1569 · Lugduni [Lyon]:
"Natural Magic was revised and considerably expanded throughout the author's lifetime." The text contents include: I: natural phenomena; II: medicinal preparations; III: alchemy, metallurgy, glass; IV: optics, a chapter on the camera obscura (the first known full description)." - [See full S.E.P. essay in next description] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
"Porta's first book, published in 1558 as Magiae naturalis, was a treatise on the secrets of nature, which he began collecting when he was fifteen. The secrets are arranged in four books, and the conception implied in the title is that natural magic is the perfection of natural philosophy and the highest science. This small collection of secrets constituted the basis of a twenty-book edition of the Magiae naturalis published in 1589, which is Porta's best known work and the basis of his reputation. It is an extraordinary hodgepodge of material representing that unique combination of curiosity and credulity common in the late Renaissance. But combined with the author's insatiable desire for the marvelous and apparently miraculous is a serious attempt to define and describe natural magic and some refined application of both mathematical and experimental techniques in science." - DSB, XI, pp. 96.
Giambattista della Porta, noted Neapolitan mathematician and natural philosopher, overshadowed only by Galileo in the work of Renaissance science, had a wide range of scientific and literary interests. There are demonstrated by his numerous published works. His most famous and best remembered are those on natural magic, optics, refraction and the telescope. He was also a member of the outstanding literary academy of Naples, Altomare, and the founder of the Accademia de' Secreti (Secrets of Nature). Later, he became a member of the famous Accademia dei Lincei, as well as other lesser known literary academies in Naples. His dabbling in pseudo-scientific and occult sciences caused his works to be banned by the Inquisition in 1592, which was lifted in 1598. Thorndike points out that Della Porta was either adept at escaping "serious molestation or punishment by submission or by influence in high places." - Thorndike, v.6, p. 156.
See [most referring to 1558 first ed.]: Brunet IV, 826; Cascoigne, 1627; DSB; Duveen p. 481 (1651 ed.); Ferguson, II, p. 216; Mottelay, pp. 72-75; Partington, II, p. 17; Poggendorff, II, p. 505; Riccardi, II, p. 310; Ronalds Library, p. 408; Wellcome, I [not mentioning this ed.]; Wolf, History of Science, I, pp. 544-545. See: Lynn Thorndike, A History of Magic and Experimental Science, volume 6, p. 156; Paola Zambelli, White Magic, Black Magic in the European Renaissance. Brill, 2007. (Inventory #: LLV2639)