CROWLEY, Aleister


CROWLEY, Aleister. Moonchild. A Prologue.

 London, The Mandrake Press, 1929.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. Original sea-green cloth, titles to spine gilt. With the pictorial Beresford Egan dust jacket almost completely intact, only upper part of dust jacket, covering head of spine, torn away. Text clean and crisp, flawless. An important presentation copy inscribed by the author on front endpaper: “To Clements Hassell with sincere admiration of a fine artist and appreciation of an excellent friend, from Aleister Crowley, Oct 8, ’32 e.v.”. This “Clements Hassell” person is likely to be identified with Hilary Clements Hassell (1871-1949), who was a British painter of interiors, landscapes and some coastal scenes. E.v. stands for ‘era vulgaris’, which is a Latin expression for “common era”. This is placed after the date to differentiate it from Crowley’s Thelemic calendar, which starts in 1904 (the date the author claimed he received the book of the law). On the rear endpaper, very presumably in Crowley’s own handwriting, appear details of a two-day schedule accompanied by planetary symbols. These symbols represent days of the week (Mars, i.e. Tuesday, and Mercury, i.e. Wednesday). Crowley mentions meeting times, the name “Foyle” a “lunch at Grosvenor House”, where it is known he gave a lecture on Magick in 1932: “In September 1932 Crowley was invited to a literary luncheon by Christina Foyle. Christina Foyle’s owned Foyle’s bookshop in London and held a literary lunch every year. This was a small coup for Crowley, to be invited as the guest of honour and speaker. Crowley spoke on The Philosophy of Magick which was well received. A queue of women formed at the end of the luncheon to have him autograph their books.” Marlene Peckwood, The Feng Shui Journey of Mr Aleister Crowley, 2012, P. 205.



IAMBLICHUS (Gale, Thomas, Tr.). ΙΑΜΒΛΙΧΟΥ ΧΑΛΚΙΔΕΩΣ ΤΗΣ ΚΟΙΛΗΣ ΣΥΡΙΑΣ ΠΕΡΙ ΜΥΣΤΗΡΙΩΝ ΛΟΓΟΣ.= Iamblichi Chalcidensis ex Coele-Syria, De mysteriis liber. Præmittitur epistola Porphyrii ad Anebonem Ægyptium, eodem argumento.

 Oxford, E Theatro Sheldoniano, 1678.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (xl) 316 (viii), *-2*2 a-h2 A-Z4 Aa-Zz2 Aaa-Nnn2. Roman and Greek letter, some Italic; Greek and Latin in parallel columns. Large title-page vignette of the Sheldonian Theatre. Some light browning and spotting throughout. Ex libris on front pastedown of Richard Fort, lord of the Read Hall manor, Lancashire, during the beginning of C19th; another unidentified bookplate, probably French, with initials “C. E. De M. K.”. In early gilt-ruled polished calf over boards, joints (especially the upper one) somewhat worn and rugged, gilt lettering to decorated spine in compartments with raised bands, marbled pastedowns and fore-edges. Covers and corners a little rubbed, leather repair to lower corner of rear board. An excellent, crisp and clean copy.

This is the first edition of Iamblichus’s De mysteriis, provided with a Latin translation by the English Classical scholar, antiquarian and cleric Thomas Gale (1636-1702). Iamblichus (c. A.D. 250-325) is among the most important of the so-called Neoplatonic philosophers, second only to Plotinus. He was a student of Plotinus’s disciple Porphyry. His influential treatise Theurgia, or On the Mysteries of Egypt deals with a ‘higher magic’ which operates through the agency of the gods. Iamblichus also had a strong influence on other Renaissance authors like Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and Giordano Bruno.  “In 1678 Gale published the editio princeps of the De mysteriis, with fragments of Porphyry’s Epistle to Anebo, Eunapius’s Life of Iamblichus, and a biographical entry from the Suda, a Byzantine lexicon. Gale had received an exemplar of the De mysteriis from his teacher, Isaac Vossius, and used this as the basis for his edition. This exemplar is now known as Leidensis Vossianus graecus Q22. A number of variants given in Gale’s notes, however, are from codices regii (Paris), given to him by E. Bernard, Professor of Astronomy in Oxford, and by the French scholar J. Mabillon. Gale, who was once Professor of Greek in Cambridge (1666), and later Dean of York Cathedral (1677), had originally planned an edition of all of Iamblichus’s works; only the De mysteriis appeared, and Gale recognised its weakness, including the drastic omission of words and phrases as a result of printing errors. Moreover, Gale’s Latin translation contains many of his conjectures, and does not always follow the Greek text.” Iamblichus: De mysteriis, translated with an Introdction by Emma C. Clarke, John M. Dillon and Jackson P. Hershbell, 2003, p xiv.

 ESTC R13749; Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), I26, Madan, III, 3179.



IAMBLICHUS (Nicolaus Scutellius, Tr.), De mysteriis Aegyptiorum, Chaldaeorum, Assyriorum [with] PROCLUS, In Platonicum Alcibiadum de Anima, atque Daemone [with] Id., De sacrificio et Magia [with] PORPHYRIUS, De Divinis atque Daemonibus [with] PSELLUS, De Daemonibus [with] HERMES TRISMEGISTUS, Pimander [with] Id., Asclepius.

Lyon, Apud Ioannes Torsaesium, 1549.


16mo, pp. 543 (i), a-z8 A-L8. Roman and Italic letter. Title page with vignette showing Jean de Tournes’ printers device: a cartouche in shield-like shape bearing the motto “quod tibi fieri non alteri ne fereris”, enclosed in a circle by an ouroboros. Verso of final leaf with pyramid within a circle and motto “nescit labi virtus”. Capital spaces with guide letters, decorated initials. Some age yellowing and dumpstaining, affecting especially the second half of the book at lower gutter. Rebacked, marble pastedowns, in C18th gilt ruled calf with central panels on covers and fleurons, gilt spine with raised bands and label with authors’ names, some skilful repairs, a.e.g. Except for some waterstaining throughout, this is an excellent copy.

First Jean de Tournes edition of this collection of five treatises by some chief Neoplatonic philosophers, translated by Marsilio Ficino, which first appeared in 1497 in Aldus’s Venice workshop. De mysteriis Ægyptiorum (“The Egyptian Mysteries”) was written by Iamblichus in the fourth century. It stands as his response to the philosopher Porphyry of Tyre concerning the Egyptian magic and the ritualist interpretation of theurgy (the branch of magic allowing man to communicate with the good spirits). It follows the commentary of Proclus on Plato’s Alcibiades, Porphyry’s De divinis atque dæmonibus, Psellus’s de Dæminubus and finally the Pimander and Asclepius by Hermes Trismegistus. The latter work is translated by Apuleius.

“This volume is interesting for a number of reasons. It is a 1549 compilation of various writings on demons and magic, followed by the Pimander…The volume is prefaced with a dedication letter from Ficino to Giovanni de’ Medici, in which the Italian philosopher notes that only an ignorant person would believe that demons and magic are not Christian.” Susan Byrne, Ficino in Spain

“According to Ludwig HerholdLateinischer Wort- und Gedankenschatz (162), «Nescit labi virtus» («Die Tugend kann nicht fallen») is the motto of «Philipp von Croy, Herzog von Aerschot». The family Croy or Croÿ, of Picard origin, expanded into the Low Countries in the late Middle Ages and there acquired the town of Aarschot (or Aerschot) in Brabant and held a number of important positions under the Imperial house of Habsburg. Although several Croys were named Philip, only two of these were dukes of Aarschot. One Philip (1496-1549), an imperial official in the Low Countries and a knight of the Golden Fleece, was created the first duke of Aarschot by Charles V in 1533. His son Philip (1526-1595), also a knight of the Golden Fleece, was governor of Antwerp and of Flanders, Spanish ambassador to the Diet of Frankfurt in 1562, and third duke of Aarschot. These are the only personages that match Herhold’s identification.”

Adams, I3; USTC 150230.