So, why are we all here? Because the author (that's me) mouthed off on social media that critical editions of medieval grimoires were all fine and good, but they didn't actually make them workable.

I was referring, specifically, to the Peterson edition of Mather's translation of The Key of Solomon (found here). I'll have some things to say about Mathers' translation further down the line, but I want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with Joseph Peterson's edition of the text. It is, in fact, a great resource. The problem is the text (we're going to find out if that means the manuscript(s) that Mathers translated or the the translation itself; without actually looking at the manuscripts because my French is abysmal and my Latin and Greek are pretty much non-existent -- I'll get around to it one of these days.).


Of course, today we have access to multiple versions of the Key of Solomon and we'll gloss over some of the research and history there (thanks, of course, to Skinner and Rankine and the afore mentioned Joseph Peterson). So we'll look at, in comparison, several different Keys. I'll be updating this article with bits of information as we go along (I want to collate the various MS sources for the direct translations and translation efforts to find overlaps).

Specifically, we will look at the ones contained in :

Key of Solomon The King: Clavicula Salomonis by SLM Mathers and Jospeh Peterson

The Veritable Key of Solomon (we'll be relying on a lot of Skinner's research presented here, this also contains 3 complete translations of different Keys)

Sloane 3847: The Clavicle of Solomon, revealed by Ptolomy the Grecian (as presented by Peterson at The Esoteric Archives)

The Veritable Key of Solomon at Esoteric Archives (Joseph Peterson's translation of Landsdowne 1203, which is also contained in the Skinner and Rankine's The Veritable Key listed above)

The Clavis or Key to the Magic of Solomon


Ancillary Texts

By its very nature, the manuscript vector is incestuous. Many manuscripts are comprised of bits and pieces of different text streams. Not every text called Key Of Solomon is actually a Key of Solomon -- and I guess we will have to define what makes it an actual Key of Solomon text. I can tell you this though, based on the exemplar published in The Veritable Key of Solomon, The Universal Treatise family are not Key of Solomon texts (nor are they proto Grimorium Verum either; I'm sure Dr. Skinner has revised his opinion of that since The Veritable Key was published).

The Magical Treatise of Solomon or Hygromanteia (can we all agree that this is not a proto Key of Solomon? Sure, there are similarities and whoever wrote the original Key clearly knew of this text or the streams that fed this text; but its not a direct lineage by any stretch of the imagination)

Sefer Raziel

Grimoriun Verum