Rise[ edit ] Leo was of a modest family in southern Italy, the son of Atyuppius and Elizabeth. He was made cardinal-priest of Santa Susanna by Pope Adrian I , and seemingly also vestiarius , or chief of the pontifical treasury, or wardrobe. It is quite possible that this haste may have been due to a desire on the part of the Romans to prevent any interference by the Franks. With the letter informing the Frankish ruler Charlemagne that he had been unanimously elected pope , Leo sent him the keys of the confession of St.

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Misconceptions and mistakes upon a subject so obscure as Magical Rituals are, speaking generally, excusable enough, but in this case they are found where they are not excusable, namely, among those persons who have undertaken to give account of the work.

In the absence of all evidence on this point, it is impossible to entertain it seriously. The Enchiridion is assuredly not a book of Black Magic, nor does it lend itself to the introduction of other figures than those which appear in it, and these are few and simple.

He also evidently had not read it, and is a personage p. The legend of the Enchiridion is as follows. Whosoever bore the little work upon his person with the respect due to Holy Scripture, who also recited it daily to the honour of God, would never be overcome by his enemies, would pass unscathed through all perils, and the Divine protection would abide with him to.

These things took place in the year In the year the Enchiridion is supposed to have been printed at Rome for the first time. Thus broadly outlined, there is nothing in this legend to offend possibility or to raise very serious objection to the authorship. The reputed connection with occult science would indeed seem the chief presumption against it, because there never was a literature so founded in forgery as that of Magic, except the sister science of physical Alchemy.

When we come, however, to examine the work at first hand, the case against it assumes a different aspect, and it is condemned out of its own mouth. While it is not a Ritual of Magic, it is also certainly not a simple collection of devotions designed to fortify the person making use of them against dangers of body and soul by the operation of Divine Grace; it is rather a collection of charms cast in the form of prayers, and is quite opposed in its spirit to the devotional spirit of the Church; furthermore, it is concerned with worldly advantages far more than with those of a spiritual kind.

The work opens with a characteristic stultification in respect of its own claim, by pointing out that of all the sovereign princes of past ages there was none more fortunate than Charlemagne, and the source p.

He states therein that since his reception of a little volume entitled Enchiridion, filled with special prayers and mysterious figures, sent by His Holiness as a precious gift, he has never ceased to be fortunate, and that of all things in the universe which are capable of harming man, not one has shewn any malignity against him, in gratitude for which he proposes to devote himself and all that is his to the service of his benefactor.

The letter is in Latin; the monarch styles himself Carolus Magnus, which appears highly unlikely, and he terms the pontiff Summus Antistitum Antistes, but this is not in itself improbable, as the Papal claim to Episcopal supremacy was fully developed at the beginning of the ninth century. It is needless to say that there is no such document preserved in the Vatican Library; furthermore, there are no letters of Charlemagne extant, and, despite the encouragement he gave to men of learning and the Academy mentioned by Alcuin, it is not at all certain that he could either read or write.

Lastly, while it is quite true that his empire included Germany, as it did also Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and part of Italy, after his coronation it is much more probable that he would have styled himself Emperor of the Romans.

There is, in fact, no colourable pretence of genuineness about the so-called autograph letter, or to be precise it betrays itself--as I have indeed suggested already. This fact being established, we may proceed to the consideration of the alleged date of publication--Rome, This edition is mentioned by Pierre Christian in his Histoire de la Magie, and he defends the authenticity of the Enchiridion p. A second edition is said to have been printed at Rome in ; between and it appeared four times at Lyons and once at Mayence.

In it was published for the last time at Rome. Unfortunately for the purposes of this criticism, the examples of and have been alone available. The first claims to be nuperrime mendis omnibus purgatum, but it has been evidently in the hands of a Grimoire maker, and it appears to have been edited and extended in the Grimoire interest.

Outside these Orisons the modern accent of the work is unmistakable, and it is difficult to understand how any instructed person, much less a bibliophile like M. Christian, could have been deceived by it. It is certain, however, that when he approached the secret sciences, their substitutes and their memorials in literature, he depended more on his imagination than on his knowledge or research.

The work itself, as already said, is simply a collection of religious charms, effectual against all the perils to which every sort and condition of men may be made subject on land, on water, from open and secret enemies, from the bites of wild and rabid beasts, from poisons, from fire, from tempests. While it thus ensures against evil, it gives happiness in domestic matters and in the enterprises which contribute to prosperity and to the pleasures of a contented life.

The proviso is that p. When a copy of the book has been secured, it must be placed in a small bag of new leather, so that it may be kept clean.

If a specific danger be apprehended, a page suitable to its nature should be selected. Reading must be done upon the knees, with the face turned to the east: "so did Charlemagne invariably. John, is declared to be the most potent of all the devotions in the book, and it is to be recited the most frequently. As to this latter point, it is said that a little reflection upon the infinite number of secret sympathies and antipathies found in different beings here below will explain how it is that such figures may be in sympathy with the Celestial Intelligences which govern this vast universe.

It will scarcely be necessary to observe that the doctrine of sympathies and antipathies is the very essence of Natural Magic, and connects it with the recondite branches. The mysterious figures referred to were originally nine in number, and in most cases recur several times.

The apparently unmeaning enumeration of various Divine Names is a special characteristic of Ceremonial Magic, and certainly makes the Enchiridion interlink with a cycle of literature from which it is otherwise thinly distinct. There is, indeed, little specific difference between the prayers which incorporate them and the Invocations which swarm in the Rituals. It may be added that the use of such Divine Names is supported by a mendacious reference to the Angelical Theology of Dionysius.

The prefatory matter ends at this point. The prose of the Gospel of St. John follows, with versicles and a prayer. Next come the Seven Penitential Psalms, with the Litany of the Saints, after which are the Mysterious Prayers of Pope Leo, followed by a multitude of others not less mysterious, and prevailing against human fragility, and so forth.

Forming part of this ceremony is the pseudo-epistle addressed by Jesus Christ to King Abgar, explaining why our Saviour could not come Himself to that monarch, and promising to send His disciple Thaddeus when He had fulfilled the work given Him by His Father.

As it is difficult to say where the original Enchiridion actually begins, so it is uncertain where it ends. A variety of miscellaneous prayers are, however, attributed to well-known saints quite outside the Carlovingian period, and to Innocent IV. To complete the analysis of this curious collection, its most important practical part is here added, namely Footnotes This appears more evidently in the last Roman edition, which pretends to be based on all those which preceded it, including impressions published at Parma, Ancona and Frankfort which are now generally unknown.

The editor has, moreover, altered and rearranged, omitted and added at choice. He has supplied also a Key to the whole work, which is a short process for the government of evil spirits. The treatise is well known, or at least much talked of, and this is the original edition, belonging to the date claimed for it.


The Enchiridion of Pope Leo III

The Enchiridion is concerned chiefly with worldly, rather than spiritual, advantages. It is said to have been printed in Rome in , and again in Its magical virtue rests on a supposed letter from Charlemagne to Pope Leo, in which the former states that since receiving the Enchiridion he has never ceased to be fortunate. However, no such letter appears to be in the Vatican library, where it was supposed to be lodged. The charms that the Enchiridion contains are supposed to be effectual against all the dangers to which human flesh is heir—poison, fire, wild beasts, and tempests.


Pope Leo III






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