Peter de Abano - Heptameron Or Magical Elements (251.0 Kb)

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The earliest edition of this concise handbook of ritual magic appears to be Venice, 1496 (Lynn Thorndike (Magic and Experimental Science, vol. II, p. 925). It later appeared as an appendix of Agrippa's Opera, following Agrippa's Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy.Note that the theoretical framework for the text is indebted to Sepher Razielis, though redacted or adapted.There are also close parallels between the chapters on the spirits of the planets and chapters CV-CXI of the Sworn Book of Honorius of Thebes (see also note on ... More >>>
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Author:      Peter de Abano
Format:      eBook
The earliest edition of this concise handbook of ritual magic appears to be Venice, 1496 (Lynn Thorndike (Magic and Experimental Science, vol. II, p. 925). It later appeared as an appendix of Agrippa's Opera, following Agrippa's Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy.

Note that the theoretical framework for the text is indebted to Sepher Razielis, though redacted or adapted.

There are also close parallels between the chapters on the spirits of the planets and chapters CV-CXI of the Sworn Book of Honorius of Thebes (see also note on the "Theban alphabet" below). See Gosta Hedegard, Liber Iuratus Honorii: , Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 2002, p. 41. There are also close parallels with Sepher Razielis (Book 6). Compare for example Sloane 3846, fols. 154r-158r, transcription in appendix 8 of The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses.

The attribution of the text to the famous physician Peter de Abano (1250-1316) "seems quite certainly spurious" according to historian Lynn Thorndike (op. cit., p. 912). His reputation as a magician developed quite early however. Agrippa refers to de Abano in his Third Book as being his source (via Trithemius' Polygraphia) for the Theban alphabet of Honorius of Thebes. This alphabet has been widely used in modern Wicca. The Heptameron ("seven days") details rites for conjuring angels for the seven days of the week. It is heavily based on texts of the Solomon cycle, and in fact appears in the Hebrew Key of Solomon (Mafteah Shelomoh) fol 35a ff under the title the Book of Light (though without the Christian elements). It was also apparently one of the chief sources for the Lemegeton.

Ritual implements include: perfume, holy water, a new earthen vessel with fire, vesture, pentacle, the book, and a sword. The section On the manner of working mentions pentacles in the plural this is another indication that this present method is indeed based on Clavicula Solomonis.

About Author:

Pietro d'Abano also known as Petrus De Apono or Aponensis (c. 1250 - c. 1316) was an Italian philosopher, astrologer and professor of medicine in Padua. He was born in the Italian town from which he takes his name, now Abano Terme. He gained fame by writing Conciliator Differentiarum, qua inter Philosophos et Medicos Versantur. He was eventually accused of heresy and atheism, and came before the Inquisition. He died in prison before the end of his trial.

He studied a long time at Paris, where he was promoted to the degrees of doctor in philosophy and medicine, in the practice of which he was very successful, but his fees were remarkably high. In Paris he became known as "the Great Lombard". He settled at Padua, where he gained a reputation as a physician. Also an astrologer, he was charged with practising magic: the specific accusations being that he got back, by the aid of the devil, all the money he paid away, and that he possessed the philosopher's stone.

Gabriel Naude, in his Antiquitate Schola Medica Parisiensis, gives the following account of him:

Let us next produce Peter de Apona, or Peter de Abano, called the Reconciler, on account of the famous book which he published during his residence in your university. It is certain that physic lay buried in Italy, scarce known to any one, uncultivated and unadorned, till its tutelar genius, a villager of Apona, destined to free Italy from its barbarism and ignorance, as Camillus once freed Rome from the siege of the Gauls, made diligent enquiry in what part of the world polite literature was most happily cultivated, philosophy most subtilly handled, and physic taught with the greatest solidity and purity; and being assured that Paris alone laid claim to this honour, thither he presently flies; giving himself up wholly to her tutelage, he applied himself diligently to the mysteries of philosophy and medicine; obtained a degree and the laurel in both; and afterwards taught them both with great applause: and after a stay of many years, loaden with the wealth acquired among you, arid, after having become the most famous philosopher, astrologer, physician, and mathematician of his time, returns to his own country, where, in the opinion of the judicious Scardeon, he was the first restorer of true philosophy and physic. Gratitude, therefore, calls upon you to acknowledge your obligations due to Michel Angelus Blondus, a physician of Rome, who in the last century undertaking to publish the Conciliationes Physiognomic? of your Aponensian doctor, and finding they had been composed at Paris, and in your university, chose to publish them in the name, and under the patronage, of your society.

He carried his enquiries so far into the occult sciences of abstruse and hidden nature, that, after having given most ample proofs, by his writings concerning physiognomy, geomancy, and chiromancy, he moved on to the study of philosophy, physics, and astrology; which studies proved so advantageous to him, that, not to speak of the two first, which introduced him to all the popes of his time, and acquired him a reputation among learned men, it is certain that he was a great master in the latter, which appears not only by the astronomical figures which he caused to be painted in the great hall of the palace at Padua, and the translations he made of the books of the most learned rabbi Abraham Aben Ezra, added to those which he himself composed on critical days, and the improvement of astronomy, but by the testimony of the renowned mathematician Regiomontanus, who made a fine panegyric on him, in quality of an astrologer, in the oration which he delivered publicly at Padua when he explained there the book of Alfraganus.

Writings

In his writings he expounds and advocates the medical and philosophical systems of Averroes and other Arabian writers. His best known works are the Conciliator differentiarum quae inter philosophos et medicos versantur (Mantua, 1472; Venice, 1476), and De venenis eorumque remediis (1472), of which a French translation was published at Lyon in 1593. The former was an attempt to reconcile Arab medicine and Greek natural philosophy. It was considered authoritative as late as the sixteenth century.

It has been alleged that Abano also wrote a grimoire called the Heptameron, a concise book of ritual magical rites concerned with conjuring specific angels for the seven days of the week (hence the title). It should not be confused with the Heptameron of Marguerite of Navarre.

The Inquisition

He was twice brought to trial by the Inquisition; on the first occasion he was acquitted, and he died before the second trial was completed. He was found guilty, however, and his body was ordered to be exhumed and burned; but a friend had secretly removed it, and the Inquisition had therefore to content itself with the public proclamation of its sentence and the burning of Abano in effigy.

The general opinion of almost all authors is, that he was the greatest magician of his time; that by means of seven spirits, familiar, which he kept inclosed in chrystal, he had acquired the knowledge of the seven liberal arts, and that he had the art of causing the money he had made use of to return again into his pocket. He was accused of magic in the eightieth year of his age, and that dying in the year 1305, before his trial was over, he was condemned (as Castellan reports) to the fire; and that a bundle of straw, or osier, representing his person, was publicly burnt at Padua; that by so rigorous an example, and by the fear of incurring a like penalty, they might suppress the reading of three books which he had composed on this subject: the first of which is the noted Heptameron, or Magical Elements of Peter de Abano, Philosopher, now extant, and printed at the end of Agrippa's works; the second, that which Trithemius calls Elucidarium Necromanticum Petri de Abano; and a third, called by the same author Liber experimentorum mirabilium de Annulis secundem, 28 Mansiom Luna.

Barrett (p. 157) refers to the opinion that it was not on the score of magic that the Inquisition sentenced Pietro to death, but because he endeavoured to account for the wonderful effects in nature by the influences of the celestial bodies, not attributing them to angels or demons; so that heresy, instead of magic, in the form of opposition to the doctrine of spiritual beings, seems to have led to his persecution.

His body, being privately taken out of his grave by his friends, escaped the vigilance of the Inquisitors, who would have condemned it to be burnt. He was removed from place to place, and at last deposited in St. Augustin's Church, without epitaph, or any other mark of honor. His accusers ascribed inconsistent opinions to him; they charged him with being a magician, and yet with denying the existence of spirits. He had such an antipathy to milk, that seeing anyone take it made him vomit. He died about the year 1316 in the sixty-sixth year of his age.