The Magic of Hieronymus Scotto
During a research project carried out by an Austrian historian professor who was seeking historical records about Archduke Ferdinand II, former regent of Tyrol, he stumbled across some interesting material on a conjuror named Hieronymus Scotto. It appears that Scotto had enjoyed the Archduke’s favour and privileges at court. Not a great deal is known about Scotto whose career spanned the latter part of the 16th century and his magic and juggling activities took place from 1569 till 1610. It is known that he was born in the city of Piacenza in Northern Italy but the exact date cannot be confirmed. He was also known under the name of Girolamo Scoto and Hieronimi Scotti. Hieronymus Scotto travelled extensively throughout Europe and performed for the aristocracy and crowned heads of state with his ‘deceptions in black art’. He became known as the Knight of Piacenza and was also known as Count Albertos Scotos but mystery surrounded his alleged high born origin. It is known that he indeed found favour and acceptance in the courts of Austria, Germany and France and may have done all sorts of secret political business for the rulers of different countries . As proof of his place in the history of magic, Hieronymus Scotto became the first known conjuror of the Renaissance period.