The occult arts of astrology and magic are two of the many pseudo-sciences that took off in the Renaissance along with all the other legitimate sciences. Landmark books such as Cornelius Agrippa's De Occulta philosophia and Giambattista della Porta's Magia Naturalis went through scores of editions in the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries, to receive afterwards a few printings of pure scholarly interest. At their heights, astrology and magic were the culmination of the Renaissance ideals of freedom, power, control, virtu, and optimism. As Charles G. Nauert Jr. wrote in his perceptive study of Cornelius Agrippa's career: "To the Renaissance mentality, magic and astrology might not seem to be forces working against human freedom, but rather powerful instruments whereby man might liberate himself from subjection to the usual order of nature. Magic became still more prominent in a culture that exalted the dignity of man because magic expressed the divine power in man. It was—or claimed to be—"the new way which will open to man the rule over nature" (233). "The quest for power through magic was a major factor in the attractiveness of the occult arts" (235).



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