Jacques Belasis

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Jacques Belasis (1526-1604) was a notable Argentine magician and author of that famous work, The Instructions. Early in the century he had a very high reputation among scholars of magic, such as Mr. Segundus, although the common judgment was perhaps vitiated by the unfortunate circumstance that no-one had ever seen a copy of his book. Gilbert Norrell, inevitably, did possess a copy, had studied Belasis in depth and dismissed him: "He is mystical where he ought to be intelligible - and intelligible where he ought to be obscure"[1].

It is possible however that Mr. Norrell, as was his wont, was being a little too sharp on the merits of a fellow magician. When he successfully summons the gentleman with the thistle-down hair to help him restore Miss Wintertowne to life, it is most likely with a spell he has found in Belasis[51]. Also, at a much later juncture he recalls a passage in The Instructions - (which, incidentally, he tells Jonathan Strange he studied with "passionate devotion" in his youth) - which prompts him to perform the spell requiring all England to bow down before "the nameless slave". It is this spell which accidentally places consummate power into the hands of Stephen Black, with consequences no-one, except possibly Uskglass himself, could have foreseen[68].



The etymology of Belasis can be retraced to the northeast of England.
It is a Norman French name and means Belle Assise or beautiful seat.
There are two places of this name in the north east, one is near Durham City and the other is now a part of Billingham.
Coincidently, in Yorkshire the village of Coxwold (about three miles south of Kilburn) has a wonderful fifteenth century church with monuments deciated to the Belasis family.
It's calledNewburgh Priory and here is where you can find more information.