Proof (?) that the Simon Necronomicon is Real

Warlock Asylum has asked me to respond to a post entitled “Proof that the Simon Necronomicon is Real”, in which he states:

“A book attributed to the Magus Osthanes was circulated in Greece aboutthe time of the Median Wars, which, from what we know of it, seems to have taught , as the supreme secret of the caste of Magi, invocation of the dead and infernal spirts. The Magian priests spread over the whole of Persia, and it is because they were regarded as enchanters and magicians that the word magic acquired its present meaning.”

Here we see a book of Arabic origin that delt with invoking the dead and infernal spirits that was later circulated among the Greeks. It is interesting to note what was contained in this book was a system of invoking the dead based on the Rites of the Magi, which were based on older rites found among the Chaldeans. This is a strikingly similiar description of what Loveceraft calls the Necronomicon… I am sure that Dan Harms would have us all believe that things of such nature are just a coincidence, in that there actually was a book embraced by the Greeks that was of Arab origin and dealt with invoking powerful spirits and those of the dead.

Coincidence?  We’ll see.

First, it’s quite a stretch to go from “proof the Simon Necronomicon is real” to “proof that a book like the Simon Necronomicon is recorded somewhere,” so the title of the post is misleading.

Second, though Warlock’s source – Howey’s The Cat in Magic and Myth – might be fine for cats, it also might not be the first source we should go to on Osthanes.  I turned to Daniel Ogden’s Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds:  A Sourcebook, and worked outward from there.

From those sources, it appears likely that Ostanes was a mythical figure.  Herodotus’ Histories, for instance, was written just after the wars, and it does not mention Ostanes.  (It does include a wealthy Persian named Otanes who uncovers a plot by two Magi to take the throne, so perhaps this was the origin of the myth.)  The longest mention I could find was written in Chapter 30 of Pliny’s Natural History, written four centuries later.  Quite a literature supposedly written by Ostanes had built up over the years, indicating that Ostanes might have occupied a position for the Greeks comparable to that of Solomon in the grimoire tradition.

Thus, I think it would fall upon Warlock to find a source from the period of the Persian Wars uncovering a wizard named Ostanes who traveled with the king of Persia.  I’ll await his response, but at this point, it doesn’t seem to be too certain that he – and thus, his book – existed.

Third,  Lovecraft himself refers repeatedly to a Pliny, thus providing a good chance that the Classically-steeped young man had read the description in Natural History of the book.

Fourth, we can’t really tie the book to Arabic.  Arabic has really never been the language of Persia – I’ll leave it to Warlock to figure that one out!

Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 3:44 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I can’t believe you are still getting this question!

  2. Mister Harms recognises the validity of some of the points I have mentioned in the past. However, one regular reader of my blog page mention something along the same lines but from a GateWalkers perspective. Maybe Dan and I are beating a “dead” horse. Yet I think that if both parties realize that they are branches of a tradition then we can move on but I am not certain if Dan is ready for that sort of treaty.

  3. Dude, get over yourself. You are WAY past the Necronomicon, you are DEEPLY into Philip K. Dick territory. I don’t see Dan Harms making any treaty with madness any time soon.

  4. I guess your page is filled with those who like to insult. Those are the only references you could find Harms?

    Hope you had a good trip 🙂

  5. I actually do respect Warlock’s tradition, which mainly consists of using the Simon Necronomicon and selective readings from other sources as a guide for personal spiritual growth. I can only hope that Warlock learns to respect my tradition of pointing out that this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in touch with the Wisdom of the Ancients.

  6. Did you read the Treaty:

    Be Well

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