Ms 3632 Bononiensis, The Testament of Solomon & Hygromanteia..

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Description of MS Bononiensis 3632 can be found in C. C. Mc Cown, The Testament of Solomon (Leipzig 1922)

MS 3632 / V Bologna, Library of the University; 475 ff. Paper, 21.9 x 29.6cm,

XVth Century, December 14 ?

Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, 3632




Additional Information

Appr. Date: 15th c.
Genres: Medical or scientific
Illustrations: Yes


In double columns.

Compendium in multiple hands. Mostly medical treatises, with some works on pseudo-sciences.  See entry at Pinakes (in online resources) for contents and (at the bottom of their entry) bibliography.

Folios are numbered by hand at on the upper corner and with a stamp on the lower one.  The folio after 181 was accidentally also given the number 181 by hand, but the stamp-numeration continues on (correctly) at 182.  Here we follow the latter.

Fol. 1 greatly damaged on outer columns.

14v Whole-page table of symbols reminiscent of Linear B, labeled with words (ex. gr. μύλα [i.e. μῆλα], ὕδωρ, κλπ.), perhaps as a key to the abbreviations found later in the book.

Fols. 17-26 are a metabyzantine insertion, most containing a dozen cameo portraits of famous physicians and philosophers (including among others Proclus, someone named Leo Hippocentaurus, Apollo (the god?) with a sort of cockscomb hat, several women, and of course Hippocrates & Galen).

41v The page is taken up by the outlines of three standing, human figures.  From film BOL.1.2 they seem possibly to have been rubbed out, but more probably never to have been finished.

42r The lower left-hand corner has a small figure, reminiscent of pre-Columbian Mexican art, who appears to be striking a cranioid piñata, vel sim.

51r The upper half of the page is taken up by the figure of a person named ὁ Πίνσος handing a vessel of urine to Theophilus (Protospatharius).  Below them are twenty-one containers, labeled by color, incl. λευκόν, ξανθόν, ἐρυθρόν, γαλακτο[ει]δές, γλαυκόν, χαρωπόν, κύανον, &c. For Theophilus, cf. WEST.FLO.2.2 and 2.3.

Bologna MS 3632, folio 51r - Theophilus Protospatharius, On Urines
Bologna MS 3632, folio 51r - Theophilus Protospatharius, On Urines

52v  The upper part of the page, a little over a third, has another two figures exchanging a cup. The one standing is clean-shaven and unlabeled.  The seated man, with pointy shoes and an impressive forkbeard, has a name beyond our abilities (perhaps with elements from the words διδάσκαλος or διάστημα?).

68v  Two bearded figures, Dioscorides seated, a man named Ares standing; between them what appear to be herbs.  Symbols (a recipe?) below the image.  There follow four pages of a long list of plants, incl. αἰγύλωψ, νάρθηξ, κρόκος, κλπ, κλπ.  A small child seems to have taken a pen to the ms., but not affected the text.

90v  Two seated, bearded figures, Παῦλος Αἰγινίτης [7th cent.] and Μενεμάχος.

91v  A long list of stones.

97v  Two seated, bearded figures in discussion, each holding a parchment vel sim., with similar documents on a stand between them, Ὀρειβάσιος & Φίλιππος.

101v  A number of lines partly stricken through, but mostly still legible despite such editing.

102r-123r  Many pictures of animals scattered throughout the text and taking a fair amount of space, incl. a horse, dog, seal, bear, lion, frogs («βάτραχυ», accent sic), ants, various fowl (incl. a griffin on

109r), fishes (including a swordfish, 112r), all manner of creeping things, serpents, some beast with an upset stomach (115v), a cat (117r), a distinctly unthreatening crocodile («κορκόδυλος») & alia plura.

108r  Along with the pictures of fowl, one at the top of the page of two seated, bearded figures, the more prominent labeled «ἁπόκρατίου» [sic] and the other «ομην[?]».

125v  Two figures resembling those on 97v, labeled Ποσειδώνιος and Ξενοκράτης.

132r  A group portrait of Julian the Apostate and his Arrian friend Aëtius, with the lesser figures of Hermophilus, Magistrian and Basus.

134r  At the end of the work several lines of appreviations and symbols, and three largeish concentric circles around a pentagram.

134v  A portrait, taking the whole page, of a physician named Isaac, flanked by an explanation for hair-growth, «ἰστέον ὅτι ἡ γέν[νησις] τῶν τριχῶν γίνεται ἀπὸ τῶν χ[ο]λωδῶν καὶ παχέων ἀναυθμιάσεων.»

154v  Two figures, the more prominent bearded and seated, named Δέσμ[ιος?] and the lesser, standing and clean-shaven, Φαυστῖνος.

167r  A seated figure (cujus nomen nos eludit) exchanging a cup with the monk Clement.

172v  Aëtius sits, with writing upon a stand, before four or five women, whose caption seems to read «γυναῖκες».

183r  Philotimus, seated, sees an ἀσθενής, with something coming from the latter’s mouth.

188v  A bearded man sits before a woman and two children, one with her hand on his knee and the other holding a chalice. The woman hands him, or takes from him, a rectangular item. Between him and them is a snake, whose chin he has his hand under.

205v  A (woman?) titled ὑπόλοφος hands an object to a bearded man, whose name we can’t make out.

209v/210r  Charts for alchemy or astrology or other pseudo-science and an image of Philo Judæus at a table with strange objects. A list follows.

214r  Magnus Sophista, a second character, (a Cappadocian?) and Cyrus. A potion or some such thing is involved.

218r  A large figure of Octarius and a smaller of (Γείλινος?).

255v  Serapion and Praxagoras; between them a youth with mortar and pestle.

260r  Two figures, a large, bearded Erasistratus and a shorter, clean-shaven Ἀλεξανδρεύς.

268r-272v  Astronomical charts and figures.

286r  Leo Sapientissimus, seated with writing before him.  Several pages following have oracles or such, half a dozen per page.

297r  Large image of seated figure, «ὁ Πέρσος [οὕτω] Ἄραψ, ὁ Ζανατὴς ὁ ἀλ[χ]ημιστής».

312r  A human anatomy, his various parts assigned astrological symbols vel simm.  His membrum virile is labeled, whether in earnest or in jest, ψῶλος.

315r  Eudoxius the Egyptian astrologer holds a long scroll and speaks to three smaller men.  Several pages follow of explanations of signs.

321v  Another anatomy, given similar signs.

335r  Large image of concentric circles, apparently a (heliocentric?) cosmos.

337v/338r  Pictures, the first perhaps of an orchard.

341v  The astronomer Hercules and a disciple.

345r  An image of alchemical or mystical appearance of two figures on a path.

346r  A master and disciple.

346v-349r  Various figures seeking φώτισις.

350r  Text crossed through, as in disapprobation, but quite legible.

350v  An astrologer and his victim.

351v  A lecanomancer or hydromancer, and his.

354r  Man with towel and smiley face.  Other semi-marginal pictures follow, including another smiley face (355v) and a charming deer (356r).

358r  A mermaid on the sea, or lizard-woman on land (difficult to tell from microfilm) at a table, perhaps wearing phylacteries against the evil eye. Below are women’s names (Μαρία, Εἰρήνη, Χριστίνα, Κατερίνα κλπ.).

361sqq.  Charts, &c.

378r-379r  Dioscorides, a dog, the mandrake, Wisdom, &c.  On 378v sit Magnanimity, Wisdom and Prudence, with a baby centaur at their feet. On the following page, the poor dog has died («κύων ἀνασπᾷ τὴν [sic] μανδραγόραν, ἔπειτα ἀποθνῄσκων»).  Many pages follow of mostly or exclusively images, mostly of plants (incl. the mandrake again on 403v); quite beautiful.

418r-419v  Various figures, including “Chiron the Hypocentaur” (presumably the Hippocentaur) and the angel Gabriel.

420r-435v  Full-page illustrations of various torturous medical treatments.

420v  Apparently the Wheel of Fortune.

436v-442v  Testamentum Salomonis: Περὶ βοτάνων τῶν ιβ’ ζῳδίων Ἑρμοῦ τοῦ Τρισμεγίστου καὶ περὶ βοτάνων τῶν ζ’ πλανητῶν. (Cf. also Parisinus gr. 2256, fol. 580 (P. Boudreaux, Codices Parisini [Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum 8.3. Brussels: Lamertin, 1912]: 153-165)).

436r  Full-page drawing of the Labyrinth, apparently built by the allwise Solomon.

438r  Bottom half taken up by 13 symbols: the first, an odd triangle/square mixture; 2-10 and 12, round medallions with various figures, some incorporating the chi-rho or something similar; 11 and 13 have writing and other symbols, the first perhaps «ι η ? ν ζ ? χ ? ς υ ν ρ? ηνγου ? ΧΧΧΧ?» and the second «αὐταὶ αἱ [?] ιβ’ σφραγῖδες εἰσέδοκεν ὁ ἄνγγελος [sic] τῶν λωμ^τα, ἐξ οὗ [ἥλιος?] ἀστ[έλη?] τὸ χ[άρισμα?] [καὶ?] τὴν χαρ[ιν?] [ὅτι?] καὶ ιου [=Ἰησοῦ?] λ[η?]θ [???]».

443v  Two large medallions, the right one empty, the left one with designs (stylized letters?), making it resemble a Picasso portrait in profile.

444v  Sapientes vel similes.


Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 3632

Manuscript Pages

Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 3632: page range 1v–476v

Additional Information

Acquired: unknown

Film: 35mm Black-and-white Positive

Whole book photographed, from binding to binding.

Somewhat faded in some places (ex. gr. at the bottom fourth of 11v), but this may well be the ms. rather than the photograph.

39v/40r Photographed twice.

41r Mostly, though not entirely, obscured.

49r A blurry stripe down the page, taking up about a third of the text, making it difficult, but not entirely impossible, to read.

99v A smallish blurry band down the righthand side.

Mostly quite legible, as far as the nature of the scripts allows.


Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 3632

Manuscript Pages

Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 3632: page range 436v–442v

Acquired: donated by the estate of L.G. Westerink
Film: 35mm Negative

Westerink’s box: Biblioteca Universitaria di Bologna / Manuscript. 3632.

Testam. Salom.

Bologna _ Bibl. Universitaria / Ms. 3632, cc.436b_442b: “Testamentum Salomonis”.

The 15th-century manuscripts are: Bononiensis Univers. 3632; British Museum, Harleianus 5596; Neapolitanus II C 33; Vindobonensis phil. gr. 108; and Taurinensis C VII 15 (destroyed). Most of Parisinus gr. 2419 is ofthe 15th century, but the portion in which the Theatise appears is in a later hand; Delatte, Anecdota, I, 470.

Graphic depictions of female demons are also to be found in the art of the Byzantine times, e.g. so‑called “Beautiful lady from the Mountains” from the magical papyrus Bononiensis 3632. She is shown as a woman with long hair, a crown on her head and a fish‑tail and feet armed with claws.

From Andreas RHOBY - Secret Messages ? Byzantine Greek Tetragrams and Their Display


An “everyday” use of some tetragrams is documented by magic recipes preserved in late Byzantine codices, such as the codex Bononiensis Universitatis 3632 copied in the 15th century. In a passage entitled Εἰς ἐχθρούς (“on enemies”) the following advice is given: Γράψον κυριακῇ, ὥρᾳ πρώτῃ: ις χς ν κ, φχφπ, ττχφ, χχχχχ (“Write on Sunday at the first hour (after sunrise): [four crosses with the tetragrams] IC XC N K, ΦΧΦΠ, ΤΤΧΦ,(44) ΧΧΧΧΧ(45)”

(46) Because occult sciences and everyday magic were quite widespread in Byzantium (47) it is certainly possible that these instructions were indeed followed by those who wanted to protect themselves against enemies.(48) Otherwise unknown tetragram, perhaps a mistake for well attested ΤΤΔΦ which was resolved by Walter (op. cit.) 212 as Τοῦτον [Τοῦτο Walter] τὸν Τύπον Δαίμονες Φρίττουσι (“The Demons are afraid of this sign [i.e. the cross]”).

The fifth X was probably added by mistake: the most common resolutions for XXXX are  Χριστὸς Χάριν Χριστιανοῖς Χαρίζει and Χριστὸς Χριστιανοῖς Χάριν Χαρίζεται ( both Christ grants grace to the Christians”).

A. Delatte, Anecdota Atheniensia, I. Liège – Paris 1927, 576.
P. Magdalino – M. Mavroudi (ed.), The Occult Sciences in Byzantium. Geneva 2007.
Cf. Moutafov, Typology and Semantics (op. cit.) 65f.

From Crossing-Sun: A rather simple operation from Bononiensis 3632 (Hygromanteia) also makes use of a table of evocation. Interestingly, the protective circle is traced on the table itself and the spirit bound with a thrust of the knife at the centre of it. It’s unclear, however, where exactly the manifestation is to take place. It goes as follows:

Lay a new table cloth on a new table, and place an empty bowl upon it, together with two lit candles on candelsticks, one at each side. At the other sides of the table place another earthen bowl, a censer with lit charcoals and incense, and various peeled fruits. Then, take a knife with a black handle with your right hand, trace the circle three times around the table, and each time recite the following conjuration.

“I conjure you, Mortze, or human ghost, or haunting of this place, come to me now that I invoked you at this table that I prepared for you.

Eat and drink from the food I prepared for you” And when you see that he ate, conjure him this way:

"I conjure you, Mortze, do not defecate, do not urinate, until you tell me the whole truth in whatever I will ask you.”

Do this three times with the knife, around the table. And when you finish the three circles, thrust the knife into the table and recite the following: I nail you here, Mortze, or haunting of this place.

Though this is phrased as if the binding is based on keeping the spirit constrained in bowel discomfort, the element of feeding spirits is common enough both in the genre to warrant suggesting there’s likely a system of evocation in this formula.


(NB: This posts is subject to be updated.) 


- Ioannis Marathakis - The Magical Treatise of Solomon, or Hygromanteia. (Golden Hoard, 2012).
- Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 1 by Richard Bauckham, James Davila, Alex Panayotov
The Occult Sciences in Byzantium - Paul Magdalino, ‎Maria V. Mavroudi
- Crossing-Sun -

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