The Virgin of the World is one of the most prominent Hermetic books, one of the last monuments of Paganism. The Fragments comprised in this reprint have been the subject of much learned research. In the early centuries of Christianity they enjoyed a high repute as of undoubted genuineness, the Fathers invoking their testimony on behalf of the Christian mysteries, while Lactantius--the "Christian Cicero"--said of them, "Hermes, I know not how, has discovered well-nigh the whole truth." He was regarded as an inspired revealer, and the writings which bore his name passed for genuine monuments of that ancient Egyptian theology in which Moses had been instructed. And this opinion was accepted by Massilius Ficinus, Patricius, and other learned men of the Renaissance, who regarded them as the source of the Orphic initiations and of the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato.