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"Despite my warning, I glance at the page. It is blank. Both pages are blank. Suddenly, symbols fill my mind!"
―Giovanni Borgia looking at the Book.[src]
The Philosopher's Stone

Bombastus reading the Book

The Book of Abraham was a pair of journals written by Nicolas Flamel, which contained the learnings of Abraham of Würzburg. It was broken up into volumes, each of which were initially in the hands of different owners until the late 1800s.

The Book was an unadorned tome with a silvered cover, which seemed to be made up of blank pages. However, it filled people's minds with ideas when read.



Shell Of A Man

Johan, after reading the Book

Around 1520, Bombastus held possession of the Book, and kept it in his laboratory in Basel.[1]

Once, after having looked at the Book, Bombastus' apprentice Johan apparently went mad, once raving that "My mind is a small, small cup. Overfilled! Bursting! Cracked!" This suggested that madness could come from learning too much from the Book at once. To guard against this, Bombastus often read the Book with his hands at the sides of his eyes as blinders.[1]

When Giovanni Borgia read the Book's pages in 1520, he was enlightened by knowledge of a certain formula, which he quickly wrote down. Upon following the instructions, he and Bombastus discovered it to be the method of crafting the Philosopher's Stone.[1]

Search for the Second Half[]

Giovanni: "The answers we seek are in this book of yours!"
Bombastus: "The book is not the answer! The book is... is not... I can help you no longer!"
—Giovanni and Bombastus arguing over the Book.[src]

In 1527, Giovanni returned to Bombastus to ask further questions, none of which Bombastus answered. Giovanni then demanded that he read the Book, as it held the answers he needed, but Bombastus confessed that it was incomplete, and that he would need "the other half."[2]

Giovanni then began to research at the university library, along with one of Bombastus' apprentices, Maria Amiel. They discovered that the Book was one of a pair of journals written by a French alchemist, Flamel, which contained the knowledge of Abraham of Würzburg. The first was entitled "True Magic," and the second, "Divine Science."[2]


A translated manuscript of the second half of the Book

The two travelled to the Louvre to search for the manuscript, and discovered that the nephew of Perenelle Flamel had inherited a grimoire. They searched the man's house, but only discovered that the grimoire had been "translated by human hands," and that only the original would suffice.[2]

The translation they found contained the teachings of Pythagoras and other Hermetic practices, prompting Giovanni to recall the Temple of Pythagoras[2] that had once been explored by Ezio Auditore and Leonardo da Vinci.[3]

Return to Basel[]

Upon discovering a spy who knew about their search for the Book, Giovanni and Maria returned to Basel, fearing for Bombastus' life. However, they soon discovered that the professor had gone mad, much as Johan once had, burning books and demanding that doctors halt their "unholy practices."[2]

After leaving Bombastus at a friend's house for care, they broke into his laboratory to steal the first half of the Book, and then travelled into the Pythagorean Vault.[2]


Kelley: "The book has boundless potential! I need your help, to unlock its formulas!"
Dee: "You should not fiddle with this book, Kelley! You cannot imagine the evil it contains!"
—Kelley and Dee arguing over the Book.[src]

In 1587, Edward Kelley and John Dee were in possession of the Book, which Kelley had received from an associate of his, Master Husey. Kelley successfully used it to transmute gold, but Dee eventually discovered its negative effects, particularly on Kelley.[4]


Dee leaving with the Book, as Kelley's stepdaughter tries to stop him

After seeing how obsessed Kelley had become with the Book, Dee attempted to convince him to give it up. As a result, the two once-close friends frequently argued; rarely speaking, but shouting at each other if ever they did. Finally, Dee simply stole the Book and left, declaring that "The secrets it holds are not meant for him."[4]

After this, Kelley was left to experiment with different methods to transmute gold, though everything he tried was ineffectual He neither slept nor ate for weeks, and was driven mad by his fruitless efforts, and the mental damage the Book had caused.[4]

Eventually, Kelley took his own life by jumping from the roof of the prison in which he was being held, whispering with his last breath that "Dee... was... wise..."[4]

Joining of the Volumes[]

"Giovanni had only one part of the now rather famous "Book of Abraham." Unfortunately for him, he never found the original "Divine Science" part. [...] Many years later, toward the end of the nineteenth century, these ancient tomes resurfaced."
Frater V.O.V. commenting on the Book.[src]
PL-Sapere Aude

Two volumes of the Book, c.1891

Nearing the end of the 19th century, the now famous Book of Abraham resurfaced. According to William Robert Woodman, the complete collection of volumes came into the hands of a co-founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Samuel Liddell Mathers.[5]

Using these volumes, Mathers set out to personally write a translation of them, though another friend of his, William Wynn Westcott, vehemently protested this. Mathers rebuked him, saying that "This translation is for us. These secrets, these ancient formulas, they shall remain ours, and ours alone."[5]

Westcott countered by saying that he knew of Mathers' scheme to have the translations of the Book published. As the two argued, William lamented that – as Giovanni had once realized years ago – a mere copy or translation of the volume was essentially useless.[2][5]

Some time later, Westcott planned a coup to throw Mathers from the Hermetic Order. However, Mathers was a step ahead of him, and used an acolyte named Edmund William Berridge to discreetly give the authorities evidence of Westcott's interest in black magic, forcing him to leave the Order.[5]

Upon returning to the founder's private sanctum however, Mathers' was infuriated to find that the entire volume of books had gone missing.[5]


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