Hijacking Satan, Church Propaganda in Medieval Florence

In the magnificent baptistery of the Duomo of Florence, there is a master work of the Infernal Majesty of Satan and the fallen angels, eagerly munching the tenderest parts of the damned. This may be one of the earliest artistic versions of Satan as the Pan-like devil we know Him as today.

This, and Marcovaldo’s other 13th century works incorporate a blend of Byzantine and Romanesque styles, popular in Tuscany in the time. But this image of Satan is something quite new, though old. These devils are a frightening hybrid of the Satyr and a more ancient god in Tuscany, Fufluns.

These pagan deities, whose domains were merriment, orgiastic revelries and having a good time in general, are now demonized to represent the downfall of sinners, and the mysterious fits of ecstasy of the Cult of Dionysis, only known by this time in rumors or works of Greek tragedy like Euripedes’ Bacchae, were now the Church’s tool of the imagination, used to keep the masses scared and afraid, and so obedient.

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Hell is BADASS

Taking a quick look at some of the ghoulish and misshapen figures, you might think this is something by Hieronymus Bosch. It’s actually a commissioned religious piece by Master van Eyck. Take a moment to appreciate the horrors of the pits of Hell that this man painstakingly rendered in the smallest detail:

 
Death looms over the Abyss with bat-like wings. Note with delight the amount of clergymen you can spot by their headdresses or tonsured hair. Very gratifying.

Meanwhile, this motherfucker is wearing some sort of flesh-crown and smiling with painful glee, while his ghoulish, fanged belly devours the ass of some sinner, all the while triggering your deepest trypophobia.

Here a Lovecraftian child of Dagon is fighting with a bear monster over who is going to get wing or the thigh of the next sinner entree.

Yes, people of the ancient world had imaginations just as fucked up as we do today, as you can tell by these demonic creatures that would look right at home in a Hellraiser movie.

Hermetically Open

Very soon, 3500 manuscripts from the Ritman Library  will be digitally available, thanks in part to the support of Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown. This project is going to be a huge resource for research and new historical perspectives of Magic.

This part of the Hermetically Open Projects is aimed at digitizing the available sources in the library, both text and image. Part of the added value of this project lies in the online availability of works that are not generally accessible, easy to find or share, and are exclusively kept in a physical form. In the following years, the online catalogue of The Ritman Library will be upgraded, and all digitized content will be made available via our online catalogue.

Learn more at the Ritman Library

Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros

Well ain’t this some heavy shit. An 18th century illustrated magical anthology, written in macaronic Latin and German, reads like the dream journal of the love child of Salvador Dalí and Edward Kelly. Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros, or “A most rare summary of the whole Magical Art by the most famous Masters of the Art”, features wildly imaginative and detailed pictures of conjurers, demons and their qualities, and even wild Gorgons receiving reptilian cunnilingus. This is the kind of bedtime story book I wish I had had. 

Reader Beware You’re In For a Scare

Poeticon Astronomicon

Among the first printed renditions of the Greek (Ptolemaic) constellations was the Clarissimi Viri Iginii Poeticon Astronomiconwhich included almost all these constellations, though without great accuracy or detail. Its focus seems to have been less about navigation/astronomy as for the mythological figures presented in the sky.

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12th Century Medical & Herbal Collection

This beautifully appointed manuscript describes over 200 plants and animals with medicinal (and magical) properties, in multiple colors and gold and silver.

Included in the collection is cannabis. Based on the style of the illumination (compared to its actual morphology), it’s likely the illustrator was basing their image off of a description alone, from hearsay or from another written source. Herodotus mentioned the use of hemp by the Scythians in 400BCE. Cannabis was just starting to become known to Europe in this century, by way of contact with Arab sources.

Translation mine:

Name of this herb: Cannabis. This herb grows in harsh places, and next to roads, and bound to fences. It’s main use is for consecration (fanandum)…

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Herbal Riot

A Scrapbook of Sin

Unearthly Delights

A Scrapbook of Sin

The Occult Gallery

A Scrapbook of Sin

Mirrors at Home..

A Scrapbook of Sin

Memento Mori

A Scrapbook of Sin

𖦹

A Scrapbook of Sin

Death & Mysticism

A Scrapbook of Sin

A Scrapbook of Sin

BLACK GOAT

A Scrapbook of Sin