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Compendium Maleficarum: The Montague Summers Edition (Dover Occult) Paperback – September 1, 1988


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Compendium Maleficarum: The Montague Summers Edition (Dover Occult) + The Malleus Maleficarum of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger (Dover Occult) + Grimorium Verum
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Occult
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Montague Summers Edition edition (September 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048625738X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486257389
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Compendium Maleficarum was the ultimate field guide for the beginning demonologist in the 17th century. Guazzo's Compendium was accepted by his contemporaries as the authoritative manuscript on witchcraft. Later demonologists continued to hail the conciseness and clarity with which Guazzo analyzes the practice. The Compendium not only gives an organized account of the subject matter but provides a glimpse at the Christian view of witchcraft during the early 17th century.

Language Notes

Text: English, Latin (translation)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Markus Breuer on November 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book became famous because of the woodcuts, which display acts of witchcraft. The text itself was not scientific, even by 17 century standards.
This witch hunters manual was written by Guazzo, a rather uneducated italian monk, belonging to an obscure monastery, who had some local popularity among his farmers in northern italy, and who wrote this text to flatter one of his protectors.
It seems, that he compiled his knowledge from a multitude of sources, without integrating them into coherent framework.The structure of the book is rather unclear, and Summers hints, that the original was written in very poor 'monks latin'.Its theory is even more contradictory than the 'Malleus Malleficarum', and therefore it never became an authoritative source - not even inside the vatican.
It seems that this book's first edition in 1608 found very few readers,and that edition 2 in 1626 was published post mortem to commemorate a popular citizen, not to celebrate his 'science'.
It seems that the woodcuts appeared in the second edition to attract readers,because the text itself attracted little interest. By the way, it is possible, but can not be proven, that this book caused the witch hunt in MILANO in early 17th century.
Summary: minor source for history of witch hunt, famous for its superb woodcuts, not for its content,
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57 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on October 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Like it's famous companion, the Malleus Maleficarum, the Compendium Maleficarum is one of the most famous witchhunting manuals of the late Renaissance. It was written at a time when belief in witches, demons, and devils was widespread across Europe and the Church was obsessed with stamping out heresy, freethinking, and the last vestiges of paganism, all of which it saw as a threat to its power and dominion. This book, which is a reprint of the orginal printed in 1608, is not what many would consider "fun" reading, as the text is long and laborious and filled with examples and effusive details of how to detect, interrogate, and execute witches. It also goes into great detail as to how one supposedly became a witch and the various rites and rituals that went along with it. It should be noted that this is not a guide on how to be a witch, nor does it have anything to do with modern Wicca. In fact, this book deals with superstitious beliefs in witchcraft and demons that clearly show the paranoid mindset promoted by the church and instilled in the generally credulous public in the early 17th century. It shows the fear, yet morbid fascination, that many people, clerics especially, had in regard to these dark subjects and the murderous lengths to which they would go to rid themselves of them. To the people of the 17th century, these beings were real and represented a real threat. The Church, as well as secular authorities and politicians, eagerly took advantage of these paranoias for their own purposes, whether it was to settle an old score or seize large amounts of money and property from suspected wealthy "witches". Even without these added misuses, mass hysteria and delusions were responsible for many thousands of tortures and deaths due to this book and its companions.Read more ›
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By John-Michael Sherrick on January 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Compendium Maleficarum, a minor treatise on witchcraft, is really a misunderstood book. First, the book reflects popular superstitions and theological opinions of the late medieval/early Renaissance period about witchcraft and many of the latter were never binding upon Cathollics as they were only theories. Some of the book could pass as orthodox Catholic demonology... some of it is quaint, imprecise, and bizarre. Second, the book was not an attack on paganism but upon Satanism as is obvious from even a cursory reading of the book. The literary quality is highly debatable. Fine prose passages filled with imagination, wit, and learning are by far outnumbered by sentimental, awkward, and/or brutal sections. The book is much more popular than academic in style; hence, its at times repetitive and dull examples comprise the bulk of the book. Of interest mainly to students of Church history. Keep in mind that the mishmash of opinions and information imparted by an obscure monk is not the infallible teaching of the Holy Catholic Faith.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Hector Miranda on April 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Yes, you should know that this book is written from a christian point of view. Yes, it is also a manual on witch-hunting. But this book is an historical masterpiece. You should read it as a critic, don't take it too personal; don't let your ego adhere to its pages. It is a sample of traditions from the past, very interesting; a must read!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
Excellent historical view of what it took to torture, maim, and brutalize 'witches'. This book contains some very interesting stories, along with instructions on 'prodding' a witch to tell you what you want, nay, need to hear. This is a book for historians and other sociopaths!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really easy read with a lot of examples of the mindset towards supposed witches seven hundred years ago. Full of interesting stories about incidents regarding the activities of witches and their subsequent trials. Also, lots ofdetailed woodcut art, which is one of the reasons the book is so famous. Good for the serious scholar or casual reader.
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