Paris: Chez Jacques du Puys, 1582. Deuxième édition / Second Edition. Hardcover, Small Quarto, 8 -1/2 inches x 6 1/4 inches (22 x 16 cm), [xxiv], 252 (i.e. 256) Pagination as pages but numbered as leaves (ie pagination is on the rectos of the leaves only). Signatures: ã4 ?4 i4 A-SSs4. Various errors in pagination, notably leaves 249-255 are misnumbered as 245-251. The text is however, complete as issued, and all copies are thus. Attaractive late eighteenth or early nineteenth century quarter leather binding, brown calf spine with gilt titling, florets, and decorative chain rules, marlbed paper covered boards. Marbled endpapers. Attractive engraved printer's device on title-page, occasional decorative initials throughout. A major work in the history of witchcraft persecutions. The author, Jean Bodin (1530-1596) was a noted lawyer and author. His "Demonomanie" was drawn from his own experience as a judge, as well as other contemporary accounts of witchcraft (many of which are recounted), and was written to assist other members of the judiciary who were dealing with cases of witchcraft. Bodin was one of the first writers to attempt a legal definition of witchcraft, and sought to explain what the motivated witches, and how they could best be identified. Despite having a reputation as something of a liberal in other spheres, Bodin had no tolerance when it came to suspected witches. His book shows an unflinching brutality as he carefully set out the best ways to carry out the interrogation, torture, sentencing and execution of the accused, regardless of the age or infirmity of the accused. The book was disturbingly popular: the First Edition was published in 1580, this second edition in 1582, and by 1604 it had gone through ten other editions.
The work is divided into four books: the first book contains chapters on: The Definition of a Sorcerer (Witch), The Association of Spirits with Men, The Difference between Good and Evil Spirits, Of Prophecy and other Means to know Occult Matters, Of Natural and Human Means to know Occult Matters, etc. The second book contains chapters on: Of Magic in General, Of Secret Invocations of Evil Spirits, Of the Ecstacies and Ravishment of Sorcerers and their Usual Relations with Demons, Of Lycanthropy and if Spirits can change Men into Beasts, If Sorcerers Copulate with Demons, If Sorcerers can inflict Illness, Can Sorcerers Cure Illness. The third book is largely devoted to questions about what Sorcerers can achieve, and how they do it - whether or not they can influence others, cause and cures other, etc. etc. The fourth book deals primarily with the legal aspects: Of the Inquisition of Sorcerers, Of the Proofs needed to show the Crime of Sorcery, Of Voluntary Confession and the Use of Force with Sorcerers, The Judgements that can be made about the Sorcers, Of the Punishments to be given to Sorcerers. Interestingly it ends with a refutation of the opinions of Johann Weyer, who had questioned some of the more extreme assumptions of the witch-hunters in his "De Praestigiis Daemonum et Incantationibus ac Venificiis" (1563).
The book was in great demand, by jurists and theologians, and as noted this second edition was issued only two years after the first.
Binding tight, clean and solid, with just a little rubbing to the extremities. Early (contemporary?) owner's name "Elie de Mathieu" at head of title-page, and a handwritten name (Demale ??) struck through - to the right of the printer's device. Some inoffensive early underlining on pages 1 to 6, very faint light brown tide-mark to either the upper or fore-edge margins of about 60 leaves, but quite unobtrusive. Light pencil drawing of a figure at prayer (?) on penultimate blank. The paper remains fresh and supple. A VG+ antiquarian volume, clean and attractive. Rare. Item #70438