised, else a fine clean, crisp copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

    Francis 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 history 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 offense, 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 controversy were the Arte Magica Dileguata (1749), Arte Magica Distrutta (1750) and the Arte Magica Annichilata (1754).       

    Cornell, Witchcraft, 365  Casanatense 781 Graesse, Magica,59. Olschki, Choix , 13420. Coumont M6.5. (various imprint).

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