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Last updated Dec 7, For a new, reformatted edition of Mathers’ edition, with new artwork, see: The Key of Solomon is the most famous and important of all Grimoires, or handbooks of Magic. Waite has stated BCMpg. Mathers’ presentation of the Key of Solomonwhich is still in print, though the work of an uncritical hand, must be held to remove the necessity for entering into a detailed account of the contents of that curious work.

Waite’s harsh criticism is hardly justified. In fact, Mathers excised very little. Actually, three of the four significant excisions are operations dealing with love magic Colorno, chapters The experiment of Love, and how it should be performed; The experiment or operation of the fruit; Of the operation of love by her dreams, and how one must practice it.

The fourth excision is chapter Operations and experiments regarding hate and destruction of enemies. It is true that the Mathers edition would not be considered critical by modern standards of scholarship but Waite’s editions of various esoteric texts leave far more to be desired than Mathers’.

Especially wanting are a proper critical apparatus, an analysis of the relation between manuscripts, and better utilization of the Latin and Italian manuscripts. Nevertheless, this edition has stood the test of time. Mathers’ translation is almost entirely dependant on French Colorno manuscript exemplars dating 18th century.

These are represented by the KingsHarleyand Sloane manuscripts. Kings and Harl. Abraham Colornoa Jewish engineer of Mantua fl. Kings includes some phrases which are missing from Harleyso the former is probably not a direct ancestor of the latter.

Although Mathers felt Sl “has many errors of transcription,” I have generally found it to be the most correct of the Colorno group i. In addition, Mathers made significant use of Lansdowneeven though he pronounces it “more concise in style. However the frequent deviations and elisions suggest to me that the editor was trying to make a more concise and readable edition, which of course makes its authority less reliable.

L displays simple mistakes in some of the Latin passages. It also regularly replaces “Amen” with “Ainsi soit-il”. Where K differs from H, L generally seems to follow the latter. Where Sl differs from the others, L generally follows it. However, L can’t be a direct ancestor of Sl since it contains elements missing from the latter, such as the missing Psalm and “Anefeneton” from book 2 chapter Nonetheless, it is safe to say that L is derived from a closely related manuscript.


Its inclusion by Mathers is puzzling because it is utterly different in content from the other manuscripts aside from a few of the pentacles at the end of the manuscript and really should stand alone as a separate text. Another copy can be found in ms. Additional is primarily written in Latin, although the descriptions of the pentacles are in Italian. It was written ca. Mathers considered it his oldest clais sole Latin source, but makes only limited use of it.

Contrary to what Mathers wrote, I did not find it particularly difficult to read once I got use to the orthography; likewise it has very few abbreviations: It doesn’t distinguish between u and v, and uniformly uses an archaic form of the ae-ligature e-caudata. It is somewhat more succinct than the Colorno manuscripts, so may preserve some earlier stage in the evolution of the text.

There are also frequent variations claivs the other manuscripts, many of which are clearly errors. The nature of the mistakes leads me to believe that its archetype was difficult to read. The pentacles are labelled with the appropriate colors. The Latin sometimes corresponds closely with that in Aub.

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Article 2 of Ad. This is no doubt a version salompnis the Zekerboni or Secorbeni; also compare “Zecorbeni” in Aub. In Ritual Magicpp.

Butler describes Mora as an “alchemist, black magician, said to be a Satanist and poisoner who lived in Milan early in the seventeenth century, and burnt there after having confessed under torture to those crimes Sloane is in Italian, and is also ca.

Prayers and conjurations are in Latin. It has much material not found in other manuscripts. Some of the material however can be found in Ad.

Key of Solomon

It is hard to read, except for the mystical names which are carefully done. It shares a xlavis of readings with Sl. For more details on the individual manuscripts, see the British Library Manuscript catalogue.

Solomon and the Ars Notoria. Since Mathers’ edition was clavjs, many more manuscripts have been uncovered, including the following: British Library, Harleian MS. Its contents are very similar to the Claviculasalomoniw it may be the prototype of the entire genre.

This manuscript is also described in some detail by Dennis Duling in the introduction to his translation of the Testament of Solomonas it also contains an incomplete version of the Testament. Latin BPH Amsterdam, dated This is the oldest known manuscript. Clavicula Salomonis en andere magische tractaten en voorschriften.


BUD Clavicula Salomonis. D Clavicula Salomonis filii David.

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Title page is vellum. Most of text is in Latin, with portions also in Dutch and German Last page, after concluding Clavicula Salomonis contains a list of the aslomonis of God, in German.

Text commences with “Benedictio Libri. Part of the Duveen Collection. A manuscript of this ca. British Library Sloane MS. Titled Clavis libri secretorum. Not used by Mathers. This manuscript has no pentacles.

It is a small volume about 5 in wide with large lettering and a lot of “white space”. Writing varies from very neat and legible to scrawling. Only part of the second book of Clavicula Salomonis is represented. It shares many elements with Sl. It also lacks some of the Christian elements found in Sl. Claavis Latin of Sl. It is not clear to me at this time why.

Perhaps it is also an independent translation. Written by John Aubrey who noted: Sum AubreyMay 9.

The book from whence I transcribed this was writt by an Italian, and in a very good hand. In Latin and English. The wording of this is often identical with Ad. The text is also fuller than in Ad.

The text is rearranged in a more logical order. It is evident that the manuscript he was copying from preserved an earlier orthography, since he frequently preserves and is occasionally even seen to correct the older forms: For example, fol 81v he wrote “adiuro”, then corrected it to “adjuro.

Bodleian Library Michael MS. Bound with Hebrew MS. Prayers and conjurations are in Latin, but frequently exhibit simple mistakes e. There are other places where it seems to represent the original text more accurately than Aub. The text is much abbreviated compared with the other manuscripts. Clavicula in Italian and Latin: Very carefully written and legible. British Library, Additional MS. Titled The Key of Knowledge.

Mid- to lateth century. British Library, Sloane MS. Seems to be based solely on Ad.