Devils & Demons, an early traveller’s protection

Recently sold to a major American Library.

DEVILS & DEMONS. A very rare Jesuit pocket devotional, with prayers against devils, one  issued by the Inquisition in Turin in the late 16th century.  It has been assembled, in the early 18th century, either by a priest, or a European traveller, to protect them against demons and other dangers.

It contains:

Oratio Contra Omnes, tum Maleficorum, tum Daemonum Incursus.  A prayer against those who use the art of the devils.  It bears two printed stamps of the Jesuit order. Woodcut and letterpress.  “Fr Bartholomaeus Rocca Palermo Inq [uisitor] Taurini vidit, permittitque ut imprimatur.” This is the imprimatur of Fr. Bartholomeus Rocca de Palermo Inq. Taurini (of the Inquisition in Turin).

There is also another folded prayer sheet, with portraits of the Saints surrounding a Cross with the Virgin Mary.  It is in Latin and German.  “Contra Mala Pestem et…. Tempestates”


The two prayers are accompanied by 9 small vignette woodcuts representing St. Anthony of Padua, St. Athanasius, John Népumocène, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others.  These are mounted, onto an earlier, possibly 17th century French vellum manuscript document.  Four of the vignettes lift up to reveal further portraits of Saints, as well as the two folded prayer sheets.

The devotional folds into a pocket size piece.

Some creasing and worn in places, but a rare survival of such an ephemeral and fragile item.


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