Friday, March 31, 2017

Pseudomonarchia Daemonum: The False Hierarchy of Demons

Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, or Hierarchy of Demons first appeared as an appendix to Johann Weyer's first book about demonology and witchcraft, De Praestigiis Daemonum et Incantationibus ac Venificiisi (1577), and was said by the author himself to have been inspired by an earlier text discussing spirits and demons. Yet, it is Weyer's work—not his predecessor's—that came to be known by renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud as "one of the ten most significant books of all time."

The title of the book translates roughly to "false monarchy of demons".

The book dictates the names of sixty-nine demons, and the appropriate hours and rituals to conjure them.

The purpose of this subsequent book is to act as a grimoire, also known as a spell book, to provide the reader with important facts about demons that might be summoned, such as what they look like or what abilities they might possess.

Image taken from the book
Pseudomonarchia Daemonum

Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum ended up an inspiration itself, leading to the writing of The Lesser Key of Solomon in which one section, called Ars Goetia, contains a list of demons evoked by the ancient King Solomon.

There are some differences. The Ars Goetia lists seventy-two demons (4 more demons), and the order of the spirits varies, as well as some of their characteristics. 

The demons Vassago, Seere, Dantalion and Andromalius are not listed in the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, while Pruflas is not listed in The Lesser Key of Solomon. Weyer censored the text, omitting necessary parts of the rituals and the more powerful demons, like Lucifer, in order to protect readers from their own curiosity.

Also, the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum does not attribute seals to the demons, as The Lesser Key of Solomon does.

Weyer referred to his source manuscript as Liber officiorum spirituum, seu Liber dictus Empto. Salomonis, de principibus et regibus daemoniorum. (Book of the offices of spirits, or the book called 'Empto'. Solomon, concerning the princes and kings of demons). This work is likely related to a very similar 1583 manuscript titled The Office of Spirits, both of which appear ultimately be an elaboration on a fifteenth-century manuscript titled Le Livre des Esperitz (of which 30 of its 47 spirits are nearly identical to spirits in the Ars Goetia). 

You can find the Pseudomonarchia DaemonumThe Ars Goetia, and the Grimorium Verum on the left side bar of our site.

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