PDF – The devils and evil spirits of Babylonia (1903)

afbeelding-28Here’s a nice download for those interested in the history of demonology, a scientific study by R. C. Thompson, entitled – in full – The devils and evil spirits of Babylonia : being Babylonian and Assyrian incantations against the demons, ghouls, vampires, hobgoblins, ghosts, and kindred evil spirits, which attack mankind, tr. from the original Cuneiform texts, with transliterations, vocabulary, notes, etc.

Having browsed quickly through the electronic pages of this early assyriological publication, I immediately learned stuff about owls being birds of ill-omen among the ancient Assyrians, the hanging up of various plants near the door to ward off demons, and so on… I also came across this one small episode I found worth mentioning in the context of this blog (and because we love striking parallels):

Animals and their hair were largely used in ceremonies, and great stress was laid on beasts being virgin. A young pig, a virgin kid, or its hair are frequently mentioned, and this condition of ceremonial cleanness was imposed on the use of such beasts even down to the middle ages. The “virgin kid” was largely used by the wizards of a few hundred years ago in making parchment to be inscribed with magical spells.

Of course, we must not forget that this book was published in 1903, and that some of the analytical viewpoints (note the word usage of e.g. devil and hobgoblin in the book’s title!), readings of cuneiform signs or translations could by now be obsolete. Nevertheless, if for some strange reason you suddenly feel like updating your knowledge on mesopotamian magic right now, you could start off with this nice list of bibliographical references that I found on a cuneiform magic fansite.

View this document on Scribd


  • You can dowload the digitalized version of R. C. Thompson’s book right here (26 MB).

Further reading



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