Magical Manuscripts Online at the University of Leipzig

The library of the University of Leipzig has recently digitized a large collection of many magical manuscripts.  Mihai Vârtejaru has simplified the lives for all of you by creating a list of links and a few notes on the manuscripts’ contents on his blog, to which I refer you.  There appears to be a great deal of interesting works there, and Mihai has already used it to determine the origins of some Faustian planetary seals.

If you explore and find anything of interest, please leave a message in his or my contents, so we can all benefit.

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Published in: on August 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. You are quite right this is a real treasure trove. I first became aware of these mss about four years ago through the Dresden (SLUB) site. However, at that time I could only connect with the Cod.Mag.01 which was shared with the Dresden site. It was only this year that I was able to connect to the Leipzig site and actually see all the mss. Unfortunately connecting to the Leipzig site is still pretty much a hit or miss proposition. Right now the site seems to be down (maybe its just a weekend or maintenance thing). I have several ways of connecting, but all of them resolve into a face full of source code, vague error messages, or white screens. I hope the site will reveal itself soon.

    In any event I’d like to draw your attention to five mss in the collection: CodMag50, which also includes material from Trithemius’s Steganographia; CodMag59, Shemhamphoras, a list of the seventytwo names of god (or angels) derived from the three verses in Exodus each paired with a verse from a psalm (I have considerably more details on this pairing, but will not go into detail here, except to say this angelic list cum psalm originate from Reuchlin’s de Verbo (and repeated in de Arte); the paring appears many times throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth century in ms and printed latinate works. I have found no explicit Hebrew source prior to Reuchlin for this association) and Reuchlin’s Psalms are derived from Jerome’s Latinate version; finally CodMag60, Almodel, which in another version forms the fourth part of the Lemegeton (about which I have considerable information) and the fifth ms CodMag118. attr. Trithemius, has material also found in Ebenezer Sibl(e)y’s version of the Key of Solomon.

    I see this is getting too long, so I’ll sign off for now.

    Josh Bacon

  2. Thank you Dan!

  3. I came across this collection about a year ago and downloaded almost them all, but the website was recently down. I drew Joseph Peterson’s attention about it while he was working on the transcription of the “Clavicula Salomonis de secretis” (from the polish MS Mihai mentionned), as there is a shorter version in Leipzig (CM136), but he was already aware of it!

    It is an impressive collection of works, mainly in german, but some MSs are in latin and Italian. Mihai’s description and links is very appreciated and helpful. Frank Klaassen already listed some of the MSs, but with different shelfmarks. Besides Josh’s comments, here are my personal observations:

    It has 2 exemplars of the Clavicula Salomonis Expurgata (CM1 and 27), a “Clavicula salomonis filii David” (CM85) which matches exactly Duveen 388 in Peterson’s website (and is probably the MS described by Adelung), a german Book of Abramelin (CM15), a latin Sepher Razielis (CM40), an italian Claviculae Salomonis (CM4), several MSs of the Hollenzwang family (such as CM6, 22, 23, 30, 77, 138), treatises on magical rings (CM33, 34, 35, 36) and planetary talismans (CM37, 38, 72, 92), 2 MSs on Schemhamphoras (CM 59 and 79), a MS with numerous cryptographic alphabets (CM65). Some books are just a few pages long, and they are all dated 1700-1750. I couldn’t find any clue about the provenance of this collection, most of the german MSs seem to be of the same handwriting. CM136 seems connected to Wagenseil, a german professor of oriental languages who devoted his learning to publishing anti-Christian works of Jewish authors.

    My favourite is CM19, a latin treatise called “Rehencatrici totius Indiae Regis, Apollonii discipuli, Ars Cabalistica Sacrae Philosophiae”. It is a mix between image magic (planetary seals) and ritual magic (drawing heavily from the claviculae salomonis with its tools, pantacles and lengthy preparations). The title itself is interesting because it echoes the “Behencasin” mentionned in Tritheme’s Antipalus Maleficiorum, (also a work on the 7 planetary talismans), and the “Behencatri viri sapientis et regis in India” from a 16th century Belgian MS. My guess is the author of this treatise drew from the Behencasin and expanded it by incorporating it in the familiar Claviculae framework: chapter on the planetary seals only occupies pages13-27 (the MS is 140 pages long) and has a slightly different incipit.

    Another work of interest is CM16 (unfortunately in german), but from the figures it seems to contain both the Liber Juratus (with a drawing of the sigillum Dei Aemeth) and pseudo-Bacon’s Nigromantia, quite an unusual mix. As the subtitle says: Magia universalis divina angelica ac diabolica! The malicious compiler even cites Tritheme: “scientia mali non est malum, sed usus”, and add “vel potius abusus”, “the knowledge of evil is not evil, but the practice of it” – “or better, its abuse”.

    A collection very much worth looking into. Unfortunately you can’t easily download it, you have to save each page one by one.

    Philalethe.

  4. Regarding the provenance of the Leipzig collection, you may want to take a look at Roth-Scholtz’s Catalogus Rariorum Liborum appended to the 1732 ed of ps-Trithemius’s Vetervm Sophorvm sigilla. Ferguson has a short bio of Roth Scholtz in his Bibliotheca Chemica, v2, 1906.

  5. Thanks Josiah for the info. It does list them all. I also found some of the alchemical MSs listed somewhere, I can’t remember where though.

    Philalethe.

  6. may i know if it plases the living God to practice this magical exercices & if so is the result always posetive? thanks

  7. may i know if it plases the living God to practice this magical exercices & if so is the result always posetive? thanks. my gsm-08033923175

  8. This is the right webpage for everyone who hopes to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject which has been written about for decades. Excellent stuff, just great!


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