The Devil in Court


This work, which has become a reference text on witchcraft and demonology, in its 1545 edition, was sold for €2,000

Millon/Cabinet Poulain

The Devil never went to court, it was his real or supposed henchmen who suffered the caudine forks of justice. It was thanks to instructions from individuals, mainly women suspected of witchcraft, that jurists developed manuals of specialized jurisprudence. A certain Paulus Grillandus, papal judge originally from Abruzzo, with his judicial experience in the matter, wrote a treatise titled: Tractatus Of Hereticis And Sortilegiis, first published in 1536. This work has become a reference text on witchcraft and demonology. A copy of the 1545 edition (small in-8), bound later in ivory vellum with small flaps, was sold for €2,000 at Drouot-Richelieu on October 4, 2022 by Millon, assisted by Elvire Poulain during the dispersion of the esoteric library of Raphaël Pachiaudi. There is an edition of 1547 which has escaped bibliographers and specialists who only mention those of 1536, 1545 and 1592. Other related works of Questionibus Grillandus And Tortura Tractatus, De Relaxatione Carceratorum and the De Lamiis by Gianfrancesco Ponzinibio were then printed on Tractatus Of Hereticis And Sortilegiis.

It is likely that this work opened the door to other treatises such as that of Jean Bodin (1529-1596), From the Demonomania of Sorcerers (In Paris, Chez Jacques du Puys, Libraire Juré, 1580, Iin-8° Carré), of which a copy of the original edition bound in soft vellum was sold for €3,700, at Drouot-Richelieu, on October 16, 2014 by Art Richelieu. This work was “forbidden in the index placed at the end of the Council (sic) of Trent”. This is the reason why the author revised his text and gave a new version: Raphaël Pachiaudi had a bound copy at the beginning of the 19th century.e century, in speckled sheepskin, adorned with a triple gilt fillet on the covers, which was sold for €1,100 on October 4, 2022. According to Albert Louis Caillet, author of the Bibliographic manual of psychic or occult sciences, it is one of the rarest of Bodin’s editions and is supplemented by the “Refutation of the Opinions of Jean Wier”. Like Paulus Grillandus, Jean Bodin composed his work after having instructed a trial against Jeanne Harvilliers, accused of witchcraft. Her witchcraft demonomania is also a kind of guide for the courts in which he calls for severe penalties against anyone accused of witchcraft.

More recently, M.e Maurice Garçon (1889-1967) published with the psychiatrist Jean Vinchon (1884-1964), The devil. Historical, critical and medical study (NRF, Gallimard, 1926, in-12), a study containing in particular passages on witchcraft trials, delusions, neuroses and demonic madness, etc. No case law, but findings.

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The Devil in Court

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