On the Shelf Review – The Treasure of the Old Man of the Pyramids

One of my recent acquisitions from Trident Books was the Treasure of the Old Man of the Pyramids, a translation of the classic French grimoire published in 2002.  If anyone knows of a link where people can purchase it, I’d appreciate it.

Physically, it’s an attractive book, with a half-leather cover, clear type, well-reproduced circles, and two bookmarks.  The slipcase the publisher threw in as part of my order is also nice, and the whole piece is quite attractive.

The Treasure of the Old Man of the Pyramids is a short treatise on the use of rings and talismans to accomplish ends ranging from quick travel to success at gambling to controlling spirits.  The book begins with a description of a magical circle in which the operations should be conducted, followed with a list of twenty talismans.  Some of them are quite striking, with my favorite being the first one, which depicts an octopus.  This is followed with a portrait of the Old Man himself and some notes on the black screech owl, a magical bird that can locate treasure.  We also have a brief list of other magical works, a selection of talismans taken from the Black Pullet, and the French text.

The source from which this book is taken is not given, save that it was printed in Lille.  This makes it likely that it was one of the Blocquel editions from the mid-nineteenth century.  I don’t have access to those, but I did pick up a copy of the Trajectoire edition of 1997 and the version in the omnibus Grimoires et rituels magiques from Le Pré aux Clercs.  A brief examination has shown that both of the French editions have an additional section of narrative describing a soldier’s encounter with the old man and a more detailed procedure for creating the black screech owl.  Although I wouldn’t vouch for it, it’s likely that much of this parallels what is in the grimoire The Black Pullet, so I’m not too disheartened by this.  Also, it’s clear a great deal of work has been done on the art in the Trident book.  I’m not sure whether these differences reflect editorial decisions at Trident or the choice of the original text.

At any rate, I’m quite happy with the presentation and contents of this book.  I’d say it’s worth seeking out for those particularly interested in French grimoires or talismans, as well as collectors.  Others might be content with the material in the Black Pullet.

Published in: on March 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Who is the old man of the pyramids? Is there some sort of biographical sketch?

  2. I have an spanish version made by Editorial Maucci from Barcelona, I think it is from the 1908s. the octopus is my favourite one, as here in Galicia, we like them a lot, they are almost our national food! pulpo á feira.

  3. I’m selling a copy on eBay, the half snakeskin and half papyrus one, in mint condition.

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