Relaxation, Upcoming Reviews, Thabit ibn Qurra’s Book on Talismans, Slavic Monsters

I tried to finish two books at once – following two collaborative book chapters at work – so I’m taking it easy for now.

It has allowed me to catch up on my reading. The next review will be The Green Book of the Élus Coëns. I’ve also dipped into the amulets, magical bowls, and Genizah magical texts in the reprint of Joseph Naveh and Shaul Shaked’s Magic Spells and Formulae: Aramaic Incantations of Late Antiquity.

I’ve also been dipping into the Post-Vulgate Story of Merlin and a few of the minor Arthurian epics, slightly similar to what Greg Stafford did when writing Pendragon. I mainly underline examples of interesting behavior and values, while writing snarky commentary in the margins.

SISMEL in Italy has released a scholarly edition of a famous text on astrological image magic. From their website:

This book contains a reconstruction of Thabit ibn Qurra’s On Talismans, based on a recently-discovered Judaeo-Arabic text in the Cairo Genizah and the Latin versions. On Talismans, probably written in Baghdad in the late ninth century, was the most authoritative medieval text on the procedure for making talismans that depended for their efficacy on the natural influences of the stars. The Genizah manuscripts also include the first nine talismans of the On the Images on the Decans of the Signs attributed to Ptolemy, a work which forms a natural complement to Thabit’s text and is therefore included in this edition. Editions of the major excerpts of, and quotations from, these two texts in Hebrew, Arabic and Greek, have been added, and the Latin translation of another (lost) Arabic version of Thabit’s text – the Liber prestigiorum Thebidis – made by Adelard of Bath, completes the volume. Adelard’s version adds elements of ceremonial magic (including prayers to spiritual forces) to the effects of the stars. The texts edited here are essential sources for our knowledge of the theory and practice of astrological talismans in the Middle Ages and early modern period.

I’m looking forward to this, although I should note that they do not mention an English version of the text. You can find a non-scholarly edition by John Michael Greer and Christopher Warnock here. (UPDATE: I’ve received it, but I haven’t had time to figure out what they’re doing with the text.) is running some of my Slavic monsters I wrote up for my Slavic game. At this point, they’ve published the bayechnik and the preglavica, with four more to come. Check out some of the other submissions while you’re there.

The Viktor Wynd Museum has been holding online lectures on a variety of topics of interest to Papers readers. I’ve been enjoying the Cornish folklore series and the talks by Ronald Hutton. At the end of his talk on fairies, Hutton recommended Jeremy Harte’s Explore Fairy Tradition, which is proving to be even better than I had hoped. American readers should be aware that the Amazon price is well above what the publisher offers. Heart of Albion does ship to the US with Paypal, but you might want to indicate in your email that you’re a real person.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

Published in: on October 24, 2021 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  

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