MS. Description and Content

Liber sacer or Liber juratus [council of necromancers; necromancy].
late fourteenth or early fifteenth century

Postby John J. Coughlin » Tue May 18, 2004 2:20 pm


Sloane MS 313 (late fourteenth or early fifteenth century). This manuscript is known to have been in the collection of John Dee, and contains marginal notes in his handwriting. The title in the catalog reads simply "Tract on Magic.", or "Salomonis opus sacrum ab Honorio ordinatum, tractatus de arte magica"


Shelf Mark: London, British Library, Sloane 313

Author(s): Solomon; Honorius; Ben Johnson (1573-1637), owner.

Title(s): Liber sacer or Liber juratus

Date: s. xvi. (Ays. lists as xiv as does anonymous catologue.)

Language(s): Latin

Size/Material: Quarto, ff26, parchment. Mutilated.

Foliation: iii+26+iii There was an old foliation and codex has been rearranged. ff 1-8 foliated 9-16; ff 9-16, 1-8; ff 17-25, as they should be.

Collation: 1-3[8] 4[5] (first 3 are only fragments at spine) This based on catchwords on f. 16v, 24v, and 8v indicating original collation in quires of 8.

Written Space: 120*180mm.

Binding: 19th c. re-bound and reconstructed.

Description: Liber sacer or Liber juratus [council of necromancers; necromancy]. 26 fols.
Salomonis opus sacrum ab Honorico ordinatum, tractatus de arte magica; folia sic in ordinem redigenda 9-16, 1-8, 17. Incomplete version. Only gets to second section.
Inipit prologus, "cum convenissent maligni spiritus."
Desninit prologus, "ob hanc causam librum istum vocitamus juratum.... In nomine igitur omnipotens Dei vivi et veri Ego Honorius opera Salamonis in libro modo taliter ordinavi quam praemisi 92 capitula, ut pateant clarius quae sequuntur."
Incipit liber, "Nos igitur cum divino adjutorio praecepta Salamonis."
[Ays. lists as:
Fragmentum magicum voc. opus sacrum. In perg. S. xiv. In folio primo script. est, "Sum Ben Jonsonii liber."] This note now on f 9r, see file.

History: William of Auvergne refered to the liber sacer as a "cursed and execrable book". de legibus, caps. 24 and 27. (T 2, 281). This copy once property of Ben Johnson.

Bibliography: Thorndike II, 281, 286, 284; notes "Necromancy" Ayscough, S. A catalogue of the MSS preserved in the BM hitherto undescribed" London 1782. p. 880 MFM IMS Z 6621 .B84 A9 Not in Ker. For a discussion of the Books of Ben Johnson see the edition by Percy and Simpson vol I, 250-71 and vol XI, 593-603. A.N.L. Munby, "The Libraries of English Men of Letters," in Essays and Papers ed. and intr. by Nicolas Barker (London: The Scholar Press, 1977), pp. 101-120.

Origin: England
John J. Coughlin
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