The Key of Solomon the King

(ca 1525)

The Key of Solomon the King (in Latin, Clavis Salomonis or Clavicula Salomonis) is a grimoire, a handbook for how to carry out various magical rituals through summoning demons. Grimoires are a common element of popular culture. They are often seen in popular literature, films, and television shows, but these portrayals rarely relate very closely to historical realities. Nevertheless, The Key of Solomon the King is the source of the common image of the grimoire, with its combination of demonic conjurations and spells based on the power of magical names. The grimoire is a genre almost as old as writing in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The oldest magical handbooks had tremendous prestige, since they contained rituals for protecting and benefiting the king and the state. Over time the ritualists who used such books adapted them to the needs of a more popular audience. This trend increased as Near Eastern magic was received in the Greek and Roman worlds. Magic was mainly meant...

Image for: The Key of Solomon the King

”Faust“ by Rembrandt (Yale University Art Gallery)

View Full Size