We’ve recently seen two new books attributed to the third century bishop Cyprian. The first was The Testament of Cyprian the Mage, which included a mostly complete translation of a Spanish work of ceremonial magic. The second, from Hadean Press, is The Book of St. Cyprian, a translation of a Portuguese work of folk magic from José Leitão.
If one looks at the article on Cyprian editions written by Félix Francisco Castro, the text should correspond with item 6, the Livraria Económica edition from the National Library in Lisbon, along with some additional material and changes in organization of its heterogeneous contents. We have chapters on divination using cards, palm-reading, and phrenology, and multiple lists of the major hidden treasures of Iberia. Those interested in folk magic should not fear – there are numerous rites for a magician to compel obedience, find those abovementioned treasures, or bring about love (or lust) between two people. My personal favorites are the rites aimed at creating a miniature devil or homunculus to serve the caster. Scattered among these are various and sometimes conflicting narratives regarding Cyprian and how he made use of one rite or another for his success.
What Leitão provides in addition are an extensive introduction and notes, some of the latter of which practically constitute minor essays in and of themselves. It’s not quite as systematic and well-documented as some might like, but nonetheless, these are very interesting, especially for readers of English who might have little understanding of the folklore and beliefs of Portugal. The only omission I noticed was a reprint of the Portuguese text, for those who want to delve into the original.
In terms of the many grimoires out there, I’d say this rises slightly over many of the others, largely because of its unfamiliar content that might be more difficult for Anglophone readers to find. The main obstacle for US purchasers will be the exorbitant shipping rates from the UK (not Hadean’s fault, I hasten to add). I’d suggest looking around on their website to see if there’s anything else you might want, so that you can take maximum advantage of any order.