Description

    Treatise on Shades, Vampires, and the Devil

    Ludwig Lavater. De Spectris, Lemuribus Et Magnis Atque Insolitis fragoribus, vriisque præsagitionibus quæ plerunque obitum hominum, magnas clades, mutationesque Imperiorum præcedunt, liber unus. Geneva: Eustache Vignon, 1580. Octavo. ¶6, a-n8, o3 (lacks blank, o4). [16], 213 pages. Woodcut device on title page, initials, head- and tail-pieces. Nineteenth century marbled boards with plain paper spine, rubbed, ink title and small discolored dent at head of spine. Ink signature to title page crossed out, tear in title, some contemporary ink underlining and annotations to outer margins. Some dampstaining, else in very good condition. Adams L301. Rosenthal 1885. Dorbon-Aine 2509. Caillet II: 6237. Thorndike VI: 530. Coumont L26.3. Cornell BF1445.L39-1580. USTC 450850. From the Krown & Spellman Collection. Please visit HA.com/6117 for an extended description of this lot.


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    Ludwig Lavater. De Spectris, Lemuribus Et Magnis Atque Insolitis fragoribus, vriisque præsagitionibus quæ plerunque obitum hominum, magnas clades, mutationesque Imperiorum præcedunt, liber unus. Geneva: Eustache Vignon, 1580.

    Octavo. ¶6, a-n8, o3 (lacks blank, o4). [16], 213 pages. Woodcut device on title page, initials, head- and tail-pieces. Nineteenth century marbled boards with plain paper spine, rubbed, ink title and small discolored dent at head of spine. Ink signature to title page crossed out, tear in title, some contemporary ink underlining and annotations to outer margins. Some dampstaining, else in very good condition.

    Lavater (1527-1586) Protestant minister of Zürich first published this treatise on Lemures, ghost shades of the dead which presage great disasters and the change of empires, in 1570.  He maintains that the many of these apparitions are not the souls of the dead but the work of demons. Caillet feels that this was an important source for Shakespeare's Hamlet.

    "This was a work of which numerous editions show that it must have exercised a wide and lasting influence. Lavater was a Protestant pastor in Zurich...There were Latin editions of Geneva in 1575, 1580, and 1670...Lavater's definition of Spectrum is an incorporeal being or spirit, good or evil. Lemures are the wandering shades of men, whether beneficent or maleficent....'It is not difficult for the devil to appear in the shape of the living or the dead or in that of animals and to do incredible things. For by long manifold experience of the power and effect of natural things he has the ability to work wonders. By this knowledge and his quickness he can deceive the sense and substitute one thing for another.' (pages 184-85 De Spectris)." - Lea, Materials of Witchcraft II: 548-551.

    "The foremost researcher on vampires among the Protestants, Lavater authored the treatise De Spectris, Lemuribus, et magnis atque insolitis Fragoribus (Geneva, 1575), translated into the English as Of Ghosts and Spirits Walking by Night. Its principal value is the compilation and presentation of extensive materials on vampire species in the ancient world. He wrote about such types as the maniae, lamiae, and larvae." - Bunson, The Vampire Encyclopedia.       

    Adams L301. Rosenthal 1885. Dorbon-Aine 2509. Caillet II: 6237.  Thorndike VI: 530. Coumont L26.3. Cornell BF1445.L39-1580. USTC 450850.

     



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    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
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