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Magiae Naturalis by Giambattista della Porta, 1558 and 1584
'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta (1535-1615) was first published in Latin in Naples in 1558. The first edition contained only four books but this had gradually expanded to twenty books by 1584.

The Latin text of the version, printed in 1619, can be found here.

An English translation of the twenty book version, under the title 'Natural Magick' and giving the author's name as John Baptista Porta, was published in London in 1658.

A full version of the English translation can be found here.

This page sets out the original Latin alongside the English translation.

The twenty books are:

1 Of the causes of wonderful things. 2 Of the generation of animals. 3 Of the production of new plants. 4 Of increasing household-stuff. 5 Of changing metals. 6 Of counterfeiting gold. 7 Of the wonders of the load-stone. 8 Of strange cures. 9 Of beautifying women. 10 Of distillation. 11 Of perfuming. 12 Of artificial fires. 13 Of tempering steel. 14 Of cookery. 15 Of fishing, fowling, hunting, &c. 16 Of invisible writing. 17 Of strange glasses. 18 Of statick experiments. 19 Of pneumatick experiments. 20 Of the Chaos. There are several other minor references to wrapping substances in paper / paper scrolls etc in the text which I have not highlighted in the analysis below.


The Grocer's Cone

(From Chapter XI of Book 10 - Of Distillation)

The Latin says, 'Let the papyrus be rolled in the form of a pyramid, after the manner of the pharmacists ...'

The English says, 'Roll up your Paper like a Pyramid, as Grocer's do ...'


Frying Fish in a Paper Pan

(From Chapter X of Book 14 - Of Cookery)

The Latin says, 'Having fashioned a frying pan out of paper ...'

The English says, 'Make a frying pan with plain paper ...'


This section mentions paper folded around arrows and explains how to conceal folded letters inside lead musket balls.

(From Chapter VI of Book 16 - Of Invisible Writing)


How to open letters and reseal them without arousing suspicion - How to defeat a Letterlock

(From Chapter XI of Book 16 - Of Invisible Writing)


The Three Scrolls magical effect

(From Chapter VIII of Book 20 - Of The Chaos)

(I am not convinced that the reference in Aristotle's 'Problemata' can bear the interpretation the author puts on it here.)

The Latin heading says, 'The card will remain untouched.'


The Flying Dragon / A Cracker of Paper (Paper Cartridge)

(From chapter XX of Book 20 - Of The Chaos)

The English rext refers to 'a cracker of paper, wherein Gun-powder is rolled' which does not appear to be referenced in the Latin text.