From back of the book (1994 version):
Come to a land of light and dark...
...where enlightened scholars preserve ancient wisdom, while others turn to dark powers for personal gain.
...where chivalric nobles fill their courts with music, poetry, art, and romance, while others wage bloody wars for land and belief.
...where fortunate peasants hold bright and raucous festivals, while others waste away from plague and famine.
And above the drama of life and wealth, death and want, stand the magi, wizards of legendary power. Be one.
Come to Mythic Europe.
The Art of Magic
"This is the most interesting and original fantasy role-playing system and setting I've seen in a long time."
—Ken Rolston, Dragon
"I really don't think I can praise Ars Magica highly enough... a wonderful magic system."
—Stewart Wieck, White Wolf
"You simply cannot afford not to buy this book."
—Carl Sargent, Games Review Monthly