1576 : Witch Hunter Manual - The legacy of Institoris & Sprenger

Bartholomaeus de Spina
Novus Malleus Maleficarum
sub quaestione de strigibus seu maleficiis

First edition - Of utmost rarity.

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1576, Romae. 4to (8.3 in - 21 cm) , 5ff 180 p .

Complete in very good condition. Later full vellum binding.

Exact title of this 1st edition : Quaestio de Strigibus ( = Inquiry on Witches)

Also contains :
-Quadruplici apologia de Lamiis (refutation of Ponzinibio's defense of witches in the Tractatus de Lamiis)
-Tractutus de praeminentia sacrae theologiae

First edition (the only one in large format) of this extremely rare book that was written around 1523 making it one of the earliest practical manual against witches by one of the fiercest inquisitors of his time, and a firm believer in the reality of witchcraft.

It is most famous under the title of the second edition : Novus malleus maleficarum sub quaestione de strigibus seu maleficis (1581,Cologne, 8vo, 398pages). This second edition is more usual although almost impossible to find.

Beautiful roman impression with a wood-cut on title page.

In this "Investigation on witches" (the most common latin words to designate witches are (Sagae, striges, veneficiae & lamiae), the author defends firmly their existence, and more particularly the reality of nocturnal flying, copulation with demons, and transformation into beasts (there is a full chapter on the transformation of witches into cats).No doubt exist on their culpability. He also remarks than if their confessions are enough to burn them, they can also serve, even under torture, to act as a proof against the accomplices they denounce. These accomplices can in their turn be "confessed" before their execution, and God won't allow any innocent to be harmed !

In the added treatise against Penzinibo, the author defends the reality of witchcraft and the methods of torture used against witches, against the author of the Tractatus de Lamiis , who was the first to oppose these methodes.

Although this work is of utmost importance , its great rarity accounts for many bibliographies on the occult not mentioning it (including Caillet and Dorbon). There was no copy in the library of R.Lenkiewicz, that was considered the most complete contemporary collection of ancient books on the subject.

Rosenthal 1130 - Cornell 518 - Thorndike 5-71 - Not in Caillet, Dorbon, Guaita, Y-P.

Index of the De Strigibus :

1 - Proponitur quaestio, ducuntur argumenta quattuor quae generaliter probare videntur partem questionis falsam : omnia in quam quae narrantur de Strigibus, non in veritate aut in corpore, sed per phantasticas visiones aut in somnis, diabolici, spiritus illusione contingere.
2 - Duo argumenta producuntur ad idem, quae specialiter probare videntur, Striges ad ludum diabolicum unctione vel alio maleficio facto non portari. Inde unicum pro parte quaestionis vera subnectitur: quo sit ut tota questio dubia reddatur.
3-Plurima maleficiorum genera officio Inquisitionis atqui iudicio subiecta oftenduntur de quibus tamen non esse principalem huius operis intentionem differere, manifestatur et Adrioani Papae vi. Breve contra Striges, ac ipsus strigiatus haeresim.
4- Quae sit operis huius specialis intentio; quotue sint in eodem specialiter declaramda
5 - Homines a daemonibus posse deferri ad longin qua terrarum spatia:itidem facto huic accessoria, sacris litteris non contradicere, qnin potius congruere.
6- Daemones hominibus apparere posse in forma humana , & etiam in brutali : ipsosq : se praebere incubos eisdem et succubos .
7 - Daemones virtute sua naturali posse quaeq; per-dita seu destructa, non eadem numero, sed specie: non solum in apparentia, sed vere etiam recuperare.
8 - Viros ac mulieres in brutorum quamcumq; speciem virtute daemonum non vere conuersi, sed delusorie.
9. Deum optimum Mac. non nisi sapientissima dispositione permittere mala plurima quae per Striges contigunt gieri, & ex eis elicere multa bona
10 - Ea quae comuniter referuntur de Strigibus, non posse contingere tantum in somnis. 11 - Eadem quae referuntur de Strigibus in veritate sic contingere posse, ut communiter fama volat, pluribus suadetur exemplis.
12 - Esse firmiter credendum, at que nullatenus dubitanlum, praedicta omnia eo modo contingere quo ab Inquisitoribus affirmantur ratione ex eorumdem Inquisitorum iudiciis sumpta.
13 - Ad idem secunda ratio sumptae ex textium multiplicium ssertione fideli, omnique; exceptione maiori, & unious respondionis reprobatio
14 - Improbatio unius evasionis ad praedictam rationem
15 - Ad eandem euasionem praecludendam, aliae de ductiones inuictae.
16 - Ad idem ratio tertia ex multiplici experientia per nobiles inducta.
17 - Experientiae corporalis cursus ac transportationis Strigum ad longinquia loca per personas populares inductae.
18-Experientiae corporalis cursus ac transportationis Strigum ad longinqua loca persona populares inductae
19 - Experientiae apparentis conuersionis Strigum in catos.
20 - Cur Deus permittat quod daemones copiosos ac celebres Strigum conuentus, crebro sic instruant ac aceruent , e diuersis regionibus assumptis viris ac mulieribus.
21 - Pro solutione primi argumenti, primo deduci tur allegatum in contrarium capitulum Episcopi esse multipliciter de authoritate ac veritate suspectum.
22 - non euadere Striges manus Inquisitorum, et de variis lluionum diaboli modis atque generibus.
23 - Argumentum secudum soluitur, in qua solutione quid de casu in legenda santi Germani sacto factis Strigum simili sentiendum fi multipliciter aperitur .
24 - Nodi omnes dissoluuntur , quibus tertium quartumque argumentum
25 - Trahatur diabulous ad Strigum vota per illam unctionem , quasi per signum ...
26 - Diabolum quandoque praeferre quasi personae immobiliter dormientis imaginem, ne credatur personam illam vere sed potius delusorie ac imaginaris visione tantum modo ad ludum esse delatam
27 - Striges non posse diabolo non subesse: qualiter etiam apparenter conuertantur in catos & ab eadem etiam liberentur delusione, clarissime manifestatur
29 - De obligatione illa, qua Diabolo striges promis tunt occidere pueros, & quare Deus tot inocentum iniustam (ut apparet) necem permittat.