Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/47

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most preposterous and at the same time most pernicious book ever printed"; and the Spanish Dominican Nicholas Cymericus, who composed a systematic manual for the use of persecutors entitled Directorium Inquisitorum (first printed at Rome in 1503); and a treatise, Tractatus contra Dæmotium Invocatores, in which he maintained that sorcery is heresy and should be punished by the Court of Inquisition. Works of a like character were Flagellum Hæreticorum Fascinariorum, by the Dominician Nicholas Jaquier; De Strigiis, by the Dominican Bernard of Como; De Strigimagarum Dæmonumque Mirandis, by the master of the holy apostolical palace and general of the Dominicans, Silvester Mazzolino Prierias; Novus Malleus Maleficarum (New Witches' Hammer), by the Dominican Bartholomew de Spina; Disquisitiones Magicæ, by the Spanish Jesuit Martin Delrio; and Processus Juridicus contra Sagas, by the Munich Jesuit Paul Laymann.[1]

Equally untenable is the statement that no person was ever burned as a witch in Rome. The Roman chronicler Stefano Infessura, in his Diarium Urbis Romæ, describes the burning of a witch named Finicella, for having "in a diabolical manner killed many creatures and injured others" The execution took place on June 8, 1424, and "all Rome went to see it" Again, in the Chironicon Generale of Andreas von Regensburg it is recorded that during the pontificate of Martin V a cat killed several infants in their cradles. A shrewd man wounded the cat with a sword, and, following the traces of its blood, discovered that the animal was really an old woman, who lived in the house of a chiromancer and changed herself into a cat in order to suck the blood of children and thus prolong her own life. This anticipation of the modern theory of the transfusion of blood caused the old hag to be tried for witchcraft and burned at the stake. The Munich occultist and alchemist Dr. Johann Hartlieb, in the thirty-third chapter of his Buch alter verhotenen Kunst, Unglaubens und der Zauherei,[2]

  1. One of the severest charges brought by the Dominican friar Father Concinna against "Luther, Melanchthon, and their confederates" was that they did not believe in the existence of witches; unfortunately, the accusation is untrue, but it proves the strong desire of Catholic writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to claim for the papacy the sole honor of being sound on the witchcraft question. In the early part of the sixteenth century the jurist Franz Fonzimibius wrote a treatise, in which he ventured to utter opinions of hie own concerning witches. Bartholomew de Spina, in the work above mentioned (page 202), takes him to task for his impudence. "That a mere lawyer" he says, "should discuss a theological subject and set himself in opposition to profound theologians, such as the inquisitors commonly are, betrays extreme arrogance and can excite only the scorn and derision of all persons of discernment. I wonder at the effrontery of this man, and shudder."
  2. This book, written in 1456, has been handed down to us in three manuscripts, one in Wolfenbüttel, a second (incomplete) in Dresden, and a third in Heidelberg. This last consists of seventy-eight sheets in octavo, and bears the date 1558; at the end is the name of