Notes

Charles G. Leland


As a curious illustration of the fact that the faith in Diana and the other deities of the Roman mythology, as connected with divination, still survives among the Italians of 'the people,' I may mention that after this work went to press, I purchased for two soldi or one penny, a small chapbook in which is shown how, by a process of conjuration or evocation and numbers, not only Diana, but 39 other deities may be made to give answers to certain questions. The work is probably taken from some old manuscript, as it is declared to have been discovered and translated by P.P. Francesco di Villanova Monteleone. It is divided into two parts, one entitled Circe and the other Medea.

As such works must have pictures, Circe is set forth by a page cut of a very ugly old woman in the most modern costume of shawl and mob cap with ribbons. She is holding an ordinary candlestick. It is quite the ideal of a common fortune teller, and it is probably that the words Maga Circe suggested nothing more or less than such a person to him who 'made up' the book. That of Medea is, however, quite correct, even artistic, representing the sorceress as conjuring the magic bath, and was probably taken from some work on mythology. It is ever so in Italy, where the most grotesque and modern conceptions of classic subjects are mingled with much that is accurate and beautiful - of which indeed this work supplies many examples.


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