Tuesday, February 20, 2007

History of the Necronomicon

Here are images of the rare commemorative of 1938.

This, seen for auction, is allegedly the original "History of the Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft" published by Wilson Shepherd of the Rebel Press, Oakman, Alabama, (1938). Limited Memorial Edition.

This piece is described as a single sheet folded to make four pages.

Only 80 copies were printed. (It is #I-A-13-a in the S.T. Joshi Lovecraft biblio. )

Below, is an image of the Necronomicon Press facsimile edition of "A History...", 1st printing, July 1980.

The text of this piece will be entered in comment below.

1 comment:

Chris Perridas said...

The history of this legendary book full of secrets, that offered a basis to further thoughts for lots of scientists of demonism and whose origin led to numerous speculations, will be analyzed in the following text.

The “Necronomicon” appeared in many texts written by the author H.P. Lovecraft, though it´s origin was never clearly described and only some indications reveal the haze of ignorance. Seekers in research may feel supported by the, here provided, history-sketch of the book “Necronomicon”.

The history of the Necronomicon


The original title Al Azif-Azif was used by the Arabian people to describe the sounds of night (caused by insects) which where interpreted as demonic howls and cries.

The book was written by Abdul Alhazred, a strange to crazy poet who lived in Sanna in Jemen. It is told that he was most famous in the time of Ommiade-Kaliphen. (about 700 after Chr.) Abdul Alhazred visited the ruins of Babylon as well as the mysterious and secret places under the earth of Memphis. He spent ten years of his life wandering through the lonelyless of the South Arabic desert. (named as „Roba El Kahliyeh“ or „empty place “ by the old Arabs, „Dahna“ or karminred desert by the modern Arabs) The desert was said to be protected by devilish, evil ghosts and monsters causing nothing but fear and death among humans. Some people, in pretending they had conquered the lonely land, were telling more than one unbelievable, queer story about the secret desert. The last years of his life Alhazred spent in Damaskus, the place where he gave birth to the book “Necronomicon” (AL AZIF) and where, until his death or disappearence in 738 after Chr. a large number of terrible and conflicting legends were told about his personality. Following the words of Ebn Khallikan (12. Jh. after Chr.) the poet was gripped by an invisible monster and devoured in front of a large crowd of citizens who all were more or less motionless in a state of shock. Sagas about his madness spread out in many directions. He himself pretended to have found the legendary „Irem“ also called the City of columns and furthermore – in the ruins of a special, nameless city - to have discovered the scary secret and history of a race, older than any trace of human development. Abdul Alhazred was an unfaithful moslem, but admiring unknown, spiritual powers which he called Yog-Sethoth or Cthulhu.

In the year 950 after Chr. the Azif, under the name “Necronomicon” was in secret translated into Greek language by Theodorus Philetas from Konstantinopel. Before this the book had already celebrated a great success as it was beeing read by some philosophers, although this was not known by the public. During one century it lead to terrible experiments done by special fellows of that era until it was forbidden and finally destroyed by the patriarch Michael. After that the book fell into oblivion until the late middle-age (1228) when it was translated into Latin by Olaus Wormius. The Latin version was printed two times. Once in the 15th century using gothic letters (appearently in Germany) and another time in the 17th century (probably in Spain). Both versions do not have any signs of identification.
Short after the publication of the latin translation which caused great rumour and interest, the Latin as well as the Greek version of the book were banished by pope Gregor IX in 1232. As Olaus Wormius explained in his introduction the Arabic original had already disappeared in his era. (the few editions found in the Los Angeles of the last century were destroyed in a fire). The Greek edition, printed in Italy between 1500 and 1550, has not been seen since 1692 when the library where the book was stored and whose owner was a special Saleniman, catched fire.
A translation of Dr. Dee has never been printed and exists only in fragments, reconstructed out of his manuskript. About the Latin texts is known that one of them (15th century) is stored in the British Museum, another in the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris. Further editions of the book can be found in the Widener Library in Harvard, the Miskathonic University in Arkham and in the library of the university of Buenos Aires. One edition of the 15th century is said to be part of a collection whose owner is a celebrated, american millionaire. Probably other copies are existing in secret.

Another rumour heard more seldom is that the family Pickman from Salem has owned a Greek edition out of the 16th century. This version disappeared in connection to the artist R.U. Pickman in 1926. Meanwhile the book is standing on the index of most countries. Reading it has terrible consequences. More in secret people say that R.W. Chambers had the idea to his early novel „The King in Yellow“ out of the “Necronomicon” book which is known just by very few people. Chronology

One – Al Azif circa 730 after Chr. is written by Abdul Alhazred in Damaskus

Two – under the name Necronomicon the book is translated into Greek language by Theodorus Philetas in 950 after Chr.

Three – Greek edition is banished by patriarch Michael in 1050, Arabic text gets lost

Four – Olaus Wormius translates the Greek version into Latin in 1228

Five – Both versions are forbidden by Gregor IX in 1232

Six – 14..? Gothic version is printed in Germany

Seven – 15..? Greek version is printed in Italy

Eight – 16..? Spanish translation of the Latin version

Quelle: Azathoth - Suhrkamp - H.P. Lovecraft u.a.
History of the Necronomicon – The Rebel Press – W. H. Shepherd


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