I would like to thank the Trustees of the British Museum for allowing me to study
the manuscripts firsthand, and for their help in copying the manuscripts
The Lemegeton is a popular handbook of ritual magic known from the
17th century1 in more or less the same form
as I will present it.
Much of it was drawn verbatim or otherwise integrated from material found in earlier manuscripts,
some of which dates back as early as the 14th century or earlier2.
Heinrich Agrippa, in his De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum declamatio invectiva (1536)
has a chapter on De goetia & necromantia, followed by a chapter De theurgia;
the latter mentions "Eius itaque scholae sunt, ars almadel, ars notoria, ars paulina, ars reuelationum, & eiusmodi superstitionum plura"
in JF's 1651 translation: "Of his" (i.e. Porphyry's) "School therefore is the Art Almadel, the Notary art, the Pauline Art, the art of Revelations, and many such like superstitions."
Reginald Scot, in his lists of magical
texts3, mentions Ars Paulina,
Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria
in the same breath.
This may have suggested the scheme for the current collection.
Scot also includes a text closely related to the Goetia4.
This was in fact one of its primary sources as we shall see.
1. The date 1641 occurs in the text, so the present form must be later.
2. To this period has been dated an important text of the Solomonic literature, Liber Iuratus,
or The Sworn Book of Honorius, which has important connections with our present work.
3. Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584, Book 16, chap. 31 and
4. Op. cit. chapter 2 consists of a translation of J. Wier's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum. See below.
The name Lemegeton seems to have been suggested and taken from a passage in Ars Notoria (section 20b):
Therefore it is called, The Notary Art, because in certain brief Notes, it teacheth and comprehendeth the knowledge of all Arts:
for so Solomon also saith in his Treatise Lemegeton,* that is, in his Treatise of Spiritual and Secret Experiments.
* JV's edition p. 40: Lemogeton. Véronèse notes: "Tracté non identifié, peut-être fictif."
The alternate title, "The Lesser Key of Solomon" does not in fact occur in the manuscripts,
which instead read "The little key of Solomon" (see below).
A.E. Waite, in his 1898 Book of Black Magic and of Pacts does use the terms "greater Key" and "Lesser Key" to distinguish
between the Clavicula Salomonis and Lemegeton, so he may have been the first one to coin it.
The primary manuscripts used for this edition include:
||Title reads "Liber malorum Spirituum, seu Goetia."
Fol. 2r has the title "Lemegeton" with subtitle "Secretum Secretorum."
This is one of the latest ms., and contains innovations and much additional material ("Dr. Rudd").
A very handsome edition has been published by Stephen Skinner and David Rankine as
The Goetia of Dr. Rudd.
|Sloane Ms. 78 or 663 (fols. 125r-126v)
||Titled Lemegeton, Clavicula Solomonis Regis; / or, / The little Key of Solomon the King, wch
containeth all the names, Orders & Offices
of all spirits, that ever he had any converse with, with the seals or characters belonging to each spirit....
This ms. only contains the introduction and the first part of Book I — through the first part of the
entry on the tenth spirit — Buer.
|Sloane Ms. 2731
||Jan 18, 1687.
||Titled Lemegeton, Clauicula Salomonis: -- Or -- The Little Key of Solomon.
It is important because it has itself been compiled from multiple
versions (including apparently Sloane 3648).
The main prototype used by Sl. 2731 must have been closely-related to Sl. 3825 (possibly a common ancestor),
but was in some cases more accurate. (E.g. "towns" in description of Halphas in agreement with Weyer/Scot,
against "towers" in all other mss.; "Sabnack" in agreement with Weyer/Scot, against other mss.;
"Admeasurements" in description of Andrealphus in agreement with Scot, against other mss.)
This ms. omits all of book 5. It was also one specifically mentioned by A. E. Waite in his
Book of Ceremonial Magic, who incorrectly declared it to be complete.
|Sloane Ms. 3825
Titled Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis: Rex: The little Key of Salomon the King.
This is a more complete and internally consistent text. It is
also interesting in that it contains a shorter version of The
Notary Art to which has been added the remaining portions as found
in Robert Turner's 1657 translation.
It doesn't seem to have been noticed by Waite.
|Sloane Ms. 3648
Titled Lemegeton: or CLAVICVLA: SALOMONIS: REX: or the Little Key of Solomon The King.
One of the manuscripts used by the compiler of Sloane 2731.
The language is slightly more modernized than Sl. 3825, (e.g. "obeys" instead of "obeyeth", and "sees" instead of "seeth").
It almost always uses "the" instead of ye seen in Sl. 3825, but there are exceptions, such as spirit 48 (Haagenti);
this is additional evidence that the compiler's source ms. used the ye form.
This ms. has errors not found in Sl. 3825, such as
"Gusion" instead of "Gusoin"; "ruling" instead of "riding"; "charges" instead of "chains"; "charms" instead of "chains"; Eligos instead of Eligor.
The text is generally shorter than Sl.3825;
The inclusion of “called” in the description of Bifrons/Bifrous in Sl. 3648 perhaps indicates it
deleted most of them in order to eliminate unnecessary verbiage.
This ms. was also mentioned by Waite, who said simply that it was "another manuscript."
A transcription (without the Notary Art) was published by Kevin Wilby as Lemegetton — a Medieval Manual of Solomonic Magic, Dyfed, Wales, 1985.
|BL Sloane 3805 ff. 111-114
||Contains only a portion of Book 1, through the description of the 13th spirit.
|Wellcome MS 3203.
||Completed Mar 1, 1828.
||Henry Dawson Lea’s copy of Hockley’s copy.
Titled: Five treatises upon Magic. Part 4 contains the Lemegeton material and is titled:
Two Books of Solomon the King called Goetia and Theurgia Goetia, with the Names, Offices, Circles and Seals of 336 Spirits.
The table of contents list it as Lemegeton Seu Clavicula Salomonis Regis / The Little Key of Solomon the King.
"... transcribed my ms. copy from a Ms. in 2 vols. (about the date of 1580-1700) very precisely written I finished it 1 March 1828.
"In four parts" (i.e. omits Ars Notoria).
The text commences with the title The Key of Solomon which contains all the names, orders, offices of all the spirits....
The spirits appear in a different sequence, e.g. "Sinodai or Asmoday" is listed after Beleth, followed by Gaap, Furfur,
Marchosias, and Stolas. Some mistakes found in Wellcome 3203, such as Parmon instead of Paimon, and Focator instead of Focalor,
also appear in NLW ms. 11117B.
|Wellcome MS 4665.
||Frederick Hockley’s copy. Fragm. Only contains part of Book 1.
Titled: Magia de profundis, seu Clavicula Solomonis regis Lib. IV. The Key of Solomon the King. Or a compleat system of profound magical science. Fred. Hockley scrip[sit].
The text commences with the title The Key of Solomon / Which contains all the Names Orders & offices of all the spirits....
"In four parts" (i.e. omits Ars Notoria).
|NLW MS 11117B.
||Title reads simply Goetia, and commences with "Bael a King in the East who maketh invisible..."
John Harries' Book of Incantations, etc. 1814-1859. Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru – The National Library of Wales. Contains excerpts from Books 1 and 2.
Has many mistakes in common with Wellcome 3203 (see above).
Other related manuscripts include:
|Douce Ms. 116||London: Bodleian. Second half of 17th ce. A collection which can be considered a proto-Lemegeton. Includes
demon sigils, hexagram, pentagram, excerpts from Heptameron and many other magic texts.
|Sloane MS. 3824||Longobardus. A collection which can be considered a proto-Lemegeton|
Printed editions used:
|C: Mathers (1854-1918)/Crowley
||Crowley, Aleister, and S.L. Mathers. The Book of the Goetia or, The Lesser Key of Solomon the King:
From Numerous Manuscripts in Hebrew, Latin, French and English.
Foyers, Inverness: Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, 1904.
There is also an edition published by Chicago: The Occult Pub. House, "1903", but the
date must be mistaken or fictitious, as the 1904 is certainly the first edition supervised by Crowley.
This edition includes many fanciful alternate spellings of the spirit names, which are not supported by any
manuscripts that I can tell. Most of the footnotes too seem to derive from the editor's imagination rather than
any manuscript tradition.
Shah, Idries. The Secret Lore of Magic. New York, NY: Citadel Press, Inc., 1970, pp 156-211, 299-308.
(First published in 1957.)
Spirits are rearranged alphabetically.
Fasciculus Rerum Geomanticarum (Plut 89 Sup 38) (dated 1401-1410) has a large collection of demon sigils, but they
seem to be unrelated.
I have followed Sloane 3825 for this edition except for the Ars Notoria.
For the latter the manuscripts are clearly dependent
on Robert Turner's translation; I have therefore used his 1657
edition as the primary source. Variants from other manuscripts
are noted in square brackets . Also in square brackets are the
folio numbers from Sl. 3825. I have resisted the temptation to
modernise the language.
The parts of the Lemegeton are as follows:
The first book, Goetia, corresponds closely with the catalog
of demons published by Johahn Weyer (or Johann Wierus) as Pseudomonarchia daemonum
in his 1563 De Praestigiis Daemonum. In Weyer's text there
are no demonic seals, and the demons are invoked by a simple conjuration,
not the elaborate ritual found in the Lemegeton.
Reginald Scot included an English translation of Weyer's text,
which does in fact seem to be the ancestor of this part of the Lemegeton.
This can be established because of the unique errors and spellings introduced in that translation.
The most striking difference between Weyer’s text and the Goetia is the
order of spirits.
I see no explanation for the difference; perhaps the pages of an ancestor manuscript got dislodged and scrambled.
This actually seems to be the case with Hockley's ms. of the Goetia
(Although a much more recent manuscript: Wellcome 4665),
where each spirit is described on a separate leaf, and many pages were later dislocated.
The copy which Henry Dawson Lea made (Wellcome 3203) subsequently partially renumbered them,
instead of trying to restore the original order.
John Harries's copy (NLW ms. 11117B) seems to have followed Lea's.
|GOETIA||Wellcome 3203||WEYER |
|1. Bael ||1. = ||1. Baël [Baell]|
|2. Agares ||2. = ||2. =|
|3. Vassago ||3. Vas - Sago |
|4. Gamigin ||5. = ||46. Gamygyn|
|5. Marbas ||4. = ||3. =, Barbas|
|6. Valefar ||6. Valefor ||14. =, Malaphar|
|7. Amon||7. =||5. =, Aamon|
|8. Barbatos||8. =||6. =|
|9. Paimon||9. Parmon||22 =|
|10. Buer||10. =||7. =|
|11. Gusoin||11. =||8. Gusoyn [Gusoin]|
|12. Sitri||12. =||21. Sytry / Bitru|
|13. Beleth||13. =||20. Byleth [Bileth]|
|14. Leraye||13. Loray [Leraie], Oray|
|15. Eligor||12. =, Abigor|
|16. Zepar||19. =|
|17. Botis||9. =, Otis|
|18. Bathin||10. Bathym [Bathin], Marthim [Mathim]|
|19. Saleos||64. Zaleos [Saleos]|
|20. Purson||11. Pursan [Purson], Curson|
|21. Morax||15. =, Foraii|
|22. Ipos||16. Ipes [Ipos], Ayperos [Ayporos]|
|23. Aim || ||57. Aym, Haborym|
|24. Naberius || ||17. Naberus [Naberius], Cerberus|
|25. Glasya Labolas || ||18. =, Caacrinolaas, Caassimolar|
|26. Bune || ||23 =|
|27. Ronove || ||25 =|
|28. Berith || ||26 =|
|29. Astaroth || ||27 =|
|30. Forneus || ||24 =|
|31. Foras || ||28 = / Forcas|
|32. Asmoday||(13b.) Sinodai or Asmoday ||35. Sidonay, Asmoday|
|33. Gaap ||14. = ||35. =, Tap|
|34. Furtur/*Furfur ||15. Furfur ||29. Furfur|
|35. Marchosias||16. = ||30. Marchocias|
|36. Stolas ||17. = ||68. =|
|37. Phoenix ||18. Phenix ||67. =|
|38. Halphas ||19. = ||42. =|
|39. Malphas ||20. = ||31. = |
|40. Raum ||21. = ||41. =, Raym|
|41. Focalor ||22. Focator ||43. =|
|42. Vepar ||23. = ||32. =, Separ|
|43. Sabnach ||24. Sabnack ||33. Sabnac, Salmac|
|44. Shax ||25. = ||36. Chax, Scox|
|45. Vine ||26. = ||44. =|
|46. Bifrons ||27. = ||45. =|
|47. Vual ||28. Ruall ||65. Wal [Vuall]|
|48. Haagenti ||29. = ||66. =|
|49. Procel ||30. Procell ||37. Pucel [Prucel]|
|50. Furcas ||31. = ||38. =|
|51. Balam ||32. = ||62. =|
|52. Alloces ||33. Allocer ||63. Alocer [Allocer]|
|53. Caim ||34. Cam ||40. Caym |
|54. Murmur ||35. = ||39. =|
|55. Orobas ||36. Obus ||57. =|
|56. Gemory ||37. = ||50. Gomory|
|57. Ose ||38. = ||55. Oze [Ose]|
|58. Amy ||39. = ||60. =|
|59. Orias ||40. = ||48. =|
|60. Vapula ||41. = ||58. =|
|61. Zagan ||42. = ||47. Zagan|
|62. Valac ||43. = ||49. Volac [Valac]|
|63. Andras ||44. = ||53. =|
|64. Flauros ||45. Hauros ||61. =|
|65. Andrealphus ||46. = ||54. Androalphus [Andrealphus]|
|66. Cimeies ||47. Cimerjes ||59. Cimeries|
|67. Amduscias ||48. = ||52. =|
|68. Belial ||49. = ||23. =|
|69. Decarabia ||51. = ||51. =, Carabia|
|70. Seere ||50. Seer |
|71. Dantalion ||52. Dantation |
|72. Andromalius ||53. = |
- "=" means that the name of the spirit in Weyer is spelled the
same as in the Goetia.
- The fourth spirit in Weyer, Pruflas/Bufas is not found in the Goetia.
- The third spirit in the Goetia, Vassago, is not found in Weyer.
- The last three spirits in the Goetia, Seere, Dantalion, and Andromalius,
are not found in Weyer.
This text has close parallels with book one of Trithemius' Steganographia.
Although the abundant spirit seals are not found in Trithemius,
those few that can be found match exactly. For example, these
four seals are found in Steg. I. chapter xi, dealing with
Usiel and his subordinates:
Compare these with the following seals found in the Lemegeton
in the section dealing with the eleventh spirit, Usiel, and his
subordinates (Adan, Ansoel, Magni and Abariel):
It should be noted that Trithemius' conjurations are actually
his examples of hidden writing ('steganography'), and do not correspond
with the conjurations found in Theugia Goetia. Steganographia
was written in 1500, but was not published until 1608. It was,
however, widely circulated in manuscript form.
The spirits in Part 1 of this book coincide exactly with those
found in Trithemius' Steganographia, Book 2.
According to Thorndike5, the "The Pauline
art," was purported to have been discovered by the Apostle
Paul after he had been snatched up to the third heaven, and delivered
by him at Corinth. Robert Turner mentions a sixteenth-century
manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale6.
Although this text is based on earlier versions, repeated mention
of the year 1641 and guns, shows a late redaction. The "table
of practice" has similarities with Dee's "holy table".
In the former the seven seals have the characters of the seven
planets, which also occur in the Magical Calendar
5. Magic and Experimental Science, chapter xlix, 1923, pp. 279 ff.
6. BnN 7170A. See Robert Turner, Elizabethan Magic, 1989. pp. 140-1.
The descriptions of the seals for each sign of the Zodiac are
evidently abstracted from Paracelsus, The Second Treatise of
Celestial Medicines, cf. Archidoxes of Magic translated
by Robert Turner, 1656, pp. 136 ff.
In 1508, Trithemius mentioned a long list of books on magic, including
the book "Almadel attributed to King Solomon"7
Ars Almadel is also found in the Hebrew
manuscript of the Key of Solomon, ed. Gollancz, Sepher Maphteah Shelomoh,
1914, fol 20b. Turner mentions
a fifteenth-century manuscript in Florence.8
7. See critical edition of the Latin versions,
L'Almandal et l'Almadel latins au Moyen Âge: introduction et éditions critiques.
Firenze: SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo, 2012.
See also I. P. Couliano, Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, Chicago, 1987, p. 167.
8. Ibid. Florence II-iii-24.
The Ars Notoria is a Medieval Grimoire of the 'Solomonic
Cycle'. Many Latin manuscripts are extant, the oldest are dated
thirteenth century, and possibly earlier. Like Liber Juratus
(also thirteenth century), the text centers around an even older
collection of orations or prayers which are interspersed with
magical words. The orations in Ars Notoria and those in
Liber Juratus are closely related.
The orations in both works are said to
have mystical properties which can impart communion with God and
instant knowledge of divine and human arts and sciences.
Older manuscripts of the Ars Notoria contain exquisite drawings,
the "figures" mentioned in the text.9
Their omission adds greatly to the confusion of the text.
9. See below. For other examples of the illustrations, and an excellent discussion of the Ars Notoria, see the
article by Michael Camille in Claire Fanger, Conjuring Spirits,
Texts and Traditions of Medieval Ritual Magic, Pennsylvania
State University Press, 1998, pp. 110 ff.
Not all manuscripts of the Lemegeton include the Ars Notoria,
their contents listing only four books. Those that
do are entirely dependant on Robert Turner's 1657 edition, which
is evidently his own translation from the Latin.
The sixth Sheet of Dr. Rudd
Liber malorum Spirituum
This Book contains all the names, orders, and offices of all the
spirits Salomon ever conversed with. The seals and characters
belonging to each spirit, and the manner of calling them forth
to visible appearance.
Some of these spirits are in Enoch's Tables which I have explained,
but omitted their seals and characters, how they may be known;
but in this book they are at large set forth.
The definition of Magic10
10. Quoted (without citation) from Michael Maier, Laws of the Fraternity of the Rosie Crosse (Themis Aurea),
N. Brooke: London, 1656, pp. 90–92.
Magic is the highest most absolute and divine knowledge of natural
philosophy advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a
right understanding of the inward and occult vertue of things,
so that true agents being applied to proper patients, strange
and admirable effects will thereby be produced; whence magicians
are profound and diligent searchers into nature, they because
of their skill know how to anticipate an effect which to the vulgar
shall seem a miracle.
Origen saith that the magical art doth not contain anything subsisting,
but although it should yet that must not be evil or subject to
contempt or scorn; and doth distinguish the natural magic from
that which is diabolical.
Tyaneus only exercised the natural magic by which he performed
Philo Hebreus saith that true magic by which we come to the secret
works of nature is so far from being contemptible that the greatest
monarchs and kings have studied it. Nay amongst the Persians none
might reign unless he was skillfull in this great art.
This noble science often degenerates, and
from Natural becomes Diabolical, from
true philosophy turns to Negromancy which is
wholly to be charged upon its followers who,
abusing or not being capable of that high and
mystical knowledge do immediately hearken to the
temptations of Sathan, and are misled by him into
the study of the black art. Hence it is that Magick
lyes under disgrace, and they who seeke after it
are vulgarly esteemed Sorcerers. And the fraternity
of the RosyCrucians thought it not fit to stile
themselves Magicians but philosophers, they are
[+not] ignorant Empiricks, but learned and experienced
physicians whose remedies are not only lawfull
LEMEGETON CLAVICULA SALOMONIS: REX:
The little Key of Salomon the King which containeth all the names,
orders and offices of all the spirits that ever he hadd any converse
with, with the seales or Characters belongeing to Each spirit,
and the manner of calling them forth to [visible] appearance,
in 5 Parts, called Books viz - - - - -:
- The first part, is a Book of evill spirits, called Goetia,
shewing how he bound up those spirits and used them in severall
things, wherby he obtained great fame.
- The second part is a Booke of [aerial] spirits, partly good
and partly evill, wch is called Theurgia Goetia
being all spirits of the ayre.
- The Third part is [a book] of spirits governing ye
Planetary houres, and wt spirits belong to every degree
of the signes and planets in ye signes, and is called
- The fourth part of this Booke is called Ars Almadel Solomonis,
conteyning 20 cheife spirits wch governe the
four Altitudes or the 360 degrees of the world & signes [zodiac]
These twoo last orders of spirits is of good, and are called the
true Theurgia, and is to be sought affter by divine seeking
- The fifth part is a Booke of orations and prayers that wise
Salomon used upon the alter in the Temple which is called Artem
Novam [sic. (Ars Nova)] The wch was revealed
to Salomon by the holy angel of God called Michael, and he also
recieved [sic] many breef Notes written by the fingar of God wch
was delivered to him by ye said Angell, with Thunder
claps, without wc Notes Salomon hadd never obtained
to his great knowledge, for by them in short time he knew all
arts and siences both good and badd which from these Notes [this
book] is [also] called Ars Notoria.
In this Booke is contained the whole art of Salomon although there
be many other Bookes that is said to be his yet none is to be
compared with this, for this containeth them all, although
they be titled with severall other names, as the Booke Helisoe11
wch is the very same as this last [book] is, wch
called, Artem Novam & Ars Notaria &c..
11. Ars Notoria refers to Helisoe. S2: “Helisol” is an error. Mathers/Crowley also reads “Helisol.”
In JV's critical edition, Glossed version B, it reads "liber Ydea Salomonis". This he identifies as
De quattuor annulis. Version A mss. give the name variously — Eniclyssoe, Eliosse (Vemeliose cor. marg.),
Gromeliosse, mirabilis, Yndeneliosse.
These Bookes were first found in the Chaldean & hebrew tongues
at Hierusalem, by a Jewish Rabbi, & by him put into the greeke
Language, & from thence into ye Latine, as it is
Note the drawing at the bottom showing how the candles are to be
constructed with feet to support the Almadel.