Demonology
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Goetia seal of solomon

The "Seal of Solomon" in the 17th-century grimoire The Lesser Key of Solomon

Seal of Solomon (Simple Version)

One simple form of the Seal

The Seal of Solomon (or Ring of Solomon; Arabic: Khātim Sulaymāni خاتم_سليمان) is the signet ring attributed to King Solomon in medieval Islamic tradition, later also in the Jewish Kabbalah and in Western occultism. It was often depicted in either a pentagram or hexagram shape; the latter also known as Shield of David or Star of David in Jewish tradition.

This magic ring variously gave Solomon the power to command the jinn both good and evil, or to speak with animals. Due to the proverbial wisdom of Solomon, his signet ring, or its supposed design, came to be seen as an amulet or talisman, or magical symbol or character in medieval and Renaissance-era magic, occultism and alchemy.

The legend of the Seal of Solomon was developed primarily by medieval Arabic writers, who related that the ring was engraved by the name of God and was given to the king directly from heaven. The ring was made from brass and iron, and the two parts were used to seal written commands to good and evil spirits, respectively. In one tale, a demon, either Asmodeus, or Sakhr, obtained possession of the ring and ruled in Solomon's stead for forty days. In a variant of the tale of the ring of Polycrates from Herodotus, the demon eventually threw the ring into the sea, where it was swallowed by a fish, caught by a fisherman, and served to Solomon.

In Islamic eschatology, the Beast of the Earth is equipped with both the Staff of Moses and the Seal of Solomon and uses the latter to stamp the nose of the unbelievers.

The date of origin legends surrounding the Seal of Solomon is difficult to establish. It is known that a legend of a magic ring with which the possessor could command demons was already current in the 1st century (Josephus 8.2 telling of one Eleazar who used such a ring in the presence of Vespasian), but the assocociation of the name of Solomon with such a ring is medieval. The Tractate Gittin (fol. 68) of the Mishnah has a story involving Solomon, Asmodeus, and a ring with the divine name engraved.

The specification of the design of the seal as a hexagram seems to arise from a medieval Arab tradition. The name "Solomon's seal" was given to the hexagram engraved on the bottom of drinking-cups in Arab tradition. In the Arabian Nights (chapter 20), Sindbad presented Harun al-Rashid with such a cup, on which the "Table of Solomon" was engraved. Hexagrams feature prominently in Jewish esoteric literature from the early medieval period, and some authors have hypothesized that the tradition of Solomon's Seal may possibly predate Islam and date to early Rabbinical esoteric tradition, or to early alchemy in Hellenistic Judaism in 3rd-century Egypt, but there is no positive evidence for this, and most scholars assume that the symbol entered the Kabbalistic tradition of medieval Spain from Arabic literature. The representation as a pentagram, by contrast, seems to arise in the Western tradition of Renaissance magic (which was in turn strongly influenced by medieval Arab and Jewish occultism); White Kennett (1660–1728) makes reference to a "pentangle of Solomon" with the power of exorcising demons.

The hexagram or "Star of David", which became a symbol of Judaism in the modern period and was placed on the flag of Israel in 1948, has its origins in 14th-century depictions of the Seal of Solomon. In 1354, King of Bohemia Charles IV prescribed for the Jews of Prague a red flag with both David's shield and Solomon's seal, while the red flag with which the Jews met King Matthias of Hungary in the 15th century showed two pentagrams with two golden stars.

Peter de Abano's Heptameron (1496) makes reference to the "Pentacle of Solomon" (actually a hexagram drawn on the floor in which the magician has to stand) to invoke various demons.

Lippmann Moses Büschenthal (d. 1818) wrote a tragedy with the title Der Siegelring Salomonis ("the signet-ring of Solomon"). An "Order of the Seal of Solomon" was established in 1874 in Ethiopia, where the ruling house claimed descent from Solomon.

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