Saturday, 27 December 2014

Compendium rarissimum: Part I

The full title of this recent, short, yet astounding manuscript is Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros. Anno 1057. Noli me tangere, which means Most rare summary of the entire Magical Art put together by the most famous Masters of this Art. Year 1057. Do not touch me.

The year as we might gather, is fictitious and we might guess the author subtracted about seven centuries from the date of its compilation, making 1775 a far more likely candidate. 

It s held by the Wellcome Library (MS1766), estimated at the same date of 1775 (with the obvious questionmark), and described as: 

”In German and Latin. On white, brown and grey-green paper. The title within an ornamental border in wash, with skulls, skeletons and cross-bones. Illustrated with 31 extraordinary water-colour drawings of demons, and three pages of magical and cabbalistic signs and sigils, etc. At the end the figures are in red, and part of the text is written in white on the grey-green paper.”

The Wellcome Library graciously shared high-quality scans of the entire manuscript, with download options including a full PDF of the entire document, HERE.

I have made efforts to extract all seals and graphical figures from the treatise and render them to a higher quality. Also, since the images hosted online go simply from 1 to 112, including pictures of the object and separate typewritten material, I will refer to the content after the pencil numbering of the folios found on the upper-right cornrer and to the typed pages as p.1-4, keeping in brackets the image number of the source website.

The numbering of the seals is my own and follows their occurrence in the text. In subsequent studies of the imagery I will refference them as C(compendium)R(arissimum), followed by the number. The headings are translated from the manuscript unless otherwise mentioned.

The manuscripts begins with three pages of seals, of which only two have headings: the first illustrates the characters of evil spirits, the second records the characters of elemental spirits and the third, those of the good spirits.

I. Characters of the Evil Spirits

On f.30v. we find a description of the demonic hierarchy employed:

The four Kings: 

Lucifer. Leviathan. Satan. Belial. 

Their eight Dukes:

Astaroth. Magoth. Asmodai. Belzebub.
Oriens. Baimon. Aritton. Amaimon.

And twelve subjects:

Morech. Nabhi. Tirama. Nudaton.
Zagrion. Carufur. Rigalon. Zugula.
Ramaison. Kilik. Sumuran. Aloggiell.

This system correspond closely, albeit with differences in spelling, with those found in The Book of Abramelin (Dehn, Guth, 2006) down to the names of the first 12 spirits subjected to the dukes. These are the closest in their forms to the Peter Hammer edition, published in 1727 in Cologne.
 There is little consistency between the hierarchy and the seals presented.

1. Eliles 

2. Leviathan (?)

3. Astharot

4. Belzebub

5. Belial

6. Sathan

II. Characters of the Elemental Spirits,
of Fire, Water, Earth and Air.

These twelve seals, found on f.3r, often with astrological siglae included, have no spirit names attached. I shall continue the numbering, placing in brackets the astrological assignment.

7. (Venus)

8. (Venus)

9. (Pisces. Jupiter)

10. (Venus)

11. (Moon)

12. (No astrological siglae)

13. (No astrological siglae)

14. (No astrological siglae)

15. (No astrological siglae)

16. (No astrological siglae)

17. (No astrological siglae)

18. (Venus)

III. Characters of the Good Spirits

Third page of seals, f.4r, is dedicated to the good spirits. Unnamed as well, these are mainly planetary characters found in Agrippa s Occult Philosophy, Book I, chap.XXXIII, but also characters I have yet to identify.

19. Cf. Agrippa, Saturn, seal 3

20. Cf. Agrippa, Saturn, seal 4

21. Cf. Agrippa, Saturn, seal 5

22. Cf. Agrippa, Jupiter, seal 7

23. Cf. Agrippa, Mercury, seal 1

24. Cf. Agrippa, Mercury, seal 5

25. Cf. Agrippa, Sun, seal 1

26. Cf. Agrippa, Sun, seal 5

27. Unidentified. Magical Calendar?

 28. Cf. Agrippa, Sun, seal 2

29. Unidentified.

30. Unidentified.

The following two articles pertaining to this Compendium will analize the miscellaneous seals found throughout the images (part II) and two seriesof seals of the archangels (part III). 


  1. Thanks for sharing this work. I had a short look at it before, and there's many material to study and even practice on it.

  2. Where are the following two articles (part II-III?

  3. As you may presume, they are not ready yet. I have many more things to do in my proffessional and private life. But I will get to publishing them.

  4. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hello! Wow! What a wonderful research you have done! I am a practicing Witch and I summon the 4 chief Kings Lucifer, Satan, Leviathan and Belial during my rites. I saw you are working on the seals of Compendium Rarissimum and became very impressed by your work. I am trying to connect this grimoire with the book of Abramelin the Mage (I found some spirits there too). I will be summoning the demons from Compendium Rarrisimum very soon and I mention you, your research and your website in a post on my blog (as a professional translater of ancient spell books and a source of info). I hope that this is okay for you. Blessings :)

    1. First of all, thank you for your kind words, It s good to know my work is useful to somebody. Second of all, please put up in your research anything from here you might find fit, and put the link, that would be perfect. Third, I am In no way responsable for any practical application, this is an academic blog. I cannot offer any help or guidance as an academic researcher. But To my knowledge, if you want to do anything from the Abramelin book, it s best to go about it in the Abramelin way ;)

  6. Ever get around to translating the second and third segments?

    1. already translated and published by someone else