The Lesser Key of Solomon  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Lesser Key of Solomon or Clavicula Salomonis (the Clavis Salomonis, or Key of Solomon is an earlier book on the subject), is an anonymous 17th-century grimoire, and one of the most popular books of demonology. It has also long been widely known as the Lemegeton.

History

It appeared in the 17th century, but much was taken from texts of the 16th century, including the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, by Johann Weyer, and late-medieval grimoires. It is likely that books by Jewish kabbalists and Muslim mystics were also inspirations. Some of the material in the first section, concerning the summoning of demons, dates to the 14th century or earlier.

The book claims that it was originally written by King Solomon, although this is certainly incorrect. The titles of nobility (such as the French Marquis or Germanic Earl) assigned to the demons were not in use in his time, nor were the prayers to Jesus and the Christian Trinity included in the text (Solomon's birth predated Jesus Christ's birth by more than 900 years).

The Lesser Key of Solomon contains detailed descriptions of spirits and the conjurations needed to invoke and oblige them to do the will of the conjurer (referred to as the "exorcist"). It details the protective signs and rituals to be performed, the actions necessary to prevent the spirits from gaining control, the preparations prior to the invocations, and instructions on how to make the necessary instruments for the execution of these rituals.

The several original copies extant vary considerably in detail and in the spellings of the spirits' names. Contemporary editions are widely available in print and on the Internet.

The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis Regis) is a 1904 translation of the text by Samuel Mathers and Aleister Crowley. It is essentially a manual that purports to give instructions for summoning 72 different spirits.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Lesser Key of Solomon" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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