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Ms Bodleian Library Rawlinson D. 252

Ms Bodleian Library Rawlinson D. 252.

Actually, owned by the Oxford Bodleian Library. The manuscript is often called The 'Rawlinson necromantic manuscript' is dated from ~15th century..According to Frank Klaassen, this is one of the earliest surviving dedicated necromantic collections from England, along with London, Society of Antiquaries 39 and Sloane 3849 (Transformations of Magic, 124).

Specific magic texts: At least seventy separate items copied by two hands. The majority of the rituals are conjurations, some with no indication of their purpose. The rituals cover the standard aims of ritual magic: seeking lost or stolen treasure, detecting thieves, divination, illusions, getting spirits to do one’s bidding, etc.

f. 6-6v: Angels conjurations by gazing at crystals.

f. 80: Angels conjurations with rings.

f. 73v:  Angels conjurations with blood.

ff. 23,43v: Angels conjurations by burning herbs and incense.

f. 156-156v: Angels conjurations for finding thieves and hidden treasures.

f. 73v: Angels conjurations for succes in law-suits

Actuellement détenu par la Bodleian Library d'Oxford. Le manuscrit est souvent appelé le «manuscrit nécromantique de Rawlinson»; il est datée du 15ème siècle.. Le manuel contient entre autre (ff. 49-51) une prière; sorte de formule confessionnelle assez touchante, avec une prière contre les esprits démoniaques..Selon Frank Klaassen, c'est l'une des plus anciennes pièces des collections d'ouvrages de nécromancie d 'Angleterre...(Transformations de la Magie, 124). 

Textes magiques spécifiques: Au moins soixante-dix éléments distincts, rédigés par au moins deux auteurs différents. La majorité des rituels sont des conjurations, certaines sans indication sur leur utilité. Les rituels couvrent les objectifs classiques de la magie rituelle: la recherche de trésors volés, retrouver les voleurs, projeter des illusions, demander une faveur à un esprit, etc.

f. 6-6v: Conjurations d'Anges en fixant les crystaux.

f. 80: Conjurations d'Anges avec des Anneaux.

f. 73v: Conjurations d'Anges avec du sang.

ff. 23,43v: Conjurations d'Anges en brulant des herbes et de l'encens.

f. 156-156v: Conjurations d'Anges pour trouver les voleurs et les trésors cachés/perdus.

f. 73v: Conjurations d'Anges pour le succes dans les affaires de justice.

MS. Rawl. D. 252 fol. 028v-029r - AGLA

MS. Rawl. D. 252 Modern Figures

MS. Rawl. D. 252 fol. 028v-029r

MS. Rawl. D. 252fol. 104v

MS. Rawl. D. 252 fol. 014v

MS. Rawl. D. 252 or 253 Modern Figure

MS. Rawl. D. 252 or 253 Modern Figure

Rawlinson D. 253: A treatise of conjurations,
17th century. (MS. Rawl. D. 253, pp.76-77)

Formules conjuratoires dans un rituel de nécromancie du xve siècle par Anne Mathieu.

This article will discuss two conjuration formulas prescribed in a necromantic ritual of the fifteenth century (Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson D. 252, f. 67rv). This ritual, or experimentum, gives procedures for raising a dead man and having him disclose the identity of a thief.

The ritual is fairly complex. The necromancer must go to a grave and call the dead man three times. He must then conjure the spirit Asacel, guardian of the dead, and order him to intercede with God so that the dead man might be allowed to rise and reveal the truth. Three nights are then to elapse, during which the necromancer must sprinkle the grave with holy water. On the third night, he is to stand by the grave and conjure the dead man to rise and reveal the truth. He must then take a little earth from the grave and put it in a linen sack, together with a note indicating where and under which circumstances the theft took place. Finally, he is to place the sack on his bed and use it as a pillow. The very same night, the dead man will appear to him in a dream and tell him the name of the thief. 

The conjuration addressed to the dead man merely consists in a commandment, followed by the two magic names Tetragrammaton and Agla. By contrast, the formula which conjures Asacel is quite elaborate. Introduced by an imperious “Conjuro te”, it enjoins the spirit to act in the name of all that it dreads most: the God of Doomsday, the pains of hell and the many secret names of God. Also remarkable in the conjuration of Asacel is the presence of four inset formulas. Three of them are of biblico-liturgical origin, but the last one is a legal formula, which, in the fifteenth century, is mostly found in a specific type of royal letters.

The differences in structure and content between the two conjurations obviously reflect a difference in status between the two addressees. Asacel is a spirit, but also the indispensable mediator between God and the necromancer, who cannot and will not act without divine permission. The dead man, as to him, is but an empty shell, in no way comparable to those dangerous, subtle prophetic spirits which are conjured in most medieval necromantic experimenta.


- Brepolis -
Formules conjuratoires dans un rituel de nécromancie du xve siècle par Anne Mathieu.
- Original images © Oxford, Bodleian Library
- Frank Klaassen, The Transformations of Magic. Illicit Learned Magic in the Later Middle Ages and Renaissance, University Park (Pennsylvania), The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013, 280p.
- Jean-Patrice Boudet - Entre science et nigromance: astrologie, divination et magie dans l'occident
- Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MS D. 252 /
- Modern Figures by Zizhao Wang.
- Rosemary Horrox,W. Mark Ormrod - A Social History of England, 1200–1500
- Web..