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Picatrix: A Medieval Treatise on Astral Magic (Magic in History) 1st Edition
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—Michael D. Bailey, The Medieval Review
“The Picatrix, of Arabic origin, is the most complete handbook of the theory and practice of magic of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Here is a very welcome English translation of the Latin version that was read by Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa. Porreca and Attrell have made the text a pleasure to read and have provided useful notes to explain everything that is obscure or exotic.”
—Charles Burnett, Professor of Arabic/Islamic Influences in Europe, Warburg Institute
“A detailed medieval handbook of magic, Picatrix has been a focus of scholarly attention for a century, even though its early history remained obscure and it lacked a reliable English translation. Attrell and Porreca's contribution offers a proper remedy: the introduction gives new insight into the origins of this mysterious book, and the translation reflects the true nature of its exciting text. A word of caution, though: don’t try the recipes!”
—Benedek Láng, author of Unlocked Books: Manuscripts of Learned Magic in the Medieval Libraries of Central Europe
“The Picatrix reemerged in the mid-fifteenth century, almost two centuries after the Latin version of the Ghâyat al-Hakîm had been produced. Thank goodness that this learned and living English translation of such an important Latin book of astral magic will reach its twenty-first-century audience of scholars and inquisitive spirits much more quickly!”
—Nicolas Weill-Parot, École Pratique des Hautes Études
About the Author
Dan Attrell is a doctoral candidate in Medieval and Renaissance History studying the Western esoteric tradition at the University of Waterloo.
David Porreca is Associate Professor of Classical Studies and codirector of the Medieval Studies program at the University of Waterloo and is president of the Societas Magica.
- Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0271082127
- ISBN-13 : 978-0271082127
- Dimensions : 6.13 x 9.25 x 9.25 inches
- Publisher : Penn State University Press; 1st edition (January 10, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #285,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As the translators point out at page 2 this version of Picatrix is, "specifically intended for students and scholars of the history of science and magic" In addition to the complete text of the Latin Picatrix in English translation the translators provide useful historical accounts of the pre-history of Picatrix and of the Latin text, Picatrix's exposition of the path of the sage, the use of the terminology nigromancia for astrological magic and the cosmology of Picatrix. Most interesting is a statistical breakdown of the types of magic in Picatrix. Finally, the translators elucidate their view of the importance of psychoactive drugs in ritual, though the translators insist at page 28 that they do not, "wish to suggest that all magic in the Picatrix can be explained away as drug addled delusion…"
Coming as it does from an academic perspective, focused on history and social science the Attrell and Porreca translation provides a valuable orientation and background for the contemporary practitioner of astrological magic. No single translation can do justice to a work as complex as Picatrix and anyone who is serious about astrological magic or interested in Picatrix should certainly get a copy of the Attrell and Porreca translation as well as the Greer and Warnock Picatrix and the forthcoming Arabic Picatrix translation.
Dan and David show incredible fidelity to the Latin manuscripts, and translate both the direct meaning, while putting the magical and esoteric elements in context.
The often foggy and dusted-over window into *how* Europe interacted, translated and transmitted esoteric texts is polished crystal clear with Dan and David's translation and presentation of the Picatrix. The fruits of their labor offer both practical insights (for those wishing to practice the operations in the Picatrix), and has excellent, stimulating material for the historian and casual reader. It is professional, lucidly written, and a vital book for anyone interested in esoteric manuscripts and history.