Friday, July 3, 2009

Some Weird and Rare Book's I Own Vol. 3

I decided I ought to live up to the esoteric claim on my banner just a little bit and do a post on the weird again, partly because I couldn't think of a post for tonight and also because there is no end to the weird in my library.

The Necronomicon: The Book of Dead Names, edited by George Hay
Let me start by saying, I was deceived. I thought when I found this at a rare book dealer that I was getting an actual historical analysis on the Necronomicon. If you have heard of it before, either through the work's of H.P. Lovecraft or possibly through the movies=Army of Darkness or Evil Dead, you may be thinking well of course it's not real. I thought what I had from a quick perusal WAS a historical analysis by a number of writers and scholars about the possibility of a real Necronomicon. In depth articles about H.P. Lovecraft's father being a member of the mysterious Egyptian Freemasonry (as opposed to the more common Scottish Rite per-se) tantalized my imagination. I wanted to believe.
Alas it was not true, convincing as it was, it was written as a lark, a fake, just to have fun. Ah well- still interesting reading for old pulp-fiction style horror. Supposedly the real thing was translated by Dr. John Dee, Queen Elizabeth's court magician, from the Arabic. Written originally by the mad Arab El Hazzared, who was also known as the Old Man of the Mountains or King of Assassin's during the crusades.
Though fiction, the book is somewhat hard to find. published in the U.K. 1978

The Key of Solomon the King, translated by S. Liddel MacGregor Mathers
This is one of the most famous or infamous books on magic. MacGregor Mathers prepared this edition in 1889, from seven manuscripts believed to have originally been written by King Solomon. This is almost certainly untrue but they were written at least in the middle ages by practitioners of Kabbalistic magic. I find the whole thing interesting for the sake of understanding the mystical alphabets of the Hermetics and why I originally bought the book = = = the proper way to make magical medallions/talismans.
No I have not made any.
I found that subject of interest because (for my LDS readers) Joseph Smith used to have a magical talisman of Jupiter. This is well established and I am not throwing kindling to the anti's. It is just a curiosity that I wanted to research more about.
Ages ago, a girl I knew somewhat said "I never go out on a date with anyone, unless they can tell me something I didn't know about Joseph Smith." I had not asked her out-nor was I planning too-but just because she said that I replied "Well he wore a magical talisman of Jupiter."
Needless to say she didn't believe that, because no one ever told her that in Seminary. Oh well.
Dan Brown's first working title on his upcoming book was 'The Key of Solomon' now it's just 'The Lost Symbol' Is it going to relate back to the Key of Solomon? Probably. Will he have a hackneyed plot again with problems a fourth grader could figure out? Probably. Will I read it? Probably, just not the hardback.

Caesar's Gallic War, by Julius Caesar, published by Scott, Foresman and Co. 1907
When I found this I was stoked. I've been wanting to read Caesar's journals about his campaign. I have greatly enjoyed other military journals-Patton, Rommel, Sun-Tzu, Skorzeny, Guderian, Marcinko, Suvorov, Plaster, and many more. So I was excited to read more ancient type journals (Xenophon, Herodtus, Josephus, Ibn-Fadlan) and I read that Caesar's actually mentioned two of the main characters in HBO's ROME. I have only seen a few episodes but I liked it for its George R.R. Martinesque ways. Brought it home cracked it open and its all in Latin. My Latin is very poor. So it sat on the shelf until I found an English translation last week. Now its on the sidebar.

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