Del Rio, Martin Antoine (1551-1608)

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Del Rio, Martin Antoine (1551-1608)

Famous Jesuit scholar regarded as an authority on witchcraft during the great persecutions of the sixteenth century. Del Rio was born in 5551 at Antwerp, Belgium, of a distinguished Spanish family. He studied classical literature and works in Hebrew, Chaldean, and other languages. At age 19, he published an edition of Seneca, and was only 24 when he became vice-chancellor and attorney general for the Belgian province of Brabant.

In 1580 he entered the Jesuit order, teaching at various Jesuit centers and gathering material for his major work on witchcraft and demonology, Disquisitionum Magicarum Libri Sex, published in 1599. This encyclopedic work discusses magic, alchemy, witchcraft, prophecy, and apparitions, and gives instructions to judges at witchcraft trials, reviving the intolerance caused a century earlier by the sinister Malleus Maleficarum (1486) of Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer.

Del Rio died in 1608.


Del Rio, Martin Antoine. Disquisitionum Magicarum Libri Sex. Moguntiae: Typis Joannis Albini, 1600.

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Del Rio, Martin Antoine (1551-1608)

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