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Comments on the Necronomicon

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Subject: Comments on the Necronomicon
  Excepted from Babyloniana by Kalyn Tranquilson
   The Necronomicon (by "Simon") has little or nothing to do with
   authentic Babylonian -- Akkadian or Sumerian -- ritual or magical
   practices. However, some comments about the text "edited" by
   Simon might be in order.
   First of all, it is clear that Simon had access to a wide variety
   of mythological materials derived from the Cuneiform culture. I
   am not convinced that this text had an earlier history before
   it's copyright date, but even by the early years of this century
   several of the important texts of the Mesopotamian corpus were
   becoming available. As evident from his bibliographies and
   assorted references, Simon had access to some of these works. But
   he also had a point to prove, and an agenda which distorted the
   information he provides. His work suffers from a total lack of
   acknowledgment of the difference between the Akkadian and
   Sumerian terms and names. He also makes some extremely untenable
   historical assertions, such as that the Surmerian language is
   "closely allied to that of the Aryan race, having in fact many
   words identical to that of Sanskrit (and it is said, to
   Chinese.)" [p.xviii]
   A detailed analysis follows:
  The Introductory Materials (p.vii - lvi)
   This is the only section Simon claims as his own; it is a
   hodgepodge of information of various qualities of accuracy. On
   the whole, his Mesopotamian references suffer from a lack of
   responsible checking. Simon appears to be a person who had a good
   idea (the Sumerian and Akkadian material was essentially unknown
   outside of a very limited scholastic community until very
   recently), but was unwilling to do the work to do it right, and
   was afraid to take direct credit. An example of the naivet of his
   work can be seen in the massive jumps from culture to culture.
   Yet at the same time he provides some interesting, perhaps even
   useful, information on Sumerian terms (see p.xlix). His most
   glaring problem is his linguistic jumps. As one example among
   many, his equation of Lovecraft's deity Cthulhu (derived from the
   Greek 'cthone') to the Sumerians through the name of Ereskigal's
   city Kutha: thus, he says, KUTHA-LU [sic] means "man of Kutha":
   the proper term in Sumerian would be rendered LU-KUTHA. He also
   makes a connection between Kutha and Kutu, two completely
   different cities and terms, and between Kutha, the ABSU (Enki's
   realm), the NAR MARRATU (which is the marshy area at the junction
   between the Persian Gulf and the three rivers) and the Greek
   'abyss'. While there is something that can be said about the ABSU
   and the Abyss -- both being the dark preformative world which
   exists alongside the mundane world, however, the Abyss is simply
   a void which is total and independent, whereas the ABSU is a real
   realm located between the Earth and the Netherworld. The
   Sumerians knew the difference. Kutha and NAR MARRATU are concrete
   geographical entities -- although Kutha, being the city of
   Ereskigal, might be said to have a gateway to the Netherworld.
  Of the Zonei and their Attributes - (p.17-33)
   This is an interesting mixture of original (Babylonian) material
   and who knows what. The deities' association with specific
   numbers is real and are a few of their descriptions. The seals
   are hilarious; at least, they bear no resemblance to anything
   I've ever encountered.
  The Book of the Entrance and of the Walking - (p35-49)
   This chapter is basically garbage, even though the attribution of
   the seven earths, the seven levels and the seven heavens is a
   known feature of Babylonian systems; I do not believe that Simon
   actually derived this from any authentic source. Remember that
   the most famous ziggurat in Mesopotamia was in Babylon (the Tower
   of Babel) which, it so happens, has seven stories. It's obvious
   that from very early on the Mesopotamians had a special reverence
   for the number seven. The early attribution of the seven-pointed
   star as the "Star of Babylon" was an early adaptation of this in
   Western Occult tradition. Simon could have easily picked up any
   of several scholarly accounts of religion in Babylon for this
  The Incantations of the Gates - (p.51-61)
   Some of these invocations sound "familiar" and could possibly be
   hymns from various periods. I am still looking for the original
   materials, because if they are actual they may be useful.
   However, the language of his given translations is hardly
   accurate and the ABRACADABRA phrases at the end of the
   invocations are garbage.
  The Conjurations of the Fire God - (p.63-65)
   Again it sounds close except for the abracadabra bit.
  The Conjuration of the Watcher - (p.67-73)
   Forget it! Pure fiction...
  The Maklu Text- (p.75-92)
   First of all, again ignore all of the abracadabra stuff; however,
   it is an interesting piece in this book. There is in fact a
   lexical series called the 'maqlu'; there are also several
   exorcism rites (the most common being the 'uttukku lemnuti') and
   you will find that in the material provided in this book there
   are one or two texts, incantations, etc. which appear to be
   included in sections of Simon's 'maklu" text -- such as the
   Conjuration Against the Seven Liers-in-Wait (p.79). But these are
   texts from separate sources and Simon has lumped them together
   into one "text". In general I do not trust Simon (obviously). I
   am following through and trying to find all of the originals.
  The Book Of Calling - (p.93-120)
   Mostly mumbo-jumbo, especially his "Invocation of the Gates" --
   the order is European, and late European at that! However, on
   page 111 he reproduces a shortened version of a verifiable text
   (text KAR 61, edited by Biggs TCS II (1967):70ff)
  The Book Of The Fifty Names - (p.121-150)
   The names are derived from the end of the 'Enuma Elis', but the
   commentary is not. Also be careful with the transcriptions of the
   names into English lettering; I recommend if you want to know the
   Fifty Names of Marduk, see Alexander Heidel's book The Babylonian
  The Magan Text - (p.151-180)
   Maggan is the Iranian coast of the Straits of Hormuz, and perhaps
   the land of the Harrapan civilization; however, it has nothing to
   do with the content of the text which is presented. This is a bad
   translation of the beginning of the 'Enuma Elis' (see Heidel's
   book). Section IV (166-180) "Of The Sleep Of Ishtar" is a rather
   amusing adaptation of the Descent of Istar (or Inana) myth.
  The Urilla Text - (p.181-202)
   Very interesting and imaginative, but...
  The Testimony Of The Mad Arab - (in two parts, p.3-16 & 203-218)
   Who knows, but with Simon's batting average so far, it seems
   unreliable to me.
   All of the above is not to say that Simon's Necronomicon, or it's
   sequel, The Necronomicon Spellbook, is not interesting reading;
   nor is it to say that it cannot be used as a magical grimoire,
   since anything can be so used if you're capable of investing it
   with power. But it is the product of an imaginative distortion of
   ancient materials by a modern individual. It is not an authentic
   system or text of Babylonian, Sumerian or Akkadian ritual or
   magical practices.

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