Frequently Asked Questions -- The Necronomicon Part I Version 1.2 29 June 1993 compiled by Kendrick Kerwin Chua (kendrick+@CMU.EDU) Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
United States of America
Table of Contents = Introduction to Version 1.2 = Introduction to original version = Frequently Asked Questions
(1) What is the Necronomicon?
(1a) Who is H.P. Lovecraft?
(2) Where can I get a copy of the Necronomicon?
1. The Necronomicon, edited by Simon 1a. The Necronomicon Spellbook, The Gates of the Necronomicon 2. The Necronomicon by Colin Wilson, edited by George Hay 3. Al Azif, the Owlswick Press Necronomicon 4. The Necronomicon by L. Sprague DeCamp or W.T. Faraday
(3) Who is/was Abdul Al-Hazred? Does he exist?
(4) Who or what is Cthulhu?
(5) What is a Necromicon? Shouldn't it be Necronomicon?
(6) Does thge Necronomicon really exist?
(7) What is the Voynich Manuscript?
(8) Where can I find more information? = Appendix
(1) History of the Necronomicon, as rendered by H.P. Lovecraft
(2) An abridged Pantheon of Mythos, as given by Lovecraft and Simon
(3) Miscellaneous useful information about the Necronomicon
INTRODUCTION TO VERSION 1.2
Revision time, boys and girls. The changes here are not major except perhaps for the listing of one of the four Necronomicons that I have given as relevant. It seems that the existence of the DeCamp version of the Necronomicon is questionable, and in my decsription of the thing I have confused it with the W.T. Faraday version of the book, which I did not list. For right now, I am going to list the two together as a single entity (because I believe that they are actually the same book) and leave it at that until I am able to find better evidence, preferably the books themselves.
Other than that, I have been able to fill in a few blanks in the original FAQ, a table of contents, and I have added a third part as a sort of appendix. This includes within it the complete text of Lovecraft's fictional History of the Necronomicon, as well as a Pantheon listing of the dieties which are common to Lovecraft and the Simon Necronomicon. If you feel I have left anything out, or that I have made an error, please don't hesitate to send me e-mail. Thanks go out to Lupo the Butcher, who was a tremendous help with the original text and in between revisions, as well as Josh Geller and Thyagi Nagashiva (who is no longer listed as an alias of Aliester Crowley....)
KKC, 29 June 1993
I sometimes wonder why I have taken it upon myself to become a caretaker of the argument over the "thing" called the Necronomicon. Not the black paperback book, not the concept H.P. Lovecraft invented, and not the big coloring book by H.R. Giger. I cannot bring myself to call it anything but the "thing", because at present, the human race cannot come to a consensus on what the Necronomicon is. People who claim that they are skeptics, people who believe that they practice Magick, people who believe that they are Satanists, and just about everyone else have argued and argued with their voices and their e-mail accounts over the what, why, where, who, how, and the when of the Necronomicon.
Most people who argue whatever viewpoint are reasonably knowledgable about their subject, and are fairly expert in their particular angle of entry into the subject of the Necronomicon. Science fiction and horror fans who have something to say are well-read in their H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth. Pagans and Satanists who join in are reasonably well-read in their LaVey and Crowley. Skeptics know their Colin Wilson and their Sumerian mythology. And so, except for the big flamewar that happens every six months or so, discussion is at best educational and enlightening, but usually leads to no concrete conclusions or new ideas.
Aside from that problem, there are also newbies on Netnews and beyond who may have seen a Lovecraft novel once or twice, dabbled in the occult, or played a role playing game. Innocently asking what the Necronomicon is, they become the butt of numerous jokes, get caught in flamewars, and leave their questions mostly unanswered and their information confused and incomplete. I know, because I was once in this predicament. I have since taken the time to research, filled my disk space with other peoples posts and flames, and created this FAQ for the enlightenment of all.
If you have any comments to make, additions to contribute, or corrections to offer, please e-mail me at kendrick+@CMU.EDU. Thanks go out to Thyagi Nagashiva, "Grendel" Al Billings, Colin Low, and Josh Geller of netnews.alt.magick, SemHaza and Lupo from alt.satanism, Marc Carlson, and Issac Truder. Also to anyone out there that helped whom I may have forgotten.
Kendrick Kerwin Chua 22 March 1993 Servant of the Dark Lord, and keeper of the decade.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
[Note: Text within [brackets] indicate text which would normally be placed
in a footnote or a bibliography. However, since this FAQ is most likely going to be read as a text file on some newsreader, footnotes are unwieldly in the extreme. Therefore, all such information will be bracketed and indented like so. Read them or ignore them. KKC]
(1) What is the Necronomicon?
A question not answered easily, quickly, or with any level of assurance. If we may begin at what seems to be the beginning, we will also answer the question:
(1a) Who is H.P. Lovecraft?
In the early 1900's, a man by the name of Howard Phillips Lovecraft lived in New England and struggled with an unsuccessful career as a writer. Living as a bachelor and a recluse most of his life, he tried various occupations, journalism, literary criticism, and editing among them. He finally came upon an enjoyable form of composition, writing horror fiction. Like his hero, Edgar Allen Poe, Lovecraft dreamed of creating worlds of wonder and mystery, and is credited with the creation of the modern mystery format by his student, Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho. While Lovecraft published much of his work, most notably in the magazine "Weird Tales", he died with no critical acclaim, and little recognition by the public. It was much later, after World War II and into our decade, that Lovecraft began to receive the publicity that he deserved as a literary figure. Lovecraft is now noted as the logical successor to Poe, and served as the inspiration for many modern horror authors, including Steven King.
[(1) Most information from Willis Conover's biography of Lovecraft entitled _Lovecraft at Last_. Published by Carrollton-Clark in 1975 in Arlington, Virginia. ISBN 0-915490-02-1. Conover was a publisher who corresponded with Lovecraft during the height of his writing and during his years of illness before he died. KKC]
What made Lovecraft's works different from other pulp fiction was his method of "legitimizing" the stories he told. Devoid of gratuitous splatter violence or adolescent foolishness, Lovecraft mixed ancient mythology and occult literature by real authors with books and theologies of his own devising. He did this so well that in many short stories, one cannot tell the difference between the two without a lifetime's knowledge of the subject. Take the story "The Rats in the Walls", where Lovecraft creates a fictional family history from the Magna Mater cult, or in "The Dunwich Horror", where Lovecraft freely intermingles books like the Malleus Maleficarum with fictional titles like the Book of Eibon or the Vermiis Mysterius.
[(2) This opinion is expounded upon by Robert Bloch in the introduction to the Lovecraft anthology entitled _Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre_. New edition published by Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-345-35080-4. KKC]
One of the titles that Lovecraft freely threw around was Necronomicon. Lovecraft denied that the book existed, and wrote as a joke a paper titled "A History of the Necronomicon", giving a chronology of the book, names, and places. Supposedly, the book was written around A.D. 700 by an arab by the name of Abdul Al-Hazred, and the original title was Al Azif, which is arabic for the sound made by nocturnal insects. Al-Hazred was supposedly better known as "the Mad Arab, and the name of the book is supposedly bastardized greek and latin, which roughly translates into "The Book of Dead Names" (IE ikon=book, Necro=die or dead, and Nom=name). Lovecraft told his colleagues that he stole the name "Al Azif" from another author as a joke, and that the name "Al-Hazred" was a pun on his mother's maiden name, Hazard. (The history is reproduced in the Appendix, in part 3 of the FAQ. The archivist is receiving no monetary gain from the publication of the material in this public format.)
[(3) Again, from Conover's _Lovecraft at Last_. KKC]
From this, we can assume the following: In fiction or in fact, the Necronomicon is a magickal grimiore, or a collection of spells and experiences from the pen of one person, presumably the man called Al-Hazred.
Apparently there are those who believe that Lovecraft lied. Several books are currently in print bearing the title "Necronomicon". But whether or not Lovecraft invented the concept of the Necronomicon, it was he who gave it publicity and notoriety.
(2) Where can I get a copy of the Necronomicon?
Well, it depends on what you are looking for. Several books are on the market now that bear the title Necronomicon:
1) The Necronomicon, by Abdul Al-Hazred
Edited by Simon ISBN 0-380-75192-5 Copyright 1977 by Magickal Childe Publications, New York 1980 by Avon Books, third printing 218 pages, illustrations by Khem Set Rising Standard mass media (paperback) format $5.99 in the U.S.
Published by the same people who produced Anton Lavey's Satanic Bible, this book has little or nothing to do with Lovecraft, but a great deal to do with Sumerian and Assyrian mythology. One-fourth of the book is a large introduction written by Simon that supposedly relates the history and the times of the Necronomicon and of Abdul Al-Hazred. The book seems to be a collection of genuine translations of cuneiform tablets found in Iraq by archaeologists, with the occasional indecipherable line deciphered by Simon, invariably with some reference to Cthulhu or another reference to something vaguely Lovecraftian.
Simon claims that the book was originally written in Greek, and that this volume is not a complete translation, as parts were "purposely left out" for the "safety of the reader".
This book is interesting because of its subtlety in some places, and outright bluntness in others. While Simon attempts in his preface to form a tenuous link between Lovecraft and Aliester Crowley (who never met each other, as far as anyone knows), he dedicates the book in part to a demon named Perdurabo, without telling us who he is. Frater Perdurabo is a name that Crowley adopted for himself, and is a mystical motto of sorts. Also, Simon warns against allowing the text to be used by "novices" in the mystical arts, and the author also states repeatedly something to the effect of "show these words not to the uninitiated". However, neither give any definition of what an expert or an initiate might be. The system of rituals also seems extremely simplistic, compared to, say, the high-complexity of the Golden Dawn system.
On the up side, the book does contain some "real" information, most notably the fifty names of Marduk as archetypes, and an abridged version of the Sumerian creation epic, where Marduk kills Tiamat and creates the earth from her corpse. Also, the symbols and sigils are complex and interesting to look at, and form the basis of a "gate walking" ritual that supposedly takes a full year, and is supposed to raise the user's conciousness to a higher state. This sort of ritual is common to many magickal texts. The text also bears a suspicious resemblance to The History of Babylon by Berosus, which is considerably more credible to historical authorities.
This book was also made available in hardback leatherbound, with silver inlay on the cover. The archivist believes that the print run was about 600, and it was made available in an advertisement in Omni magazine in
1a) The Necronomicon Spellbook, by Simon
ISBN 0-939708-11-6 Copyright 1987 by Magickal Childe Publications 170 pages, paperback $6.95 in the U.S. The Gates of the Necronomicon, by Simon ISBN 0-939708-08-6 $14.95 in the U.S
These two books, essentially repeating the material in the "original" Simon Necronomicon, are Simon's efforts towards fleshing out the vague material he originally put forth in 1977.
The Necronomicon Spellbook, originally entitled Necronomicon Report, is a "simplified" guide towards usage of the fifty names of Marduk in divination and prayer, and contains some interesting insight into the meanings of the names. It is interesting to note that many systems of Magick seem to have some diety upon whom many names are conferred; Egyptian and Greek pantheons come to mind.
The Gates of the Necronomicon is a purported "introduction to the system," which supposedly takes one step by step through each part of the gate walking initiation which is described in the Necronomicon. Supposedly, the ambiguities and unavailability of certain materials which are needed in the rituals are explained away by Simon. The book is currently unavailable from Magickal Childe, presumably because they are working on putting out a second edition. The first edition, which came out in June of 1992, is still available in limited supply at some occult shops.
[(4) These two books are rarer by far than their predecessor. The archivist found the first purely by chance, and has thusfar been unable to find a decent copy of the second. Short of travelling directly to New York and visiting the Magickal Childe shop, you will find these two very difficult to obtain (and if you don't, please do tell us all how you got them). KKC] 2) The Necronomicon, by Colin Wilson et al. Edited by George Hay Copyright 1978 Neville Spearman, London 184 pages, illustrated by Stamp and Turner With about 150 pages of introduction and essay, and about 40 pages of Necronomicon, famed skeptic Colin Wilson gives us the most exhaustive piece of research on how H.P. Lovecraft must have seen the Necronomicon, and evidence for and against the existence of such a book. Wilson calls on the research by Robert Turner and David Langford to form a Necronomicon that they admit freely was fabricated from the works of Lovecraft alone, and seemingly without any real historical base. Notably, Wilson presents a "complete" text on the summoning of Yog-Sothoth and the passage through the gates, the Ibn Ghazi powder, the "adjuration" of Cthulhu, and references to Kadath, Leng, and other names found only in Lovecraft's stories. There is also a poem containing the famous "not dead which eternal lie" couplet.
In toto, the book contains:
A table of working The configuration of planetary and astrological stones to form a circle Four hand signs Ye Elder Sign Ye Sigil of Koth To Compuund Ye Incense of Zkauba To Make Ye Powder of Ibn Ghazi Ye Unction of Khephnes Ye Egyptian To Fashion the Scimitar of Barzai Ye Alphabet of Nug-Soth Ye Voice of Hastur Concerning Nyarlathotep Of Leng in Ye Cold Waste Of Kadath Ye Unknown To Call Forth Yog-Sothoth To Conjure of Ye Globes Ye Adjuration of Great Cthulhu To Summon Shub-Niggurath Ye Black The Talisman of Yhe Ye Formula of Dho-Hna
This book is probably most useful to players of the role playing game "Call of Cthulhu", as it is most faithful to the works of Lovecraft.
[(5) This information owes a great deal to Ashton from the net, who seems to have no last name, but found and bothered to read the book. Apologies, I haven't yet found the ISBN number. KKC]
3) Al Azif: The Necronomicon, by Abdul Al-Hazred
Copyright 1973 by Owlswick Press 196 pages Hardback
This is an interesting book, if for purely aesthetic reasons. It consists of eight pages of simulated Syrian script, repeated over and over 24 times, in a spiffy hardback cover. No notes, no value, makes a great conversation piece.
4) The Necronomicon, by Lyon Sprague DeCamp
Copyright 192x, independently published by the author or The Necronomicon, by W.T. Faraday Copyright 193x, independently published by the author This is the rarest Necronomicon, as only 350 were published, and very few survived a century. According to William Conover's book _Lovecraft at Last_, this text is what prompted Lovecraft to write his "History of the Necronomicon". The cover boldly proclaims to "reveal the secrets of the ancients". Copy #227 is supposedly availble at the University of California at Berkeley.
It is possible that W.T. Faraday is a pseudonym which DeCamp adopted for the purpose of writing a fake Necronomicon. This is not at all unusual; Lovecraft's letters have a perrenial mention of some uninspired librarian asking him where a copy of the Necronomicon could be found, even though Lovecraft publicly denied that the book existed at all. In 1937, the Branford Review, a Maryland newspaper, published a review of the Necronomicon, supposedly "translated from the original Arabic" by Faraday.
The archivist has been unable to find this particular Necronomicon.
Lovecraft purported that the book was inspired by his stories, and that DeCamp and/or Faraday was taking advantage of impressionable and guillible scholars of the occult.
There are also many other books that bear the same title. Modern artist H.R. Giger, of Alien fame, has produced two books of horror art title Necronomicon. There is also a gaming newsletter in the northeast called Necronomicon. There are also many entries in catalogs, library systems, and cross-references to books with the title Necronomicon, most of which are pranks or inside jokes. If anyone does find a significant book titled Necronomicon not in the above list, please e-mail the archivist.
(3) Who is/was Abdul Al-Hazred? Does he exist?
As stated above, Lovecraft created the name as a family joke. His mother's maiden name was Hazard, and taking a common name "Abdul", Lovecraft created the Mad Arab with his scanty knowledge of Arabic nomenclature. Lovecraft had such inside jokes with many of his fictional authors. Comte D'Erlette, author of the fictional Cultes de Goules, was a derivative of the name of Lovecraft's biggest fan, August Derleth. Robert Blake, the writer who was possessed and destroyed by Nylarlathothep in "The Haunter of the Dark," was based on his student Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho.
2) For Real?
Supposedly, Ibn Khallikan was a wandering Arab who ended up in Damascus after witnessing horrible magical rituals since leaving his home on the bank of the Euphrates river sometime in the mid 1200's. He took the name Abdul Al-Azred, which supposedly but erroneously means Servant of God, He Who Knows the Forbidden (or something to that effect). After writing down an incomplete synopsis of everything he learned and saw, he mysteriously vanished, leaving only a thick, 800 page greek text. It is interesting to note that Lovecraft cites Khallikan in his fictional History of the Necronomicon as one of Al-Hazred's biographers.
There is evidence against and for both theories, all of which is too lengthy to include in this already humongous FAQ. But suffice it to say that the above two theories are the prevalent ones, with other minor ones floating around.
[(6) Jason and Laurie Brandt from the University of Oregon are the
main contributors to the extremely abridged text above. KKC]
(4) Who or what is Cthulhu?
Cthulhu is the main character of Lovecraft's masterpiece, "The Call of Cthulhu". Supposedly, in the early days of life on earth, an alien being came to earth and established rule over whatever sentient life was inhabiting earth. However, the lives of Cthulhu and his race are reportedly cyclical, and so at present they are in a hibernation of sorts.
Cthulhu is chief among these entities. Cthulhoid beings resemble a humanoid several hundred feet tall, with a head resembling a squid, claws, and prodigious telepathic capabilities. Supposedly, the cycle is about to end as the 20th century comes to a close, and Cthulhu has maintained a cult of humans to help him return and re-establish his previous rule.
In the Simon Necronomicon, Cthulhu is seen as the great and all-powerful evil that will invade the world with the rest of his "evil" brethren if certain gates are left open or carelessly used. Cthulhu is head of the Ancient Ones, the old gods who were defeated originally by the Elder Gods, who are supposedly the "good guys".
An interesting side note: Kutu is the name of a city in the Sumerian underworld, according to the mythology. Lu is a word in Sumerian which reads as "man", as evidenced by all the Mesopotamian kings whose names were LuGalxxxxx, meaning "Great Man of xxxxx". So KutuLu means man of the underworld. Or so claims Simon, the editor of the Magickal Childe rendering of the Necronomicon.
Those interested should read the netnews.alt.horror.cthulhu FAQ for more information.
(5) What is a Necromicon? Shouldn't it be Necronomicon?
Probably the most frequently asked, see this post from Joshua Geller:
From: email@example.com (Joshua Geller) Subject: Re: Necronomicon FAQ Date: 23 Oct 92 10:11:39 GMT oh shit. due to the fact that I'm at home at 1200 baud and my editor sometimes skips characters under these conditions, this group was created as 'alt.necromicon' rather than 'alt.necronomicon'. I am now going to rmgroup it and newgroup the new one. sorry for any inconvenience. josh
This is the reason for the misspelling. No one has created a new group with the correct spelling as of yet, due to the low volume of messages on netnews.alt.necromicon.
(6) Does the Necronomicon really exist?
Reference this question to five years of e-mail and dozens of flamewars. I respectfully submit instead this post from Thyagi Nagashiva (and withdraw any official opinion)....
9210.16 e.v. Liber Grimoiris The Parallels of East and West: Termas, Grimoires and The Necronomicon By Frater I Nigris (666) (aka Thyagi Nagashiva) Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. The word of Sin is Restriction.
[... text deleted ...]
In the west such texts have sometimes been attributed to God or to a person who had an experience attributed to God (The Revelation of St. John, for example). In orthodox religion they are called 'revelations'. In heretical or 'occult' traditions they are called 'grimoires'. More often than not they are said to be of ancient or mystically powerful origin. As Richard Cavendish explains in The Black Arts, 1967, Putnam: "...the writers of old grimoires, or magical textbooks, which instruct the reader in methods of calling up evil spirits, killing people, causing hatred, and destruction or forcing women to submit to him in love, did not think of themselves as black magicians. On the contrary, the grimoires are packed with prayers to God and the angels, fastings and self-mortifications and ostentatious piety. The principal process in the Grimoire of Honorius, which is usually considered the most diabolical of them all, overflows with impassioned and perfectly sincere appeals to God and devout sayings of the Mass. It also involves tearing out the eyes of a black cock and slaughtering a lamb, and its purpose is to summon up the Devil." p. 3.
Cavendish confines his writings about 'grimoires' here to those which are intended to aid the adept in summoning demonic entities, descriptions complete with bodily movements and 'barbarous names' of evocation. It seems that many such texts are in existence, having survived the ravages of an orthodox fear, yet not all of them concern this subject. When looking at the origin of grimoires and termas, what is being cited as their 'source' (e.g. 'Abraham the Jew', the source of The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage; or 'Aiwaz/Aiwass', the source/channel of The Book of the Law) is a certain state of consciousness. Whether this state of consciousness is in some way related to any historical or extra-terrestrial figure I leave to the discernment of the reader. Given all this, there is no reason why a text could not be referred to ahead of time by its source, the 'intended' recipient, or a knowledgeable or intuitive third party. The state of consciousness is there to experience by those with the courage and ability. The scripture will be received by the adept in any case, and there is no reason why more than one copy of said text could not be obtained, though individual minds being what they are it will most likely be a different 'version'. Perhaps this is the reason that the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John differ as much as they do. THE NECRONOMICON When we then turn to the text referred to as The Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft, we are hard-pressed to render a 'verdict' as to its legitimacy. If indeed the text preceded Lovecraft, then this does not guarantee that it has come down to us unedited. If the idea and title were used by Lovecraft as a result of suggestions from others without an extant text, then perhaps its 'source consciousness' hid the text until a later time. If Lovecraft fabricated even the IDEA of the tome along with its title, then perhaps he was simply a 'third party' to a state of consciousness which we may never assess. The writing of this tome at ANY time after Lovecraft's fabrication, in the special context of termas and grimoires, does nothing to disprove its value or its origin. Just because Lovecraft was perceptive enough to imagine such a text, this does not mean that it did not exist in some fashion (be it within or WITHOUT the dimension we call 'earth'). The ONLY means of evaluating the various versions of The Necronomicon, therefore, is in comparison with Lovecraft's writings and through personal experience of the tome in question. Given sufficient qualification and connection, the adept may then be able to analyze the contents of the version in question and discern whether it represents a clear reflection of the source consciousness. Two points regarding even this method must be understood. First, Lovecraft's own ideas about the text may have been faulty. Therefore, his description in his writings regarding the text are questionable. One can only say, given that one feels a specific version of the text varies from Lovecraft's description yet represents a valid grimoire, that these two 'Necronomicons' are different and possibly of different origin. Second, ALL such evaluations are subjective and therefore deserve the skepticism of other students. We can not arrive at 'objective knowledge' about this, and thus no review can be considered absolute in its authority. Certainly some adepts' opinions may be accepted over others by the researcher, but even this is a personal preference and cannot constitute the final word in the matter. Therefore, regardless of the history or origin of The Necronomicon, whether or not Lovecraft fabricated it or reflected it in some way, all claims that writings entitled The Necronomicon are useless or based in ignorance must be taken in context - as personal opinions. Those who pass such judgements make a claim to adeptship themselves in order to perform such an evaluative role. Unless we can vouch for the ability and awareness of those who do the reviewing, it is a mistake to take them too seriously. The best means of evaluating grimoires and termas is personally, and only then after taking steps to develop our mind to such an extent that exposure to their occulted energies will not also expose us to danger or in some way disclose that for which we are unprepared. Some grimoires, it is said, can NEVER be prepared for in this way and have powerful effects upon ALL those with sufficient perception to comprehend their horrible secrets. In the realms of consciousness, 'time' and the 'transmission of teachings' are not the simple concepts that many would have us believe. Be warned that some who 'approve' or 'contest' the validity of a scripture are either myopic or have political goals - the enslavement of your mind!
[(7) Many thanks for the opinions and the information that Thyagi has provided. KKC]
(7) What is the Voynich Manuscript?
The Voynich was first connected to the Necronomicon in Colin Wilson's short story, "Return of the Lloigor", written in the style of Lovecraft. In short, the Voynich is an encoded text accompanied by botanical illustrations and pictures of nudes, all scribbled in some unknown alphabet by an unknown author, perhaps the unseen Abdul Al-Hazred. It could be either a magickal grimiore or a gardening guide, because no one has come up with a definitive crack of the cipher, if it even is a cipher and not just random scrawling. Those who have access to internet should check out internet.voynich for more information.
[(8) Thanks to Karl Kluge from CMU. KKC]
(8) Where can I find more information?
Well, there's this nifty bibliography that Laurie Brandt posted several times:
From: JBrandt@AAA.Uoregon.edu (Laurie E. W. Brandt (Pegasus)) Subject: Bib necro Date: 3 Nov 1992 06:07:53 GMT
Selected Bibliography Albright, W. F. "The Anatolian Goddes Kubaba" Archive fur Orientforschung, V(1929). Berosus .History of Babylon. ca 280 B. C. E. Calder, W. M. "Notes on Anatolian Religion" Journal of the Manchester Egyptian and Oriental Society, XI(1924). Cameron, George. G. Ancient Persia in .The Idea of History in the Ancient Near East. p. 77-97. Cassuto, U. .The Goddess Anath. Jerisalem, The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1971. Crem, C. W. .The Secret of the Hittietes the Discovery of an Ancient Empire. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1955. Cumont, F. .Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism. New York, NY: Dover,
Denton, Robert C. ed. .The Idea of History in the Ancient Near East. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1955. Engnell, Ivan .Studies in Divine Kingship in the Ancient Near East. Uppsala, 1945. Farnell, Lewis R. . Greece and Babylon: A Comparative Sketch of Mesopotamian, Anatolian and Hellenic Religions. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1911. Frankfort, Henri .Cylinder Seals: A Documentary Essay on the Art & Religion on the Ancient Near East. London, Gregg International, 1939. --- ed. .The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man: an Essay on Speculitive Thought in the Ancient Near East. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1946. ---.Kingship and the Gods: A Study of Near Eastern Religion as the Intergration of Society & Nature. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press,
Furlani, G. "The Basic Aspect of Hittite Religion" Harvard Theological Review XXXI (1938). Gadd, C. J. .Ideas of Divine rule in the Ancient Near East. London, British Academy 1948. (Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology Series, 1945). Garstang, John "The Sun Goddess of Arinna" Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology VI (1914). Gotze, Albrecht .The Hittite Ritual of Tunnawi. New Haven CT: American Oriental Society, 1938. Gurney, O. R. "Hittite Prayers of Mursilis II" Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology XXVII (1940). Guterbock, H. G. "The Hittite version of the Kumarbi Myths, Oriental Forerunners of Hesiod" American Journal of Archaeology LII(1948). ---. "The Song of Ullikummi" Journal of Cuneiform Studies 5(1951), 6(1952). Harpper, R. F. .The Code of Hammurabi. Chicago 1904. Hook, Samuel Henery. Myth and Ritual. Oxford, 1933. ---. The Origins of Early Semitic Ritual. London, British Academy 1938. (Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology Series, 1935). ---. ed. Myth, Ritual and Kingship. Oxford, 1958. ---. Babylonian and Assyrian Religion. Oxford, 1962. Jastrow, M. .Babylonian -Assyrian Birth Omens. Giessen, 1914. King, L. W. .Babylonian Magic and Sorcery. London, 1896 ---. Chronicles concerning Early Babylonian Kings. London, 1907 ---. A History of Babylon. London, 1915. ---. A History of Sumer and Akkad. London, 1910. ---. Legends of Babylon and Egypt in Relation to Hebrew Tradition. London, British Academy 1918. (Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology Series,
Kramer, Samuel Noah ed. Mythologies of the Ancient World. New York,NY: Doubleday 1961. ---. History Begins at Sumer, Thirty Nine "Firsts" Man's Recorded History. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1959. --- .Sumerian Mythology: A Study of Spirtual and Literary Achievement in in the Third Millennium B. C. . Philadelphia, 1944. Langdon, Stephen Hurbert Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars. London, 1935. (Schweich Lectures, 1933). ---. The Legend of Etana and the Eagle. Paris 1932. .Semitic. Volume V of Mythology of All Races. Archaeological Institute of America Boston, Marshall Jones and Co. 1916- 1932. Loftus, William Kennett .Travels and Researches in Chaldea and Susiana; with an account of excavations at Warka, the "Erech" of Nimrod, and Shus, "Shushan the Place" of Esher, in 1849-52. New York, NY: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1857. LOragne, H. P. .Studies on The Iconography of Cosmic Kingship in the Ancient World. Oslo: Institutte for Sammenlignende Kulturforskning, 1953. Pallis, Svend. A. The Babylonian Akitu Festival. Ancient Mesopotamian Texts and Studies, Copenhagen, 1926. Pfeiffer, R. H. .State Letters of Assyria. New Haven, CT: 1935 Pritchard, James B. Ed. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Princeton, New Jersy: Princeton, 1950. Ransome, Hilda M. .Sacred Bee in Ancient times and Folklore. London, Gordon Press 1937. Smith, Sidney. The Early History of Assyria. London 1928. Thompson, Reginald Campbell trans. The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia. London, Luzac's Semitic Text & Translation Ser Nos 14-15,
---. Semitic Magic Its Origins & Development. London 1908. ---. The Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Niveveh and Babylon. London, Luzac's Semitic Text & Translation Ser Nos 6-7, 1900. Speiser, E.A. Ancient Mesopotamia; in .The Idea of History in the Ancient Near East. p.34-76 Spretnak, Charlene .Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Per-Hellenic Myths. Boston: Beacon Press, 1978. Wells C. Bradford, E.A. The Hellenistic Orient; in .The Idea of History in the Ancient Near East. p.135-167. Wilson, J. V. K. .The Rebel Lands: An Investigation into the Origins of Early Mesoptamian Mythology. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press,
Wolkstine, Diana and S. N. Kramer .Inanna Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer. New York: Harper and Row, 1983. Wooley, C. Leonard "Hittite Burial Customs" Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology VI (1914).
Also, there are FAQ's on several newsgroups that mention the Necronomicon and give additional information, including
netnews.alt.horror netnews.alt.horror.cthulhu netnews.alt.magick netnews.alt.satanism internet.voynich
Also, various authors and magazine articles have been published on the subject, too numerous to list here. This FAQ along with the rest, should give you a fairly complete base of information on which to form an opinion, if any.
(1)History of the Necronomicon, by H.P. Lovecraft, written in 1937 with footnotes and references by Kendrick Kerwin Chua, 1993
Original title Al-Azif -- azif being the word used by the Arabs to designate that nocturnal sound (made by insects) supposed to be the howling of daemons.
Composed by Abdul Al-Hazred, a mad poet of Sanaa, in Yemen, who is said to have flourished during the period of the Ommiade caliphs, circa 700 A.D. He visited the ruins of Babylon and the subterranean secrets of Memphis and spent ten years alone in the great southern desert of Arabia - the Roba al Khaliyeh, or "Empty Space" of the ancients and "Dahma" or "Crimson" desert of the modern Arabs, which is held to be inhabited by protective evil spirits and monsters of death. Of this desert many strange and unbelievable marvels are told by those who pretend to have penetrated it. In his last years, Al-Hazred dwelt in Damascus, where the Necronomicon (Al Azif) was written, and of his final death or disappearnce (738 A.D.) many terrible and conflicting things are told. He is said by Ebn Khallikan (12th century biographer) to have been siezed by an invisible monster in broad daylight and devoured horribly before a large number of fright-frozen witnesses. Of his madness many things are told. He claimed to have seen the fabulous Irem, or City of Pillars, and to have found beneath the ruins of a certain nameless desert town the shocking annals and secrets of a race older than mankind. He was only an indifferent Moslem, worshipping unknown dieties whom he called Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu.
[(9) Note already how Lovecraft skirts the fine line between campy parody and seriousness. In _Lovecraft at Last_, Conover writes that Lovecraft wrote the history in order to allow people with any understanding of Arab studies to see through the mock scholarship. Note also the inconsistencies here with the description of Al-Hazred in the Simon Necronomicon. Al-Hazred there supposedly witnessed the horrible rituals at Masshu, a mythical island at the mouth of the Euphrates upon which Utnapishtim, the Babylonian Noah, supposedly still resides today. Whereas Lovecraft describes the Crimson Desert as the place where Al-Hazred witnessed much of what he wrote down. Note also that in the Simon version, Al-Hazred warns against worshipping "Iak-Sakkak" and "Kutulu", whereas Lovecrafts claims he did just that. Note also the improper use of the A.D. prefix until the next paragraph. KKC ]
In A.D. 950 the Azif, which had gained a considerable though surreptitious circulation amongst the philosphers of the age, was secretly translated into Greek by Theodorus Philetas of Constantinople under the title Necronomicon.
[(10) Another inconsistency. Simon claims that Al-Hazred rendered the Necronomicon in Greek first, rather than Arabic. KKC]
For a century it impelled certain experimenters to terrible attempts, when it was suppressed and burnt by the partiarch Michael. After this it is only heard of furtively, but (1228) Olaus Wormius made a Latin translation later in the Middle Ages, and the Latin text was printed twice - once in the 15th century in blackletter (evidently in German) and once in the 17th (probably Spanish); both editions being without identifying marks, and located as to time and place by internal typographic evidence only.
[(11) Interesting to note that Lovecraft does not say outright that someone in our time had apparently found and identified these renditions of the book. KKC]
The work, both Latin and Greek, was banned by Pope Gregory IX in 1232, shortly after its Latin translation, which called attention to it.
[(12) The archivist has thusfar been unable to find Al Azif, Necronomicon, or anything even remotely similar on any of the forbidden book lists of the era. But do consider that paper records from the 13th century are incomplete and unpreserved, to say the least. KKC]
The Arabic original was lost as early as Wormius' time, as indicated by his prefatory note (there is, however, a vague account of a secret copy appearing in San Francisco during the present century but later perishing by fire); and no sight of the Greek copy - which was printed in Italy between 1500 and 1550 - has been reported since the burning of a certain Salem man's library in 1692.
[(13) Again, Simon claims to have translated a Greek edition. KKC]
An English translation made by Dr. [John] Dee was never printed, and exists only in fragments recovered from the original MS.
[(14) An internal Lovecraft inconsistency. In his short story _The Dunwich Horror_, the old wizard called Whately utilizes a Dee translation of the Necronomicon in order to produce children for Yog-Sothoth. A complete listing of John Dee's books reveals none titled Necronomicon. KKC]
Of the Latin texts now existing one (15th century) is known to be in the British Museum under lock and key, which another (17th century) is in the Bilbiotheque Nationale at Paris. A 17th century edition is in the Widener Library at harvard, and in the Library of Miskatonic University at Arkham; also in the library of the University of Buenos Ayres.
[(15) Other than the Harvard copy, which the archivist knows for sure does not exist, and the fact that Miskatonic University is totally fictional, I cannot say with absolute certainty that the other locations Lovecraft lists do not have some copy of a book they may call the Necronomicon. Interested parties may contact the archivist to confirm or deny posession of the book, if they wish. KKC]
Numerous other copies probably exist in secret, and a 15th century one is persistently rumoured to form part of the collection of a celebrated American millionaire. A still vaguer rumor credits the preservation of a 16th century Greek text in the Salem family of Pickman; but if it was so preserved, it vanished with the artist R.U. Pickman , who disappeared early in 1926. The book is rigidly suppressed by the authorities of most countries, and by all branches of ornaised ecclesiasticism. Reading leads to terrible consequences. It was from rumours of this book (of which relatively few of the general public know) that R.W. Chambers is said to have derived the idea of his early novel "The King in Yellow".
[(16) Much of the latter part of this paragraph is in fact derived from Lovecraft's own short stories, most notably _The Picture in the House_, which featured the sadistic Robert Pickman character. Also, Lovecraft repeatedly cites Chambers' book as *his* main inspiration. KKC]
(2) An abridged pantheon of the mythos
The format of this section is as follows: LOVECRAFTIAN NAME, Simon name: Brief description in prose.
CTHULHU, Kutulu: The ancient entity which is currently hibernating on the ocean floor in the sunken city of R'lyeh (or Urillia). Cthulhu has supposedly maintained a cult of human beings which will assist him when he awakens from slumber, in order to reclaim the earth and establish whatever civilisation existed when Cthulhu first arrived on the earth eons ago. In the Simon Necronomicon, Kutulu is mentioned in the creation epic, where other translators have failed.
YOG-SOTHOTH, Iak-Sakkak: A whirling mass of gelatinous spheres, Yog-Sothoth is the entity who is "keeper of the gate and the key". In simple terms, evoking his powers allows one to travel great distnaces in spirit and body. Some believe that his name it derivative of Set or Seth.
AZATHOTH, Azag-Thoth: The blind mad god, Azathoth is supposedly a very old diety who is essentially nothing but an energy repository. In Lovecraft's stories, when Azathoth was summoned he grew exponentially in size and volume until he was sent back to wherever he came from. Simon claims that his name is derivative of the Egyptian Thoth, and is a lord of magicians.
NYARLATHOTHEP: An Egyptian god who is supposedly a messenger and an executioner. Nyarlathothep was supposedly responsible for many of the demon and devil sightings during the Middle Ages and during the Salem witch trials. He has no counterpart in the Simon Necronomicon.
Marduk: Head of the Igigi, or "good guy" gods, Marduk was the son of Enki, and was responsible for defeating the evil ancient gods and creating the earth and mankind. The story rendered by Simon is consistent with most translations of the cuneiform tablets by other authorities. He has no counterpart in Lovecraft.
Tiamat: The Mother goddess, Tiamat was the origin of all the other gods. She fashioned a copious number of monsters to fight Marduk before she was dismembered and recycled into what we now call the earth, according to the Sumerian mythology. She has no counterpart in Lovecraft.
This is all I could think of for right now. If anyone thinks that any other diety belongs in this short list, please e-mail the archivist.
(3) Miscellaneous useful information.
Magickal Childe Incorporated 35 West 19th Street New York, NY 10011
Carrollton - Clark Publishers 9122 Rosslyn Arlington, VA 22209
Avon Books, a division of the Hearst Company 105 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10016