STEGANOGRAPHY:

That is:

THE SURE ART

OF DISCLOSING

THE INTENTION OF

ONE’S MIND TO THOSE WHO ARE ABSENT

THROUGH SECRET WRITING;

BY

THATMOSTREVERENDANDFAMOUSMAN,

Johannes Trithemius, Abbot of Sponheim, &

Most Perfect Master of Natural

Magic.

PREFIXED TO THIS WORK IS ITS KEY, OR

a true introduction, composed by the Author himself;

HERETOFORE MUCH DESIRED BY MANY,

though seen by very few:

But now brought into the public domain for the sake of Students of

secret Philosophy.

With the Privilege & consent of his superiors.

printersDevice

FRANKFURT,

From the Printing Press ofMatthias Becker,Financed by

Johannes Berner.


In the Year 1606.

TO THE READER: HEATLH

Be advised, Candid Reader, of the letters R. & S.1 (which in this work are sometimes written on the page above numbers, sometimes above symbols, and at other times above words, or placed next to them in the margin). The one is the marking for a rubricated, or red coloring, the other for an inky or black color. You should see to it that each of the titles of each of the chapters is likewise painted & decorated in red. The significance of this you may seek in the Key prefixed to this work. Be well.


1. The letters R and S stand for the German Rot, “red”, and Schwarz “black”.

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H E R E   B E G I N N E T H

THE FIRST BOOK OF THE

STEGANOGRAPHIA OF JOHANNES TRITHEMIUS

Abbot of Sponheim, of the Order of St. Benedict,

in the Diocese of Mainz,

T O

THE MOST SERENE PRINCE,

LORD PHILIP, COUNT PALATINE

of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Prince Elector

of the Sacred Empire, etc.

 

I T is the opinion of the learned that whenever the ancient sages, whom in the Greek language we call Philosophers, discovered any secret of art or nature, they concealed it through various modes and figures lest the knowledge of it should fall into the hands of the wicked. That even Moses, the famed leader of the Israelite race, in his description of the creation of Heaven and Earth, concealed with simple words the ineffable arcana of these mysteries, all the scholars of the Jews confirm. Amongst our own, the divine and learned Jerome affirms that there are almost as many mysteries lying hidden in the Apocalypse of John as there are words. The wise men of the Greeks, held in not small esteem by their fellows, I shall pass over. I will likewise omit our erudite philosophers and poets who, through a deeply wise invention, endeavored when composing their fables to relate in a single narration one thing to the ignorant and another to the learned. And even though I myself, on account of the slowness of my abilities, am not able to imitate fully these studious lovers of Wisdom, nevertheless I admire them and, insofar as I am able, do not omit to read them with diligence. For when I consider the grand things that these men beyond all others have conceived through their studies, I begin to chafe with a certain vehemence until I grow warm and I force myself toward some emulation of my predecessors, even the most recent ones. And this dispostion has not, I belive, entirely failed me since through constant reading I have learned many things that I had not known before and through my cogitations I have unlocked a door to the investigation of secrets that are utterly hidden to others. For even though I am neither so learned nor industrious as to dare profess that I have grasped fully the method of the ancient sages for concealing mysteries, nevertheless, I have uncovered certain ways, both numerous and varied, that are not (so it seems to me) to be entirely spurned whereby I can intimate my most secret thoughts to another who knows this art, however far away I wish, securely and free from the deceit, suspicion, or detection by anyone, using writing or openly through messengers. The new discovery of this most secret art I have committed to writing at the insistence of the Most Serene Prince, Lord Philip, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria and Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire and a most wise Maecenas to all philosophers. There did not seem to me anyone more worthy than him to whom this great secret should be revealed and it is not without supreme effort that I have compiled the volume before you. But lest this great secret should reach the ears of the ignorant masses or wicked men, I judged it to be not the last accounting of my duty to envelope it in mysteries since it teaches the unknowing to understand mysteries. And I did this in such a way that no one from the number of the ignorant (no one unless he is most studious) will by his own power be able to penetrate completely the arcana of this new science to the full extent of our meaning — unless, that is, through its direct reception from a teacher, what the Hebrews call Cabala which is preeminent among the occult mysteries. Nor is it the case that the knowledge of this secret art, divulged to the wicked and perverse, would harm the State less than it would benefit were it divulged to good men. For just as good men and those who have a zeal for virtue put every discovery to a good and communal use, thus do evil and perverse men hunt opportunities to corrupt not only what was established for evil, but also what had been established as good and sacred. Somthing similar can happen to our secret discovery which is otherwise honest and useful to the State. For just as it offers itself as an instrument for good in the hands of good and holy men, so does it present itself to the impious and the perverted as an aid to their crimes. And just as a good man and a lover of honesty may for his private benefit or the public good notify, express and intimate his secret intentions to another who knows this art, at whatever distance, at any time, whenever and however often he wishes, securely, secretly and free from the suspicion of any mortal man, completely, copiously and fully, whether through messages that are overt and open to all or through sealed missives (such that no one, however clever or attentive could suspect anything of the sender’s secret, nor, even if he did suspect, could he detect anything) — so too will every slithering pervert and criminal, as soon as he acquires this art, start writing well-composed letters in Latin, even if he was entirely ignorant of the Latin language beforehand (which if I taught him he could pick up in at most two days); these letters could be narrations about anything, open to anyone, elegant and well-adorned, addressed either to me or to someone esle who is skilled in this art in which, with a Cabalistic power, he can enshroud his secret intentions — accessible to me alone — in mysteries so great that absolutely no one, however studious or clever, will be able penetrate them without the spirits that belong to this art which I shall soon describe. Letters of this sort can be written by the educated and the ignorant, men and women, the young and the old, the good and the bad, the chaste and the licentious, in Latin or in whatever language of whatever clime of the globe they know, using the Latin, Greek or a barbarian alphabet, in which they can express overtly, and free from all suspicion, one thing to those who do not know this art and something esle covertly to those who know. Nor would the trust between a husband and wife, though ratified by sacrament, remain safe if this knowledge were made public amongst scoundrels. For a married woman, though she may be ignorant of Latin, can nevertheless fully discern the wicked and shameless intentions of her adulterous lover in the chaste, honest and holy words he has written to her in any language whatsoever and in a fairly educated style. And it may be her husband himself who brings her the letter while praising its goodness. And she can convey her desires back to him securely in the same way, as broadly and expansively as she wishes, in the same or another letter, in beautiful and quite ornate sentences. For though this knowledge is good in and of itself and quite useful to the State, nevertheless if it reached the attention of twisted men (God forbid), over time the whole order of the State would become disturbed, and not in a small way. Public trust would be in peril. Every letter, document and writ, and even people’s very conversations would fall under the gravest suspicion. No one without trepidation would believe anything written, however holy and honest. Seldom would anyone put their trust in a letter since however honest and chaste the words, one would always think some trickery, fraud or deception was underneath. People would become fearful of everyone and in general suspicious of their friends no less than their enemies. Nor could anyone, even if he lived a thousand years with his teacher, become so learned and expert in this science that there would not still remain infinite ways of writing secretly, covertly and securely with this same art – ways sufficient for every operation that can be devised at the whim of any other expert – which he and his instructor have yet to learn. For just as the good and bad aerial spirits created by God on high to assist and profit us (through an understanding of which, all the secrets of this art are revealed) are infinite beyond number and utterly incomprehensible, so likewise all the ways, methods, distinctions, characteristics and operations of this our art which we call Steganography (which keeps secrets and arcana and mysteries completely safe from exposure to any mortal, however studious or clever) cannot be accessed in full. This science is a chaos of infinite depth which no one can comprehend completely. For however expert and adept you may be in this art, you will always have learned less than what you do not know. This most deep and secret art has the property that it easily makes the student incomparably more learned than his teacher, as I have said, provided that he is disposed by nature to advance and that he is diligent in what he has learned in the Cabalistic tradition. And lest there be some reader of this work who, while proceeding through it, should take offense at the frequent names, offices, ranks, distinctions, properties, prayers and any of the other operations of the spirits by whose intelligences1 all the secrets of this science are sealed and opened, believing or assuming that I am a necromancer and a magus, or that I have entered into a pact with demons, or that I have used or use any superstition whatsoever, I deemed it necessary and opportune to preempt this by vindicating with the truth my name and reputation from so great a blemish, outrage, fault and stain by means of a solemn protestation in this prologue.

Protest-ation or sworn oath of the Author on the innocence of this art, &c.
Therefore I say and openly before Almighty God, before whom absolutely nothing can be hidden, and openly before Jesus Christ, his only begotten son who will judge the living and the dead, in truth I say, I swear and I protest: Each and everything that I have said in this work, or am about to say, and all the properties, methods, figures, operations, traditions, conventions, formations, inventions, foundations, modifications and alterations of this art or science and everything which pertains to its contemplation, contrivance, acquisition, operation and practice, whether in part or in whole, and everything which is contained within this volume of ours, relies upon true, catholic and natural principles and each and everything is done in accordance with God in good conscience and without injury to the Christian faith, preserving the integrity of Ecclesiastic tradition, without any superstition, without idolatry, without any pact with malign spirits whether explicit or implicit, without any incense-burning, adoration, veneration, worship, sacrifice or offerings to demons and free from all fault and sin whether venial or mortal, and that each and everything is done in accordance with truth, rectitude, sincerity and purity since the knowledge of this invention and its application to good ends is not indecent for a man who is wise and a good and faithful Christian. For I am also a Christian and voluntarily bound to monastic practice, and I desire to live and abide not otherwise than as befits a true Christian and professed monk under the rule of the divine father Benedict. I received that same Catholic faith while in my cradle according to the tradition of the Holy Roman Church, and I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. This faith, in accordance with the universal Church of all Christians, I hold, I believe and so long as I live I shall with the help of God keep it always and firmly inviolate in my heart, in my speech and in my work, and it is my intention never to deviate from it at any time. Far be it from me either to learn or teach anything that is contrary to Christian faith and purity, offensive to holy morals or adverse to our professed rule.2 I fear God and I have sworn myself to his worship from which I shall never be separated in life and, as I trust, in death.

This protestation of mine I have placed at the beginning of this whole work not without reason because I know there will be many bent on injury who, since they cannot understand what we have written, will dismiss our good and holy studies as evil arts and superstitious contrivances. To these, since these there will be, and to all who will read these disquisitions of ours, we eagerly entreat that if you can understand this secret tradition of ours, keep it secret forever and do not spill such wonderful mysteries out amongst the public. But if you do not understand (which we know will be the case for many), learn before you censure. For he shows himself a rash judge who issues a sentence in a case before understanding the truth of it. Learn first this art, then judge. But if you cannot understand it, blame not it (since it is good) but your dull abilities. For I know and am certain that no one of sound mind can censure this work of ours unless it happens that he is completely ignorant. But those who are more familiar with spurning wisdom than learning it, I neither desire nor wish them to enter into these our mysteries.

 

1. intelligentias in this context is a technical term of medieval cosmography denoting any incorporeal, supraterrestrial agency, associated especially with the various celestial spheres and by extension any angel or spirt. Cf. in particular Trithemius’ 1508 treatise De septem secundeis, id est, intelligentiis, sive spiritibus, orbes post Deum moventes.

2. The rule of St. Benedict.

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Chapter 1.

THE KEY AND OPERATION OF WHICH

is held by the spirit-prince Pamersyel, anoyr madriel, through the assistance of ebra sothean abrulges itrasbiel. And nadres ormenu itules rablion hamorphiel. An overture to them is made first of all with an exorcism.

nym di ersten bugstaben de omni uerbo

[take the first letters of every word]

T

HE operation of this first chapter is very difficult and full of danger on account of the haughtiness and rebellion of its spirits who do not obey anyone save him who is most skilled in this art. For not only do they disobey novices and those less proven in this art, but oftentimes they vex and assail with various illusions those who press them too far. They are malicious and untrustworthy above all the other aerial spirits and they obey no one completely unless compelled by the most powerful rites. They often unfaithfully reveal to others the secret which has been entrusted to them, for as soon as they have been despatched with their letters, they fly off and burst in upon him to whom they were sent, entirely without order, like a mob fleeing a battle without any leader. Raving mad they speed about and by filling the air with their shouts they often reveal the sender’s secrets to everyone around. We advise, therefore, that no one who wishes to use this art summon them, nor call upon their aid for anything critical since they are insolent and untrustworthy, while many of those about whom we shall speak later may be found sufficiently benevolent and they will present themselves of their own accord ready to obey. But if anyone wants to fully experience their insolence and to test that what we have said is true, let him know that this method must be observed: Let him prepare with an invocation of the divine name, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the paper on which he will write. Next let him write on it any simple and open narration he wants such that anyone who reads it can understand it, whether in Latin, his native tongue, or any other language. And when he has sat down to write, facing towards the East, let him summon the spirits thusly:

Pamerſiel oshurmy delmuſon Thafloyn peano charuſtea melany, lyaminto colchan, paroys, madyn, moerlay, bulre † atloor don melcoue peloin, ibutſyl meon mysbreath alini driaco perſon. Criſolnay, lemon aſosle mydar, icoriel pean thalmō, aſophiel il notreon banyel ocrimos eſteuor naelma beſrona thulaomor fronian beldodrayn bon otalmeſgo mero fas elnathyn boſramoth.

sum taly cautala it pryme lytore cuiuslybet diccionys secretam intencionem tuam reddant legenty

[take care such that the first letters of each word return to the reader your secret meaning]

When he has said this, and he sees the spirits present themselves ready to obey, he may then continue the work begun. But if they have not appeared, let him repeat what has been said as many times as necessary until they do appear, or let him cease altogether lest the spirits, urged too strongly, harm the operator. And when you have finished writing the intended letter, send it with a messenger to a friend who is proven in this art. When he receives it let him say this conjuration:

Lamarton anoyr bulon madriel traſchon ebraſothea panthenon nabrulges Camery itrasbier rubanthy nadres Calmoſi ormenulan, ytules demy rabion hamorphyn.

nym di ersten bugstaben de omny uerbo

[take the first letters of every word]

Having said these things he will soon understand your mind completely. The spirits will then of their own accord forcibly present themselves and shout such that in general others present will also be able to perceive the sender’s secret. But make sure to affix the proper sign upon every message that you send which is written with this art so that the he to whom you write will know which spirits you have used. For if he employs one set of spirits to understand your message, but you have used a different set to send it, they will never in all eternity obey him, and instead of performing their contracted operation they will assault him and in no way reveal your secret. For every spirit we use in this art heeds only the orders and offices entrusted to him and involves himself not at all in the affairs of any other. Consider diligently everything which we have said in this chapter and you will easily be able to understand what we shall say in the following chapters. And in order to demonstrate what we have written by way of an example, let us put our message in common speech which subsequently we shall make known to a friend using the aforesaid method.

Red.

LET THIS BE THE SECRET INTENTION

in the mind of some prince that he wishes his absent vassal to know.

LIeber Getrewer/wir ſeyn in willens/durch redliche vrſach die von Straßburg zubekriegen vnnd mit gantzer macht zuvberfallen auff nechſt Mitwochen nach Viti vnd Modeſti. Iſt darumb vnſer ernſtliches begeren an dich/als du vns mit Eyndt vnd Gelübde verwandt biſt/vnd zugetrewen dienſten verbunden: Du wölleſt auf denſelbigen Tag wolgerüft/nach deinem vermögen/vmb vier nach Mittemtage bey Strauffenburg in dem Walde erſcheinen (Hic ita erant literæ positæ) weitern beſcheid daſelbſt finden würdeſt/nach zukommen vnd nit außbleiben/Wöllen wir in gnaden gegen dich erkennen un̄ behalt dieſen vnſer Anſchlag bey dir in hoher geheim/⁊c.

[Dear and faithful vassal, with just cause we intend to wage war against Strassburg and to attack with full force on next Wednesday, after the feast of Vitus and Modestus. It is therefore our sincere desire of you, as you are obligated to us with oath and vows and bound to faithful service, that you shall on that selfsame day appear before Stauffenburg in the forest well armed, according to your ability, at about four in the afternoon. (The letters were positioned here like so.1) You shall find yourself further instructed after returning and not being absent. We wish to show favor towards you and to keep this our attack in high secrecy, etc.]

Red.

TO MAKE THIS SECRET KNOWN

To the vassal along with the sender’s broad intent let it be written in this or some other way:

OMnipotēs sempiterne Deus qui ominia creasti ex nihilo, miserere nostri per vnigenti filij tui in cruce morientis amarissimam passionem, qui cōceptus de spiritu sacnto sine cōmixtione virili natus est ex purissima semper Virgine Maria tradensque se pro nobis voluntarie in mortē suo sanctissimo cruore animas nostras moriēs de morte liberauit. Exaudi nos miseros ō clementissime pater, & per eiusdem filij tui dulcissimi Domini nostri Iesu Christi sacratissimi sanguinis effusionē indulge nobis peccata nostra & infunde cordibus nostris gratiā tuā, vt te in omnib & super omnia syncero feruore diligentes mādatis tuis semper cū deuotione obediamus, & mutuo amore iugiter proficiētes nihil deinceps amemus terrenū, nihil quæramus caducum. Tu enim es Dominus Deus noster, qui nos ad imaginē & similitudinem tuam ab initio creasti cum nō essemus: & per dilectū filium tuum redemisti, cum perijssemus: qeum mortuum pro peccatis nostris & sepultum tertia die à mortuis resuscitasti, eumque gaudentibus suis discipulis, viuum per dies quadraginta in multa consolatione ostendit. Ipsum verum Deum & hominem pura & firmissima confessione tecum in tua incircumscriptibili maiestate sine fine regnātem in fine mundi denuo credimus esse venturum ad iudicandum viuos & mortuos, & redditurum unicuique nostrum secundum opera sua. Per ipsum te rogamus, ō Clementissime pater, exaudi nos & miserere nobis nunc & in illa terribili hora, in qua per ipsum filium tuum iudicandi sumus. Respice in nos misericordissime Deus: sumus enim fragiles, & miserandi peccatores, bonis operibus nudi, qui sanctissimam Maiestatem tuam peccando in multis offendimus. Sed misericordia tua conuersi ad pœnitentiam pro peccatis nostris lachrymantes gemimus: per Iesum Christum filium tuum humiliter deprecantes, vt auertas indignationem tuam à nobis, indulgeasque nobis clementer transacta crimina, perducens nos præsenti terminato exilio ad amœnitatem patriæ Cœlestis. Ioan. Trithemius scripsit.
[Almighty, eternal God who has created everything from nothing, have mercy upon us for the sake of the most bitter suffering of your only begotten son who died upon the cross, who was conceived from the holy spirit without any masculine intercourse and born of the most pure, ever-Virgin Mary, who surrendered himself voluntarily to death for our sake and, in dying, freed our souls from death through his most holy blood. Hear us, we who are wretched, O most merciful father and by the spilling of that most holy blood of him, your most cherished son and our Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us our sins and pour your grace into our hearts so that always in all things we may obey you with devotion and so that we may be above all diligent with a sincere fervor towards your commands and so that, continually advancing with mutual love we may thereafter love nothing earthly, nor seek out anything perishable. For you are our Lord God who in the beginning, when we existed not, created us in your image and likeness and, when we had been destined for death, you redeemed us through your beloved son who died for our sins and was buried and whom on the third day you raised from the dead and revealed alive to his joyful disciples for forty days to their great consolation. That he is true God and man, we believe with a pure and most firm confession, and that he rules with you in your unbounded majesty without end, and we believe that at the end of the world he will come once more to judge the living and the dead and render to each and every one of us according to the deeds of each. For his sake we beseech you, O most merciful father; hear us and have mercy upon us now and in that terrible hour when we shall be judged by him your son. Look upon us, most merciful God, for we are fragile and pitiful sinners, naked of good works, who have offended your most holy majesty by sinning in many things. But turned by your mercy to repentance for our sins and full of tears we moan: For the sake of Jesus Christ your son we humbly pray you, avert your indignation from us, forgive us with mercy the crimes we have committed, end our present exile and lead us back to the comfort of our celestial home. Written by Joh. Trithemius.2]

Write a simple and open narration of this sort, or any other that you want, which anyone can read and understand and which contains nothing secret and which you do not fear coming to the notice of anyone. Write this on the aforementioned piece of paper, as we have said, with a conjuration made to the spirits while facing towards the East. Once the narration is written, express directly to the spirits the secret that you wish someone who is not present to know. Call upon the spirits to bear witness that they will act faithfully and then straightaway they will fly off. When your letter has been received by him to whom it was sent and when he recognizes the sign of the East, let him face towards the East and say the conjuration which we introduced earlier, Lamarton, anoyr, and immediately he will understand for certain your secret which you have entrusted to the spirits.

 

1. Hic ita erant literæ positæ. I have translated literæ here as “letters” despite the same word being used just a few sentences prior to clearly mean “letter” as in epistle. This brief sentence, which is in Roman script and not fraktur like the surrounding text, seems so out of place that I interpret it to be a typesetting instruction that mistakenly got printed. Typographical flotsam of this sort is common in printed works from the period and in the Steganographia in particular.

2. This is the only “example” message in the Steganographia that does not actually function as an example. Presumably this is because the Pamersiel technique is sufficiently transparent (or “full of dangers” as Trithemius says) that it would risk exposing the book’s concealment stratagem far too easily. It seems plausible that there could be a message here concealed with a more complex technique, but if so I have yet to identify it. As I add more functionality (ahem, “spirits”) to the Spirit Summoner, this is a text I will continue to check.

Red.

FOR KNOWING THE LOCATIONS OF THE SPIRITS,

their names and symbols, these notes are subjoined.

BUT since it is necessary for every operator of this science to know the locations and names of the spirit-princes, as well as their symbols, lest through ignorance he calls from the North a spirit who resides in the South — for not only will the spirit hinder his intent, but it may even harm the operator — I shall place before you sequentially in a circle the sectors wherein the spirit-princes reside, together with their names and symbols.
In this figure, due to the carelessness of the engraver, Podiel is read instead of Padiel & Cimuel instead of Camuel

Red

Spirit Sectors

Here now you have all the sectors of the globe which, in the operation of the art of this book, must be known first and before all else. Without an awareness of these things, no effect in this art will ensue.

Again, it is incumbent upon you to know the first deputies of each of the spirit-princes (and how many in number they are) to whom secret mysteries are entrusted. And so that you may know their ranks, how they are called and, again, how they are dispatched to their duties; how many illuminators they have in the day and, at night, how many who flee the light; who are their friends and how many enemies are they wont to fear; I shall teach you about all of these things in the present table which is called the Table of Direction.

Black Red B. R. B. R. B.
East Pamersiel Pamersiel 1000. 10000. 100. 0.0.
East-Southeast Padiel Padiel 10000. 200000. 10. 0.0.
Southeast Camuel Camuel 10. 10. 10. 10.0.
South-Southeast Aseliel Aseliel 10. 20. 10. 0.10.
South Barmiel Barmiel 10. 20. 10. 20.0.
South-Southwest Gediel Gediel 20. 20. 10.0 10.0.
Southwest Asyriel Asyriel 20. 20. 120.0 10.
West-Southwest Maseriel Maseriel 30. 30. 10.0 0.10
West Malgaras Malgaras 30. 30. 0.30. 210.
West-Northwest Dorothiel Dorothiel 40. 40. 0.40 30.0.
Northwest Usiel Usiel 40. 40. 0.30. 0.0.
North-Northwest Cabariel. Cabariel 50. 50. 80.0. 80.0.
North Raysiel Raysiel 50. 50. 80.0. 0.80.
North-Northeast Symiel Symiel 10. 1000. 10. 100.
Northeast Armadiel Armadiel 1000. 180. 810. 00.
East-Northeast Baruchas Baruchas 10. 180. 810. 00.

By “East” here I want you to understand not where the sun rises on some random day, but that place where in the beginning it was created, the place we call “Equinoctial”. For if you do not diligently observe this consideration, you will not be able to have profit in this art. But now I shall teach you the order of this table so that from one spirit you may understand them all. Let us take, then, Malgaras for example, through whom an operation in this art is made in the ninth chapter of this first book. He is of the West, and his sign is this: Malgaras He has beneath him thirty who preside during the day and who have great authority to chase away spirits of the darkness. Subordinate to these are another thirty who preside during the night and who abide always in the dark and never come into the light except at the command of their princes to whom they are at all times subject. And these in turn have beneath them others who are like guards and attendants subject by full oath. Sometimes thirty, sometimes twenty, sometimes ten, and sometimes all of them together at the same time sally forth at the command of their princes in this order: namely, that however many of them from the second or third rank are summoned by an operator who has great powers at his command, the same number of guards and subservients will come with them to their prince, who is Malgaras. Again, beneath these are others such as messengers and porters of uncertain number who often come intermixed with them. We do not have the names of all of these spirits. But that which is necessary for the operator to know we shall express in its appropriate chapter. And note that all of these spirits, together with their prince-commander (whoever it may be) are in the sector of the world that is assigned to them, as is clear from the table.

 

Red.

Chapter 2.

WHOSE PRINCE IS CALLED PADIEL

Of the East-Southeast, having under him 10,000 diurnal and 200,000 nocturnal ministers and many other subservients whose number is uncertain.

S

INCE, as we said in the previous chapter, Pamersiel, together with his aforementioned spirits, is implacable and unfaithful, disobedient generally to everyone desiring to operate in this art, and hardly obeying those who are most expert in it; therefore, in this chapter, we wish to make the art safer, and to demonstrate a mode of operating using better Spirits who are benevolent, prompt and cheerful to obey when called, and who arrive without delay when called in the proper time and manner. They execute faithfully and without any deception what has been entrusted to them. The first prince-commander and president of this operation is named Padiel; regarding the mansions of the Orb, he is of the East-Southeast, which is the first mansion past the East. He has under him ten thousand who preside over the day and all the diurnal operations of this art. These command and instruct the night Spirits who hide in the darkness and are in number two-hundred thousand, all of whom flee the light and day except for one who is the messenger to the presiding Spirits. All are good and benevolent, nor do they harm the operator unless he is malicious or less skilled in the art. There is no need to summon them all at once; a few will suffice and sometimes one may be enough for the operator whether the operation be nocturnal or diurnal. For since they are kind, quiet, and tranquil, they are more frequently found wandering alone than in a tumultuous multitude. Therefore, when you wish to operate through them, and to intimate through them a secret of your mind to someone however far away, do this: On a sheet of paper that has been prepared beforehand in the proper manner, as you know how, write whatever narration you wish and in whatever language as this makes no difference since he will perceive your mind not from the paper, but from the Spirits. As you write, turn towards the East-Southeast, and when you are finished speak this conjuration:

Padiel aporſy meſarpon omeuas peludyn malpreaxo. Conduſen, vlearo therſephi bayl merphon, paroys gebuly mailthomyon ilthear tamarſon acrimy lon peatha Caſmy Chertiel, medony reabdo, laſonti iaciel mal arti bulomeon abry pathulmon theoma pathormyn.

primus apex verby prymi ?iterameta? cetera diceat artem

[the first letter of the first word ?? the rest may speak the art]

When you have completed these words, you will see two or at least one of the spirits peacefully appear, ready to obey your will. Commit your secret to him, and he will faithfully execute what you have commanded. When your letter reaches him to whom they were sent via messenger, if he his alone, good, if he is with others, let him retreat to one side if he can, or if he cannot, let him turn to the East-Southeast and speak this conjuration silently:

Padiel ariel vanerhon chio tarſon phymarto merphon ampriſco ledabarym, elſophroy meſarpon ameorſy, paneryn atle pachumgel thearan utrul ut solubito beslontylas gomadyn triamy metarnothy.

recipyat apices prymos altern?uelnyatim?

[take the first letters alternately]

Having spoken these words correctly, the dispatched Spirit will appear to him and completely reveal, with no one else the wiser, whatever you had entrusted him to reveal, without deception and without any danger. No one evil or malicious will be able to operate with this art, but the more someone is good and pure, the more the Spirits will obey him willingly and cheerfully. And the more each operator conceals this science, the easier it will be for him to operate. Note also that this Padiel, together with his Spirits, has been charged with announcing secret advice for the correction, imprisonment, and punishment of malefactors, as we have shown in the example below.

Red.

A SECRET PLAN, TO BE ENTRUSTED

not to writing, but to the Spirits of the second mansion.

SOMEONE has been betrayed to the prince, accused of a crime of lèse-majesté, or some such offense. The prince wishes to punish him through his official who is far away, but he does not want to write to him lest his letter somehow be exposed, thereby alerting the accused who could flee, whether to resist with the combined forces of his friends, or to plot something sinister against his prince or his country’s laws. He writes to his prefect this or some other text that he does not fear being read by everyone. The secret, however, he entrusts to a Spirit, in the manner we explained above, who will faithfully relate the secret to him to whom he was sent, and who was previously instructed in this art.

Sinceram charitatem. Mitto tibi orationē pro deuotione pœnitentium, ſatis pulchre compoſitam, breuemque quam integra mentis meæ beneuolētia in te ſola possidere non voluit, & eſt talis ut ſequitur. Libera nos Ieſu Christe æterne ſaluator bonorum omnium & indulge reorum delicta, gemituſque nostros exaudi, mitigans tempeſtates vitiorum, renouanſque conscientiæ vetuſtatem, ad æternam nos reducito paradiſum. Bone Ieſu remitte nobis exorantibus peccata noſtra: quoniam grauiter offendiums & ſæpe relapſi ſumus. Dulciſsime ſaluator infirmitates noſtras ſana, quæſumus. Benignus eſto rogantibus te Ieſu pijſſime & nos famulos tuos ſupplicantes exaudi. Homines ſumus aſsiduis miſeriis inuoluti, maximiſque tempeſtatibus immerſi. Erue nos, tribulatorū conſolator victorioſiſſime; quoniam vita noſtra aſſidua infœlicitate ſepulta corrumpitur. Miſerere tantum Ieſu clementiſſime ſaluator, reſpice humilitatem te amātium & non permittas demergi nos exules in luto & turpitudine vitiorum, in amore ſæculi. Hucuſque torpentes iacuimus, vicijsque innodati noſtram paruipendimus ſalutem, futurique examinis minime recordati ſumus. Benigniſſime Creator eſto propitius famulis tuis, & ſalua lachrymantes quos decepit miſerrima vanitas mundi, viam (proh dolor) Veritatis negleximus omnes, ſed libera nos luto infixos exuleſque: quoniam Saluator noſter tu es Ieſu, qui neminem deſpicis gaudium indeficiens & ſempiterna fœlicitas ſanctorum es ſpes noſtra, Chriſtianorum gloria, Angelorum lumen, remunerator inuictorum Martyrum, corona virginum, honestas viduarum. Bone Ieſu exaudi nos humiles, clamantes ad te, libera nos de præſenti exilio, concedens nobis gratiam, vt ſine fine viuamus, viuifica quæſumus nos1 miſeros ſeruos tuos exules, quos redemiſti, vt zelum Iuſtitiæ verum conſequamur. Conſerua nos omnipotens Deus, maieſtas infinita, miſericordiæ incircumſcripta, æterna ſalus nobilium animorum. Amen. Finis orationis Ioan. Trithemij Abbatis.

lieber getrver brenger dis briefs hait etvvas mishandelt ist vnser befel dv vvollest in gefenglich behalden vf vnser zvcommen

[Dear and faithful vassal, the bearer of this letter has mishandled something. It is our order that you will hold him captive until our arrival.]

Sincere Charity.2 I am sending you a prayer as a devotion for those who repent. It is short and somewhat prettily composed, and the entire benevolence of my mind towards you did not wish to keep it all to itself. It is as follows: Free us, Jesus Christ, eternal savior of all good people and forgive the accused of their crimes. Hear our sighs, calm the storms of our vices, renew the old age of our conscience, lead us back to eternal paradise. Good Jesus, remove the sins from us who pray, for gravely have we offended and often have we relapsed. Most sweet savior, heal our infirmities, we beg you. Be kind to those who seek you, most pious Jesus, and hear us, your supplicant servants. We humans are wrapped up in unceasing miseries and sunk amidst the greatest storms. Rescue us, victorious consoler, from our tribulations, for our lives are shattered by unceasing unhappiness. Only have mercy, Jesus, most merciful savior; consider the humility of those who love you and do not allow us exiles to be drowned in the mud and filth of vice, amidst the love of worldly things. Hitherto we have lain numb; entangled in vice we have valued our salvation but little, we whom the scale will least record. Most benign Creator, show favor to your servants and save those who weep, those whom a most wretched vanity of the world has deceived. All of us have neglected (oh, the pain!) the way of Truth, but free us, we who are exiled and stuck in the mire. For you are our savior, Jesus, you who despise no one, you who are the unfailing joy and eternal felicity of the saints, you are our hope, you are the glory of the Christians, the light of the angels, the rewarder of the unconquered martyrs, the crown of the virgins, the honor of the widows. Good Jesus, hear us who are humble, who cry out to you. Free us from our present exile and bestow us with grace that we may live forever. Give life, we beg, to us your wretched, banished servants, whom you have redeemed, that we may obtain the true zeal of justice. Save us, almighty God, infinite majesty, unbounded mercy, eternal salvation of noble souls. Amen. Thus endeth the prayer of Johan. Trithemius, Abbot.

ANOTHER PRAYER, WHOSE CONJURATION IS

Padiel melion, parme, camiel buſayr, ilnoma, veno-ga, pamelochyn.3

1.2.padiel_interlinear

HANC quoque non indeuotam orationem accipito. Humanæ ſalutis amator, vniuerſorum creator maximus, nobis indixit obedientiam mandatorum cui omnes tenemur obedire ex amore, præmium vero obediētibus promiſit ſempiternæ fœlicitatis tabernaculum poſsidere Chriſti obedientiam inſpiciamus, quam imitari curemus, vt ad æternam fœlicitatem nobis promiſſam ingredi mereamur; angelorumque conſociari māſionibus ſempiternis. Agamus pœnitentiam dum poſſumus, tempus precioſum expendentes fructuoſe. Caueamus ne imparatos mors rapiat, quæ concedere moram alicui recuſat. Ideoque fratres agere pœnitentiam nō tradetis. Velociter enim ad vos mors veniet: quam nemo veſtrum diu euadere poteſt. Dies ergo veſtros tranſeuntes conſpicite pœnitentiam inchoantes, quando tempus habetis. Appropinquat hora decedēdi hinc. O mors rerum terribilium terribiliſſima, quam velociter nos miſeros conſumis incolatumque noſtrum breuiſſimum multis iniuriis plenū miſeris facis eſſe crudelem? Euigilemus miſeri Chirſto Ieſu Saluatore noſtro pijſſimo nos exhortante & conteſtante, vt turpes negligentias arguamus, & bonis operibus iuſtitiæ vias ſolicite cuſtodiamus. Alme redemptor generis humani exaudi nos, veniamque nobis tribue peccatorum. O pater miſericordiæ ſis nobis propitius in omnibus aduerſitatibus noſtris. Sana domine infirmas animas noſtras, quoniam tui ſumus, præſta nobis afflictis vermiculis requiem ſempiternæ amœnitatis, quatenus te ſemper aſpiciendo laudemus. Amen. Ioan. Trith. Spanheimenſis ædidi, 1500.

hac nocte post xii veniam ad te circa ianvam qve dvcit ad ortvm ibi me exspectabis age vt omnia sint parata§

[Tonight after 12 I will come to you near the door that leads to the garden. Wait for me there. Make sure that everything is prepared.]

Accept also this not undevoted prayer: Lover of human salvation, greatest creator of all things who has enjoined us to obey your commands, you whom all of us must from love obey, who has promised to those who obey the prize of possessing the tabernacle of eternal happiness, let us look to the obedience of Christ, let us take care to imitate it, that we may deserve to enter into the eternal happiness promised to us and be admitted into the everlasting dwelling places of the angles. Let us do penance while we can and spend our precious time fruitfully. Let us beware that death, who refuses to concede a delay to anyone, not seize us unprepared. And so, brothers, do not give up repenting, for death will come to you swiftly, death whom none of you can long avoid. Observe therefore your days as they pass by and begin penance when you have time. The hour of departure from here is approaching. O Death, most terrible of terrible things! How swiftly do you consume us who are wretched and make our brief residence here cruel and full of many miseries and pains? Wretches, let us stay awake for Christ Jesus our most pious savior who exhorts us and calls us to bear witness that we may condemn foul negligence and carefully guard the paths of justice with good works. Gentle redeemer of the human race, hear us and grant us pardon for our sins. O father of mercy, be near to us in all our adversities. Lord heal our sickly souls, for we belong to you. Grant us, afflicted with worms, a rest of everlasting comfort so that by always looking upon you we may always praise you. Amen. I, Johannes Trithemius of Sponheim, composed this, 1500.


1. Text: non.

2. Latin missives conventionally open with a list of what the sender wishes for the recipient, e.g., the standard S.P.D (Salutem Plurimam Dat / Dicit — “sends much health”). This salutation of this letter, however, is especially abrupt.

3. If the conjuration itself contains a secret message, I have not identified it.

†. The hidden message in this incantation is garbled and I cannot reconstruct it. Nevertheless, the technique of the Padiel cipher is clear from the two examples provided in this chapter.

‡. This incantation is likewise garbled, though less severely than the one that immediately precedes it.

§. Here the words Christi and Christo in the covertext yield the letter x, not c, in the plaintext.

Camuel is not here yet.  

Aseliel is not here yet.  

Barmiel is not here yet.