Le Grand Grimoire

…avec la grande clavicule de Salomon, et la magie noire, où [sic] Les forces infernales du grand Agrippa, pour découvrir tous les trésors cachés, & se faire obéir à tous les esprits; ti suivi de tous les arts magiques

By Antonio Venitiana, M CC. II. (ca. 1750, 1775 & 1823)

Le Grand Grimoire was the first explicitly diabolic mass market grimoire. Different editions date the book to 1521, 1522 or 1421, but it was probably written in the early 19th century. Owen Davies suggests 1702 is when the first edition may have created and a Bibliothèque bleue version of the text may have been published in 1750.

The introductory chapter was authored by someone named Antonio Venitiana del Rabina who supposedly gathered this information from original writings of King Solomon. Much of material in this grimoire derives from the Clavicules du Roi Salomon, Par Armadel. Livre Troisieme. It contains explicit instructions on how to call up and make a pact with the Lucifer’s Prime Minister in Hell, Lucifuge Rofocale. For this reason, it was considered both sensational and dangerous. The mere possession of it came to be seen as an act of pact making and therefore a criminal act.

The name “Lucifugus” comes from two Latin words: lux (“light”; genitive lucis), and fugio (“to flee”), which means “[he who] flees the light”. “Rofocal” may be an anagram of “Focalar”, the name of another important demon who is possibly in Rofocale’s servitude. Another possibility for the origin of “Rofocal” is intimately connected to the very nature of Lucifuge. As Lucifuge is the reverse of Lucifer (Latin for “light bearer”), so is the name “Rofocal” derived from “Lucifer” reversed – that is, “Reficul”.

The work is divided into two books. The first book contains instructions for summoning a demon and for the construction of tools with which to force the demon to do one’s bidding. The second book is further divided into two parts: the Sanctum Regnum and Secrets, de L’Art Magique du Grand Grimoire (“Secrets, of the magic art of the Grand Grimoire”). The Sanctum Regnum contain instructions for making a pact with the demon, allowing one to command the spirit without the tools required in book one, but at greater risk. Secrets contains simpler spells and rituals one can employ after having performed the ritual in the first book. Some editions contain a short text between these two parts, Le Secret Magique, où le Grand Art de pouvoir parler aux Morts (The Magic Secret, or the Grand Art of being able to speaking with the dead), dealing with necromancy.

This book mentions three higher demons, the same as the Grimorium Verum:

  • Lucifer, emperor
  • Beelzebub, prince
  • Astaroth, grand duke

It also mentions six lower demons:

  • Lucifuge Rofocale, prime minister
  • Satanachia, commander in chief (in French, “commandant en chef”, although Warwick translates it as “great general”)
  • Agaliarept, commandant
  • Fleurety, lieutenant-general
  • Sargatanas, brigadier-major
  • Nebiros, marshal and inspector general

Facsimile Editions

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