Arbatel de magia veterum
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Arbatel de magia veterum (English: Arbatel of the magic of the ancients) is a treatise on ceremonial magic written in Latin, first published in 1575 in Basel, Switzerland. The author is unknown, but textual evidence suggests that the author was Italian.
The brief introduction outlines a scheme of nine chapters, of which only the first, called the Isagogue, seems to be present, at least as described in the introduction:
- The first is called Isagoge, or, A Book of the Institutions of Magick: or which in forty and nine Aphorisms comprehendeth, the most general Precepts of the whole Art.
However, though there are no later samples of the eight remaining chapters labelled as such, the promised content of all of them is at least addressed in the "forty and nine Aphorisms" actually at hand. It is possible that the claim of eight additional chapters is some manner of game or thematic strategy on the part of the author.
The present text of the Isogogue or Arbatel de magia veterum is arranged in seven sections ("septenaries"), each one further divided into a numbered sequence of aphorisms. Beginning with the third septenary, the work includes a discussion of the so-called "Olympian spirits".
The treatise is commonly known in English as the Arbatel of Magic or Arbatel of Magick, after the title of an English translation of the Arbatel de magia veterum by Robert Turner published in 1655, London. A later edition was published by Andreas Luppius, Wesel, 1686. Luppius' edition includes a number of innovations.
Another English translation of the Arbatel, apparently independent of Turner's, is known in a single manuscript copy, MSS Sloane 3851, folio 10r—29v. It includes a reproduction of a magic seal unknown in other versions.
In 1997, Joseph H. Peterson produced a bilingual online edition (the English based on Turner's edition and the Latin on the 1575 edition) which incorporated elements from all four versions as well textual corrections.
In 2003, "Sadena" produced an English online edition, claiming to correct errors in Turners' scholarship as well as deficiencies due to unavailable typescripts and other technological problems relating to the printing. These included dubious "corrections" of the Hebrew on the frontispiece. Following Peterson's print publication of his, Peterson's, translation, published 2009 ISBN 978-0-89254-152-2, Sadena withdrew his edition (formerly arbatel.org).
The book describes and gives details of the olympians. The olympians are called:
- Aratron, ruler of Saturn
- Bethor, ruler of Jupiter
- Phaleg, ruler of Mars
- Och, ruler of Sol
- Hagith, ruler of Venus
- Ophiel, ruler of Mercury
- Phul, ruler of Luna
Each olympian has under his command a certain amount of spirits. It also gives a picture of each Olympian's character.