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  • Ashlyn Drewek

WTF are those pages in Malum?

Aside from the family trees and Tybalt quotes, there are some other interesting pages at the beginning of Malum Discordiae. But... what are they?

Those, my friends, are not the random scribblings of my little gremlin. They're actual pages taken from a real Necromancer's manual dated to 15th century Germany that I included because I thought it would be a) cool AF and b) a nice way to pay homage to historical Necromancers.

While it's not a working grimoire like most people associate with magic practitioners, it is a compilation of spells and rituals that circulated in the medieval world, straddling the religious/magical line that can be rather confusing to modern society. The unknown author appears to be linked to a lower order of the clergy, given his somewhat shaky use of Latin, but much of the manual's history can only be guessed at, especially considering there are missing folios.

Sound familiar...? This was one of many examples I used for the Corbins' Book of Lazarus, where folios were either deliberately or accidentally removed from the main manuscript for reasons we can only speculate. The best book on the history of grimoires is, hands down, Owen Davies' Grimoires: A History of Magic Books. Linked below.*

The manual is currently preserved in the Bavarian State Library under the lackluster title "Clm 849." If you want to read it for yourself, you're in luck! Historian Richard Kieckhefer thoroughly examined Clm 849 and reproduced it for modern audiences along with his scholarly analysis and translations. It's been scanned into the Internet Archive, which you can read for free OR you can purchase your own copy. I'm linking to Amazon for ease of use, but I'm in no way affiliated and I know the book is available with other retailers.

The complete title is:

Forbidden Rites A Necromancer's Manual Of The Fifteenth Century ( Magic In History) by Richard Kieckhefer

The blurb for Forbidden Rites:

Preserved in the Bavarian State Library in Munich is a manuscript that few scholars have noticed and that no one in modern times has treated with the seriousness it deserves. Forbidden Rites consists of an edition of this medieval Latin text with a full commentary, including detailed analysis of the text and its contents, discussion of the historical context, translation of representative sections of the text, and comparison with other necromantic texts of the late Middle Ages. The result is the most vivid and readable introduction to medieval magic now available.
Like many medieval texts for the use of magicians, this handbook is a miscellany rather than a systematic treatise. It is exceptional, however, in the scope and variety of its contents―prayers and conjurations, rituals of sympathetic magic, procedures involving astral magic, a catalogue of spirits, lengthy ceremonies for consecrating a book of magic, and other materials.
With more detail on particular experiments than the famous thirteenth-century Picatrix and more variety than the Thesaurus Necromantiae ascribed to Roger Bacon, the manual is one of the most interesting and important manuscripts of medieval magic that has yet come to light.

*And for those who are interested, here is a link to Owen Davies' Grimoires on Amazon. Again, no affiliation, it just seems to be an easy/universal source.

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