THE ART OF EXORCISM
Sancti Iubilaei ac indulgentiarum … tractates [with] Complementum artis exorcisticae.
Venice, Giorgio Varisco, 1600 [with] Venice, Francesco Bariletti, 1600.
Two works in one volume. 8vo: 1): FIRST EDITION: pp. , 336, ; 2): FIRST EDITION: pp. , 716, . Roman letter, little Italic; printer’s devices on titles and end of 1), initials floriated or historiated and decorative tail-pieces; minor wormtrails on blanks of first gathering, a few leaves aged browned, occasional light foxing to margins. A good copy in fine contemporary German alum-taw pigskin, blind-tooled with external floral roll and central panel with fleur-de-lys at corners and monogram of Christ on front, of Mary on rear; contemporary titles inked on labels at spine, remains of ties, edges diagonally sprinkled in red and blue; faint armorial library stamp on verso of front pastedown, contemporary shelf marks and inscription ‘Pro conventu Suazensi Fr[atr]um Min[orum]’ on first title.
Elegantly bound volume comprising two uncommon first edition treatises connected with the Catholic Jubilee of 1600. Little is known about their authors. Tommaso Zerola (1548-1603) was an acclaimed canon lawyer of Benevento and later bishop of Minori, while Zaccaria Visconti, professional exorcist of the Barnabite Congregation of St Ambrose in Milan and teacher of this art, flourished between the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. The first work, dedicated to the pope’s nephew Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini, deals extensively with the practice of indulgence or remission of sins – a highly relevant topic for pilgrims going to Rome on the occasion of the Holy Year. The second and more curious treatise addresses exorcism, providing the theological and theoretic framework as well as a manual of instruction on techniques, prayers, formulae, rituals and all sorts of remedies to expel the Evil within. As pointed out in the initial dedication, Visconti hoped that his books would help reduce the number of cases of demonic possession recently recorded in the Milanese area.
This copy belonged to the Franciscan convent of Schwaz, in Tyrol, once a prominent silver-mining centre of the Augsburg Empire.
1): Not in Brunet or Graesse. BM STC It., Suppl., 83; Adams, Z 140.
2): Not in Brunet or BM STC It. Adams, V 629.