A Grimoire Wish List: The Maqlu Text

With the recent announcement of Volume 2 of the Picatrix by Ouroboros Press,  I thought I’d review my personal wish list of important magical texts that have yet to be published in English.  One of the most important items on that list is the Maqlu Text.

Readers of the Simon Necronomicon will be familiar with the name Maklu and with some of the incantations therein.  Nonetheless, fewer are aware that Maklu is not a set of individual rituals, but in fact an Akkadian rite of the first millennium B.C. to be performed over the entire course of a single night.  The goal was to eliminate “witches” – which, I should add, means practitioners of hostile magic here.  We know it was performed for a king, and it’s likely that only the wealthier members of society could afford the extensive preparations and performances.

Maqlu was amazingly complex.  The exorcist went about the client’s house, drawing a magic circle on the ground, placing powerful objects about the dwelling, fumigating with herbs, and performing incantations to purify and consecrate the space.  Numerous figurines were made to represent any witch who might be affected, with these being burned or sent out in a small boat into a nearby river.  The client was washed and given a massage with oil, in order to cast off any baleful influences.  With a final meal of bread being fed to the dogs to remove the last traces of evil, the rite concluded.  You can find out more here and here.

Simon’s source for the Necronomicon seems to have been Knut Tallqvist’s 1895 edition with German translationTwo other German translations have appeared, but the book has been translated into English.  This would be a great boon to many scholars.  For my part, it means that people would have to face how much Simon’s version, as with material that comes from other works, is dependent upon the sources he used rather than the original texts.  For Necronomicon followers, it means lots of new incantations.  For most readers, it will be a fascinating and informative look into the magical practices of a civilization that still has not become prominent in the public consciousness.

I’ll have more from my wish list in the days to come.

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Published in: on August 27, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sounds like fun. Looks like it is fairly small. U of M has a copy of Tallqvist, but not the more recent translations. I’ll have a look next time I get up there. Shouldn’t be too hard to translate.

  2. Joe,

    Wow! That works!

    I should note that, according to at least one person who looked over Tallqvist, the translator really didn’t seem certain at points of what he was covering. I’ll see what I can do about getting you a better text.

  3. Hi Dan

    The last edition you mentioned is still in print as a reprint of the 1937 Ed.
    Look here (German Books in print):
    http://www.buchhandel.de/default.aspx?strframe=titelsuche&caller=vlbPublic&nSiteId=11&Func=Search&stichwort=assyrische%20Beschw%F6rungssammlung
    You should be able to order it from any good import bookseller the price is EUR 20.50.

  4. Got it. Thanks.

  5. […] on grimoires that I’d personally like to see available in English-language editions.  The Maqlu Text piece met with considerable approval, so I’m hopeful that this may inspire people to future […]

  6. Hi Dan,

    I made a translation of the Meier edition of Maqlu. You may not know, but Meier was conscripted into the German army during the war and disappeared on the eastern front. Like so many promising German academics of the time, he was sacrificed for folly – but he left us this great testament to his scholarship.

    Write me and I will send you a Word Document with the Akkadian/Sumerian and English translations in double column side-by-side.

    Bel Murru
    (Ross Caldwell)

  7. No need to send the translation – my friends have put up the English here –
    http://www.enenuru.net/html/maqlu.htm

  8. […] pointed us to the Maqlu Text online put up by some of his associates.  As you might recall from my wish list, this Akkadian incantation against the curses of witches was quoted in the Simon Necronomicon.  I […]

  9. […] some time, I’ve been waiting for a new published English translation of the Maqlu Text, the first millennium BCE exorcistic rite in Akkadian that gets so much attention in the Simon […]


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