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Magic is central to Aristotle’s philosophy in this wide-ranging collection of essays that re-frame his natural philosophy. From late Mediaeval and Renaissance discussions on the attribution of magical works to Aristotle, to the philosophical and social justifications of magic, contributors chart magic as the mother science of natural philosophy.

Tracing the nascent presence of Aristotelianism in early modern Europe, Aristotelianism and Magic in Early Modern Europe shows the adaptability and openness of Aristotelianism to magic. This collection weaves the paranormal and the scientific together, pairing the supposed superstition of the pre-modern era with modern scientific sensibilities. Essays focus on the work of early modern scholars and magicians such as Giambattista Della Porta, Wolferd Senguerd, and Johann Nikolaus Martius. The attribution of the Secretum Secretorum to Aristotle, the role of illusionism, and the relationship between the technical and magical all provide further insight into the complex picture of magic, Aristotle and early modern Europe. This collection proposes an innovative way of approaching the development of pre-modern science whilst also acknowledging the crucial role that concepts like magic and illusion played in Aristotle’s time.


  1. Notes on Contributors
    Introduction, Donato Verardi (University of London, UK)
  2.  Aristotelian Philosophy and Illusionism in Late Mediaeval Europe, Thibaut Rioult (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
  3.  The Roles of Experimentum and the Vis Imaginativa in Mediaeval and Early Modern Magic, Peter G. Maxwell-Stuart (University of St Andrews, UK)
  4.  The Image of Aristotle as a Magus, and the Aristotelian Foundation of Magic in Early Modern Italy, Donato Verardi (The Warburg Institute – University of London, UK)
  5. Making and Unmaking Marvels in Early Modern Europe, William Eamon (New Mexico State University, USA)
  6. Aristotelianism, Chymistry, and Mechanics in Early Seventeenth Century Europe: The Techno-Magical Approach, Arianna Borrelli (RWTH Aachen University and Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)
  7. Aristotelianism, Magic, and Experiments in Early Modern English Meteorology, Jennifer Mori (University of Toronto, Canada)
  8.  Natural Magic, Experimentalism, and Tarantism in a Dutch Aristotelian Professor, Manuel De Carli (University of Tours, France)
  9.  The Domestication of Spirit Power in a German Handbook on Natural Magic, Michael Pickering (University of Melbourne, Australia)