John Dee - Necronomicon (3.9 MB)
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In his history of the Necronomicon, Lovecraft adds that it was translated into English by Dr. John Dee. This manuscript was never published and survives only in rare and often incomplete copies. The fabulous Necronomicon (in freehand copies of the vernacular Dee translation) features in a number of Lovecraft's better tales, such as The Dunwich Horror.Dee was a passionate collector of books, and owned one of the largest libraries in Europe. He was familiar with ciphers and travelled widely on the continent of Europe, to the e... More >>>
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In his history of the Necronomicon, Lovecraft adds that it was translated into English by Dr. John Dee. This manuscript was never published and survives only in rare and often incomplete copies. The fabulous Necronomicon (in freehand copies of the vernacular Dee translation) features in a number of Lovecraft's better tales, such as The Dunwich Horror.
Dee was a passionate collector of books, and owned one of the largest libraries in Europe. He was familiar with ciphers and travelled widely on the continent of Europe, to the extent that at least one biographer has suggested he was a 16th. century James Bond acting on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I and her ministers. It is known that one of the foremost works on occultism and encipherment of the period, the Steganographia of the Abbot Trithemius, was copied by Dee in longhand over a period of days in an intense burst of activity. An engraved portrait of Edward Kelly, Dee's partner and scryer in the angelic revelations, is shown holding a open volume with the name "Trithemius" on the page. The Liber Logaeth does exist (Sloane 3189), and is a combination of an incomprehensible angelic language (which Kelly understood only while in trance) and a series of letters composed into a series of 49 by 49 squares.
As if this was not enough, another mysterious cipher manuscript has also been connected with Dee, the baffling Voynich manuscript. Despite many attempts to decipher this manuscript, it still remains unbroken. This enigmatic text has also been linked with Lovecraft's Necronomicon. On the basis of its diagrams all we know is that it might be a herbal. It could be a cipher manuscript that Dee records as having purchased in Prague. All else is conjecture.
The claim that Lovecraft's relatives were Masonic initiates is not substantiated by what we know of his family. An alternative explanation (promoted by the author in an extended moment of wickedness), that Lovecraft's wife Sonia Greene associated with the notorious occultist and poet Aleister Crowley during his residence in New York in 1918 is completely plausible and consistent with both their characters, but entirely untrue.
John Dee (July 13, 1527 - 1608) was a noted British mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, occultist, and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He also devoted much of his life to alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy.
Dee straddled the worlds of science and magic just as they were becoming distinguishable. One of the most learned men of his age, he had been invited to lecture on advanced algebra at the University of Paris while still in his early twenties. Dee was an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, as well as a leading expert in navigation, having trained many of those who would conduct England's voyages of discovery. In one of several tracts which Dee wrote in the 1580s encouraging British exploratory expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage, he appears to have coined the term "British Empire."
Simultaneously with these efforts, Dee immersed himself in the worlds of magic, astrology, and Hermetic philosophy. He devoted much time and effort in the last thirty years or so of his life to attempting to commune with angels in order to learn the universal language of creation. A student of the Renaissance Neo-Platonism of Marsilio Ficino, Dee did not draw distinctions between his mathematical research and his investigations into Hermetic magic and divination, instead considering both ventures to constitute different facets of the same quest: the search for a transcendent understanding of the divine forms which underlie the visible world.
Dee's status as a respected scholar also allowed him to play a role in Elizabethan politics. He served as an occasional adviser and tutor to Elizabeth I and nurtured relationships with her two leading ministers, Francis Walsingham and William Cecil.
In his lifetime Dee amassed the largest library in England and one of the largest in Europe.