Hygromanteia: The Magical Treatise of Solomon

Manuscript of the true ancestor of the Key of Solomon, 15th C

Harley MS 5596

The Magical Treatise of Solomon, also known as Hygromanteia (Greek: Ὑγρομαντεία) or Hygromancy of Solomon, the Solomonikê (Σολομωνική), or even Little Key of the Whole Art of Hygromancy, Found by Several Craftsmen and by the Holy Prophet Solomon, refers to a group of similar late Byzantine-era grimoires purporting to contain Solomon’s instructions to his son Rehoboam on various magical techniques and tools to summon and control different spirits, those spirits’ powers, astrological beliefs, select charms, different means of divination, and the magical uses of herbs.

The Hygromantiea is the the true ancestor and prototype for the Key of Solomon (‘Clavicula Solomonis’), the most prominent grimoire of the Western world. When the Roman Empire fell to the Turks, the Byzantinians fled Constantinople to Rome where it was first translated into Latin or Italian in the 15th century. It then made its way through Europe resulting in other translations such as English, French, German, Czech, and later Latin/Dutch and Italian editions as well as a few Hebrew translations from the 17th century (see map below). Many of the Text groups claim to have been translated from Hebrew however a Hebrew manuscript written before the 1700 is yet to discovered. Stephen Skinner has done an amazing job connecting the dots between the The Key of Solomon text and eleven or so Greek manuscripts of the Hygromanteia.


ff. 1v-3 Arithmomancy. Delatte AA I pp.388-391

ff. 3v-5 Cleromancy. Delatte AA I pp.392-396

ff. 5v-6v Letter of Pythagoras to Helias. Tannery p.248

ff. 6v-7 Magic recipe. Delatte AA I p.396

ff. 7-7v Fragment of Recension C of the Testament of Solomon. McCown p.83*

ff. 8-18 Part of Recension A of the Testament of Solomon. McCown pp.5*-57*

ff. 18v-39v Magical treatise of Solomon Ἀρχὴ τῆς ἀποτελεσματικῆς πραγματείας. Delatte AA I pp.397-434

ff. 39v-41 Fragment of Recension C of the Testament of Solomon. McCown pp.77*- 82*

ff. 41v-43 Magical treatise, inc. Ἄγγελοι καὶ δαίμονες ἑκάστης ἡμέρας. Delatte AA I pp.434-438

ff. 43-44v ῞Ετερος ὡρόσκοπος τοῦ ἡμερονυκτίου. Delatte AA I pp.438-441

ff. 44v-49v Palmomancy. Tradition A in Diels Zuckungslit. pp.21-32

ff. 49v-50 Passage of the moon through the Zodiac. Delatte AA I p.442

f. 50 IIερὶ νά κάμης τα μελάνια. Delatte AA I p.443

ff. 50v-51 Plants of Kronos and the Sun. Delatte AA I p.444f.

ff. 51-58v Ζωδολόγιον. cf. CCAG X pp.102-121

Facsimile Editions

Harley-5596: Geomantica Exorcimi (Magical Treatise of Solomon): Full Color Via British Library Website

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