A manual for constructing talismans, mixing magical compounds, summoning planetary spirits, and determining astrological conditions, Picatrix is a cornerstone of Western esotericism. It offers important insights not only into occult practices and beliefs but also into the transmission of magical ideas from antiquity to the present. Dan Attrell and David Porreca's English translation opens the world of this vital medieval treatise to modern-day scholars and lay readers.
The original text, Ghayat al-Hakim, was compiled in Arabic from over two hundred sources in the latter half of the tenth century. It was translated into Castilian Spanish in the mid-thirteenth century, and shortly thereafter into Latin. Based on David Pingree's edition of the Latin text, this translation captures the spirit of Picatrix's role in the European tradition. In the world of Picatrix, we see a seamless integration of practical magic, earnest piety, and traditional philosophy. The detailed introduction considers the text's reception through multiple iterations and includes an enlightening statistical breakdown of the rituals described in the book.
Framed by extensive research on the ancient and medieval context that gave rise to the Latin version of the text, this translation of Picatrix will be an indispensable volume for students and scholars of the history of science, magic, and religion and will fascinate anyone interested in the occult.
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 853 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 235 mm
"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 L ng, 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 Gh yat al-Hak m 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, cole Pratique des Hautes tudes
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