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Anonymous - A Picatrix Miscellany (copyrighted book, review only)

Cover of Anonymous's Book A Picatrix Miscellany
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The Ghayat al-Hakim fi'l-sihr, or Picatrix, as it is known in the West, is an important Arabic magical text. It is perhaps the largest and most comprehensive of the grimoires, or handbooks of magic. The attribution to the Andalusian mathematician al-Majriti (or al-Madjriti) (d. ca. 1004-7) is considered pseudo-epigraphic. The Latin translation dates to 1256 and the court of Alphonso the Wise, king of Castille, and exerted a considerable influence on Western magic thereafter. It is said that much of Ficino's astrological magi... More >>>
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Category 1:  Grimoires and Manuscripts
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Author:      Anonymous
Format:      eBook
The Ghayat al-Hakim fi'l-sihr, or Picatrix, as it is known in the West, is an important Arabic magical text. It is perhaps the largest and most comprehensive of the grimoires, or handbooks of magic. The attribution to the Andalusian mathematician al-Majriti (or al-Madjriti) (d. ca. 1004-7) is considered pseudo-epigraphic. The Latin translation dates to 1256 and the court of Alphonso the Wise, king of Castille, and exerted a considerable influence on Western magic thereafter. It is said that much of Ficino's astrological magic derives from the Picatrix (see I.P.Couliano, Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, University of Chicago Press, 1987, p. 118). The Picatrix is mentioned by Johannes Trithemius in Book 2 of his notorious Steganographia (1500) and in his Antipalus Maleficiorum (c. 1500). One copy (British Library, Sloane manuscript 3679) passed down from Simon Forman (d.1611) to Richard Napier (d. 1634) to Elias Ashmole (d. 1692) to William Lilly (d. 1681).

E.M. Butler wrongly associates it with Gio. Peccatrix, (no doubt a pseudonym) who edited an Italian version of the Key of Solomon (British Library, Sloane manuscript 1307). Misled by some comments by Mathers and others, Dr. Butler incorrectly concluded that the Picatrix was "an Italian edition of the Clavicle, strongly impregnated with black elements" (Ritual Magic, 1949, p. 135.)

About Author:

"Anonymous" of course means "without a name" and is used when the author is not known--or sometimes, when a story develops out of an oral tradition over generations with possibly many storytellers contributing to and revising the tale before it is finally written down and becomes literature.

A notable amount of ancient and medieval literature is anonymous. This is not only due to the lack of documents from a period, but also due to an interpretation of the author's role that differs considerably from the romantic interpretation of the term in use today. Ancient and Medieval authors were often overawed by the classical writers and the Church Fathers and tended to re-tell and embellish stories they had heard or read rather than invent new stories. And even when they did, they often claimed to be handing down something from an auctor instead. From this point of view, the names of the individual authors seemed much less important, and therefore many important works were never attributed to any specific person.