The Testament of Solomon, Part 15

After meeting the demon Lix Tetrax, Solomon gets down to the business of figuring out what this newcomer can do.  Lix is ready with a response:

“I create divisions among men, I make whirlwinds, start fires, I set fields on fire, and I make households non-functional… If I get the chance, I slither in under the corners of houses during the night and the day.”

This last point seems to be a reference to the Mesopotamian tradition that led to the incantation bowls.  These are inscribed bowls placed face-down and buried beneath the corners of houses, with the purpose of warding off demons.  These don’t date from the same time or place to which the Testament is dated, mind you, but they likely reflect a similar belief about the spirit world.

Lix Tetrax goes on to say:

“I am the direct offspring of the Great One.”

The Great One of what?  Duling’s commentary on the book suggests Beelzeboul – or even Artemis of Ephesus, given the Ephesian link already stated – but there’s simply no way to be certain.

We also learn that he lives in a star near “the very tip of the horn of the moon when it is found in the South.”  I’m not sure where exactly that might be, but it does illustrate the ongoing astral connections of the spirits of the Testament.

And he just keeps talking, now describing a function for a demon that’s downright odd:

“… I was assigned to draw out the fever which strikes for a day and a half.  As a result, many men, when they see (this), pray about the day-and-a-half fever, (invoking) these three names, ‘Baltala, Thallal, Melchal,’ and I heal them.”

Judging the text from an internal perspective, maybe Lix Tetrax was ashamed that parts of his job were helping out people and only worked it in after playing up the fire and destruction.

Looking at the text as a historical piece, though, this seems to be another example of a spell becoming embedded in a longer narrative that doesn’t have too much to do with it.  After all, helping people out with fever doesn’t seem to be the sort of thing Lix Tetrax would be inclined to do, and the magical names in the passage don’t sound too much like the Ephesian words with which Lix Tetrax is connected.

Nonetheless, we finally get around to learning which angel thwarts him – Azael, in this case – and Solomon puts these mysterious words to work tossing stones up to the temple’s heights to aid with the building.   One can’t help but feel sorry for the poor slob who had to catch them…

Next, a possible link between the Testament and… Dan Clore?

Published in: on January 1, 2008 at 10:26 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Testament of Solomon, Part 16 Following his brush with Lix Tetrax, Solomon conjures up another demon.  Imagine his surprise when he gets seven! “We are […]

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