The Necronomicon

This article is also available in: Italiano

Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most interesting pseudobiblions in history, with very profound references to the Arab world and the penetration of its sciences into the European world. With the Necronomicon, H.P. Lovecraft actually shows us how knowledge spread north of the Mediterranean, putting an end to a long era of superstition and skepticism.

The Necronomicon

According to H.P. Lovecraft, the legendary book was allegedly written by Abdul Alhazred, the mad Arab, in Damascus, later causing the terrible death of his writer; this can lead us to believe that its first publication could have occurred around 735, about 3 years before the death of the Yemeni sorcerer. From Syria, the tome would have spread more and more among the philosophers of the time, reaching in 950 the hands of the Byzantine scholar Theodore Fileta, who translated it from Arabic and gave it the name of Necronomicon, that is, the ” Book of laws governing the dead “.


Around 1050 the grimoire was discovered and banned by bishop Michael, patriarch of Constantinople, but this did not prevent a translation into Latin, which began to circulate starting from 1228. Thanks to the Danish Olaus Wormius, the book was able to see even a print twice: the first at the end of the fifteenth century and in Gothic characters, the second in the seventeenth century, probably in Spain. To date, it seems that there are only 14 copies, including fragments and complete texts, hidden among the shelves of some of the most famous libraries in the world, 2 of which are in the Vatican Library in Rome.

Brilliant fiction

As mentioned yesterday for Abdul Alhazred, Lovecraft is extraordinarily good at creating biographies and stories to make his characters real and this is also true for the Necronomicon, probably the best known pseudobiblion of modern times. Everything you have read so far, in fact, does not correspond to real historical data, but to the imagination of the American writer, one of the absolute masters of horror.


Thanks to such a precise and accurate contextualization, in fact, many people believed on several occasions in the actual existence of the book, relying on every stratagem to obtain a copy. The world of the occult is too fascinating to do without such an enigmatic and particular text, so much so that there were many bookstores that cheated their customers by creating Necronomicon for the occasion.

Passing on knowledge

The hypothetical history of the tome, however, is very interesting because it allows the reader to understand how certain texts passed from the Arab-Persian world to the European one, finally reaching even the Americas. By detaching for a moment from the content of this particular publication, in fact, we could understand the long path that many works of alchemy and science had to face, considered by much of the “Christian Middle Ages” as real books of thewicked and the evil one.


Many were in fact the advances made by the Arabs in the medical and chemical fields, so much so as to result in the simplest minds like magic or witchcraft. Just think of the chemical transformations, now a subject of study, which at the time could appear to be the work of sorcerers, the profession of scientist being almost unknown. It is therefore reasonable to think that, as in the case of the Nameless city, Lovecraft once again drew inspiration from real events, obtaining precious material from the latter to expand with his own horror visions. Another inspiration for lovers of the Arab world and its style.

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