In this manner, while all books on magic could be thought of as grimoires, not all magical books should be thought of as grimoires. While the term grimoire is originally European and many Europeans throughout history, particularly ceremonial magicians and cunning folk , have used grimoires, the historian Owen Davies noted that similar books can be found all across the world, ranging from Jamaica to Sumatra. It is most commonly believed that the term grimoire originated from the Old French word grammaire , which had initially been used to refer to all books written in Latin. By the 18th century, the term had gained its now common usage in France, and had begun to be used to refer purely to books of magic.

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In this manner, while all books on magic could be thought of as grimoires, not all magical books should be thought of as grimoires. While the term grimoire is originally European and many Europeans throughout history, particularly ceremonial magicians and cunning folk , have used grimoires, the historian Owen Davies noted that similar books can be found all across the world, ranging from Jamaica to Sumatra. It is most commonly believed that the term grimoire originated from the Old French word grammaire , which had initially been used to refer to all books written in Latin.

By the 18th century, the term had gained its now common usage in France, and had begun to be used to refer purely to books of magic. Owen Davies presumed this was because "many of them continued to circulate in Latin manuscripts".

However, the term grimoire later developed into a figure of speech amongst the French indicating something that was hard to understand. In the 19th century, with the increasing interest in occultism amongst the British following the publication of Francis Barrett's The Magus , the term entered the English language in reference to books of magic. The earliest known written magical incantations come from ancient Mesopotamia modern Iraq , where they have been found inscribed on cuneiform clay tablets that archaeologists excavated from the city of Uruk and dated to between the 5th and 4th centuries BC.

The Egyptian magical system, known as heka , was greatly altered and expanded after the Macedonians, led by Alexander the Great , invaded Egypt in BC. Under the next three centuries of Hellenistic Egypt , the Coptic writing system evolved, and the Library of Alexandria was opened. This likely had an influence upon books of magic, with the trend on known incantations switching from simple health and protection charms to more specific things, such as financial success and sexual fulfillment.

The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that books on magic were invented by the Persians. The 1st-century AD writer Pliny the Elder stated that magic had been first discovered by the ancient philosopher Zoroaster around the year BC but that it was only written down in the 5th century BC by the magician Osthanes.

His claims are not, however, supported by modern historians. The ancient Jewish people were often viewed as being knowledgeable in magic, which, according to legend, they had learned from Moses , who had learned it in Egypt. Among many ancient writers, Moses was seen as an Egyptian rather than a Jew. Two manuscripts likely dating to the 4th century, both of which purport to be the legendary eighth Book of Moses the first five being the initial books in the Biblical Old Testament , present him as a polytheist who explained how to conjure gods and subdue demons.

Meanwhile, there is definite evidence of grimoires being used by certain, particularly Gnostic , sects of early Christianity. In the Book of Enoch found within the Dead Sea Scrolls , for instance, there is information on astrology and the angels. In possible connection with the Book of Enoch , the idea of Enoch and his great-grandson Noah having some involvement with books of magic given to them by angels continued through to the medieval period. Acts 19, c. Israelite King Solomon was a Biblical figure associated with magic and sorcery in the ancient world.

The 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian Josephus mentioned a book circulating under the name of Solomon that contained incantations for summoning demons and described how a Jew called Eleazar used it to cure cases of possession. The book may have been the Testament of Solomon but was more probably a different work. It is a Greek manuscript attributed to Solomon and likely written in either Babylonia or Egypt sometime in the first five centuries AD, over 1, years after Solomon's death.

The work tells of the building of The Temple and relates that construction was hampered by demons until the angel Michael gave the king a magical ring. The ring, engraved with the Seal of Solomon , had the power to bind demons from doing harm. Solomon used it to lock demons in jars and commanded others to do his bidding, although eventually, according to the Testament , he was tempted into worshiping "false gods", such as Moloch , Baal , and Rapha.

Subsequently, after losing favour with God, King Solomon wrote the work as a warning and a guide to the reader. When Christianity became the dominant faith of the Roman Empire , the early Church frowned upon the propagation of books on magic, connecting it with paganism , and burned books of magic.

The New Testament records that after the unsuccessful exorcism by the seven sons of Sceva became known, many converts decided to burn their own magic and pagan books in the city of Ephesus ; this advice was adopted on a large scale after the Christian ascent to power. In the Medieval period, the production of grimoires continued in Christendom , as well as amongst Jews and the followers of the newly founded Islamic faith.

As the historian Owen Davies noted, "while the [Christian] Church was ultimately successful in defeating pagan worship it never managed to demarcate clearly and maintain a line of practice between religious devotion and magic. In Christianised Europe, the Church divided books of magic into two kinds: those that dealt with "natural magic" and those that dealt in "demonic magic". The former was acceptable because it was viewed as merely taking note of the powers in nature that were created by God; for instance, the Anglo-Saxon leechbooks, which contained simple spells for medicinal purposes, were tolerated.

Demonic magic was not acceptable, because it was believed that such magic did not come from God, but from the Devil and his demons.

These grimoires dealt in such topics as necromancy , divination and demonology. The 13th-century Sworn Book of Honorius , for instance, was like the ancient Testament of Solomon before it largely based on the supposed teachings of the Biblical king Solomon and included ideas such as prayers and a ritual circle , with the mystical purpose of having visions of God, Hell , and Purgatory and gaining much wisdom and knowledge as a result.

In the 16th century, this work had been translated into Latin and Italian, being renamed the Clavicula Salomonis , or the Key of Solomon. In Christendom during the medieval age, grimoires were written that were attributed to other ancient figures, thereby supposedly giving them a sense of authenticity because of their antiquity. Simon Magus had been a contemporary of Jesus Christ 's and, like the Biblical Jesus, had supposedly performed miracles, but had been demonized by the Medieval Church as a devil worshiper and evil individual.

Similarly, it was commonly believed by medieval people that other ancient figures, such as the poet Virgil , astronomer Ptolemy and philosopher Aristotle , had been involved in magic, and grimoires claiming to have been written by them were circulated.

As the early modern period commenced in the late 15th century, many changes began to shock Europe that would have an effect on the production of grimoires. Historian Owen Davies classed the most important of these as the Protestant Reformation and subsequent Catholic Counter-Reformation , the witch-hunts and the advent of printing. The Renaissance saw the continuation of interest in magic that had been found in the Mediaeval period, and in this period, there was an increased interest in Hermeticism among occultists and ceremonial magicians in Europe, largely fueled by the translation of the ancient Corpus hermeticum into Latin by Marsilio Ficino — Alongside this, there was a rise in interest in the Jewish mysticism known as the Kabbalah , which was spread across the continent by Pico della Mirandola and Johannes Reuchlin.

The idea of demonology had remained strong in the Renaissance, and several demonological grimoires were published, including The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy , which falsely claimed to having been authored by Agrippa, [27] and the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum , which listed 69 demons. To counter this, the Roman Catholic Church authorised the production of many works of exorcism , the rituals of which were often very similar to those of demonic conjuration.

These pieces give a perfect fusion of Germanic pagan and Christian influence, seeking splendid help from the Norse gods and referring to the titles of demons. The advent of printing in Europe meant that books could be mass-produced for the first time and could reach an ever-growing literate audience. Among the earliest books to be printed were magical texts. Despite the advent of print, however, handwritten grimoires remained highly valued, as they were believed to contain inherent magical powers, and they continued to be produced.

Throughout this period, the Inquisition , a Roman Catholic organisation, had organised the mass suppression of peoples and beliefs that they considered heretical. In many cases, grimoires were found in the heretics' possessions and destroyed. In Christendom, there also began to develop a widespread fear of witchcraft , which was believed to be Satanic in nature. The subsequent hysteria, known as the Witch Hunt , caused the death of around 40, people, most of whom were women.

Highly literate Iceland proved an exception to this, where a third of the witch trials held involved people who had owned grimoires. Meanwhile, Hermeticism and the Kabbalah would influence the creation of a mystical philosophy known as Rosicrucianism , which first appeared in the early 17th century, when two pamphlets detailing the existence of the mysterious Rosicrucian group were published in Germany.

These claimed that Rosicrucianism had originated with a Medieval figure known as Christian Rosenkreuz , who had founded the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross; however, there was no evidence for the existence of Rosenkreuz or the Brotherhood. The 18th century saw the rise of the Enlightenment , a movement devoted to science and rationalism , predominantly amongst the ruling classes.

However, amongst much of Europe, belief in magic and witchcraft persisted, [40] as did the witch trials in certain [ which? Governments tried to crack down on magicians and fortune tellers, particularly in France, where the police viewed them as social pests who took money from the gullible, often in a search for treasure. In doing so, they confiscated many grimoires. Many grimoires published through this circulated among an ever-growing percentage [ citation needed ] of the populace, in particular the Grand Albert , the Petit Albert , the Grimoire du Pape Honorius and the Enchiridion Leonis Papae.

The Petit Albert contained a wide variety of forms of magic, for instance, dealing in simple charms for ailments along with more complex things such as the instructions for making a Hand of Glory. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, following the French Revolution of , a hugely influential grimoire was published under the title of the Grand Grimoire , which was considered [ by whom?

A new version of this grimoire was later published under the title of the Dragon rouge and was available for sale in many Parisian bookstores. The Black Pullet , probably authored in lateth-century Rome or France, differs from the typical grimoires in that it does not claim to be a manuscript from antiquity but told by a man who was a member of Napoleon 's armed expeditionary forces in Egypt.

The widespread availability of printed grimoires in France—despite the opposition of both the rationalists and the church—soon [ when? In Switzerland, Geneva was commonly associated with the occult at the time, particularly by Catholics, because it had been a stronghold of Protestantism.

Many of those interested in the esoteric traveled from Roman Catholic nations to Switzerland to purchase grimoires or to study with occultists. Ciprian , which falsely claimed to date from c. Like most grimoires of this period, it dealt with among other things how to discover treasure. In Germany, with the increased interest in folklore during the 19th century, many historians took an interest in magic and in grimoires.

Several published extracts of such grimoires in their own books on the history of magic, thereby helping to further propagate them. Perhaps the most notable of these was the Protestant pastor Georg Conrad Horst — , who from to , published a six-volume collection of magical texts in which he studied grimoires as a peculiarity of the Mediaeval mindset.

Another scholar of the time interested in grimoires, the antiquarian bookseller Johann Scheible, first published the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses , two influential magical texts that claimed to have been written by the ancient Jewish figure Moses. In the last decades of that century, London experienced a revival of interest in the occult that was further propagated when Francis Barrett published The Magus in The Magus contained many things taken from older grimoires, particularly those of Cornelius Agrippa, and while not achieving initial popularity upon release, gradually became an influential text.

One of Barrett's pupils, John Parkin, created his own handwritten grimoire, The Grand Oracle of Heaven, or, The Art of Divine Magic , although it was never published, largely because Britain was at war with France , and grimoires were commonly associated with the French. The only writer to publish British grimoires widely in the early 19th century, Robert Cross Smith, released The Philosophical Merlin and The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century , but neither sold well.

The Secret Grimoire of Turiel claims to have been written in the 16th century, but no copy older than has been produced. A modern grimoire, the Simon Necronomicon , takes its name from a fictional book of magic in the stories of H. Lovecraft , inspired by Babylonian mythology and by the " Ars Goetia ", a section in the Lesser Key of Solomon that concerns the summoning of demons.

Chumbley has been described by Gavin Semple as a modern grimoire. The neopagan religion of Wicca publicly appeared in the s, and Gerald Gardner introduced the Book of Shadows as a Wiccan grimoire. The term grimoire commonly serves as an alternative name for a spell book or tome of magical knowledge in fantasy fiction and role-playing games. The most famous fictional grimoire is the Necronomicon , a creation of H.

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Honorius III Pope -1227


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