Giambattista della (John Baptist) Porta (1535-1615), was a Neapolitan scholar of notable ability who had devoted great attention to the study of natural and physical science. Porta visited most of his known world to gather and perfect the knowledge utilized in his writings. His first work, "Magia Naturalis"- "Natural Magick" was first published in 1558 in "four" books (written, according to the author, "Porta, " when he was fifteen years old, - see "Preface To The Reader" in "Natural Magick"). It was later expanded to twenty books compended into one volume in 1584. In this form the book had a great vogue, being translated from the original Latin into the principal European languages, and republished in the Latin edition in many places for a hundred years. The version presented here is the final compendium of his life's work, completed when he was fifty years old, transcribed from a original 1658 English translation.
John Baptist Porta (1535-1615), also known as Giambattista della Porta, was an early modern natural philosopher from Naples. This site by an amateur historian brings together short biographies (generally culled from other sites and works like the Encyclopedia Britannica) as well as primary source material on Porta available in other locations on the Web. Porta was best known for his 1558 book entitled "Natural Magic" (Magia Naturalis), which used an experimental method to describe magnetism and other elements of the physical and chemical sciences. He was also interested in the "occult" sciences and alchemy. This site is best for those with no knowledge of Porta looking for a basic overview and excerpts of his work. Several paintings and drawings of Porta enhance the site.