We start the new year by announcing the long-awaited opening of pre-orders for Necromancy in the Medici Library: An Edition and Translation of Excerpts from Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, MS Plut. 89 sup. 38, translated and introduced by Brian Johnson, who is known to our readers as the translator of Testament of Solomon: Recenscion C. Necromancy in the Medici Library contains extensive excerpts from a necromancer’s handbook, detailing both general methods and particular rites of spirit conjuration, along with a veritable pantheon of the demonic personages. To complement this work, Brian has also written about Translating Magic from the Long Middle Ages, which is available to read here on the website.
David Rankine calls Necromancy in the Medici Library “An excellent piece of scholarship that adds to the field and is a must have!”, while Dan Harms says “Johnson’s painstaking translation illuminates the hitherto-unpublished riches of the queen of Italy’s manuscript grimoires.”
On the tumultuous eve of the sixteenth century, as Girolamo Savonarola preached apocalypse in the cathedral of Florence and his protégé, the neoplatonic philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, breathed his last under mysterious circumstances, all while the army of a French king marched on the Italian peninsula, an anonymous Roman scrivener was putting the finishing touches on his masterwork. But it was neither an illuminated book of hours nor an encyclopedic chronicle of kingly deeds to which he set his pen, for this copyist was a magician, and his humble notebook contained a treasure trove of arcane knowledge — knowledge that might bring him wealth, power, even love…if he could bear the risks it entailed.
Preserved in the Florentine Laurentian Library under the patronage of two Medici popes, published here for the first time are extensive excerpts from this Italian necromancer’s handbook, detailing both general methods and particular rites of spirit conjuration, along with a veritable pantheon of the demonic personages upon whom one might call. Including the original Latin text in parallel with a new English translation, this edition is also furnished with a critical apparatus and introductory essay which illuminate this manuscript’s place in a network of occult practitioners and texts that circulated all the way from the Papal States to the shores of England.
Pre-orders for the hardcover edition only.
Orders should begin shipping in late March.
Necromancy in the Medici Library: An Edition and Translation of Excerpts from Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, MS Plut. 89 sup. 38
Translated and introduced by Brian Johnson
Foreword by Dr Alexander Cummins
ISBN 978-1-907881-98-5 (HB)