History of The Necronomicron


The Necronomicron is a fictional book featured in the works of American fantasy / horror author H.P. Lovecraft and other writers, which, as a whole, comprise the Cthulhu Mythos. The Necronomicron was first mentioned in Lovecraft's 1924 short story "The Hound", though hints of it (or similar books) appear as far back as The Statement of Randolph Carter (1919). In the stories, the book is dangerous because it is often harmful to the health and sanity of its readers. For this reason, libraries keep it under lock and key.

How Lovecraft conceived the name "Necronomicon" is not clear—Lovecraft himself claimed that the title came to him in a dream. Although some have suggested that Lovecraft was influenced primarily by Robert W. Chambers' collection of short stories The King in Yellow, others believe that Lovecraft did not read that work until 1927. Lovecraft originally titled the book Al Azif (from Arabic, meaning the sound of cicadas and other nocturnal insects which folklore claims is the conversations of demons) and said that it was written by the "mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred. Among other things, the work contained an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning them.

According to Lovecraft, Alhazred wrote the original text in Damascus around 730 AD, but a number of translations were made over the centuries. The Greek translation, which gave the book its most famous title, was made by a (fictional) Orthodox scholar, Theodorus Philetas of Constantinople circa 950 AD. Olaus Wormius (an actual historical person wrongly placed by Lovecraft in the thirteenth century) translated it into Latin and indicated in the preface that the Arabic original was lost. This translation was printed twice: in the fifteenth century, evidently in Germany in black-letter, and in the seventeenth, probably in Spain.

When the Latin translation called attention to the Necronomicron, it was banned by Pope Gregory IX in 1232. The Greek translation, printed in Italy between 1500 and 1550, was probably lost when fire destroyed R. U. Pickman's library in Salem. The Elizabethan magician John Dee allegedly had a copy and is thought to have made an English translation, of which only fragments survive.

The Necronomicron's appearance and physical dimensions are a mystery. Other than the obvious black letter editions, it is commonly portrayed as bound in leather of various types and having metal clasps.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

     
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