Selections De Livre D'Ivon
French commentary on Latin original by Gaspar du Nord
A parchment bundle, 10” by 15”; 179 pages. The pages are obviously old, and have suffered from both the elements and the negligence of past owners. The most obvious damage to the work is that the back edge of each sheet is ragged. The work is handwritten and copiously illuminated with grotesque faces, obscene marginalia, and a recurring curious sigil resembling a triskelion. While it is obvious that Roman characters are used, the condition and age of the manuscript makes the language difficult to determine, but judging from the paper and script used, an expert can date the creation of this work to the mid to late 15th century though the language is a Norman variant of French from an earlier period.
The book purports to be a commentary 1 on the Liber Ivonis (Book of Eibon), a work supposedly written by Eibon, a sorcerer in distant antiquity. The author of the commentary is one Gaspar du Nord, a self-proclaimed sorcerer from Averoigne, a region in south central France. The discussion within, written in an elliptical and didactic manner, is a wideranging commentary on ancient and contemporary theology, magical ritual, and fantastic history. The author focuses upon the lives and magical discoveries of several antediluvian sorcerers in a kingdom called “Hyperborea,” with a particular emphasis on “Eibon,” the supposed author of the original work. Eibon apparently entered into some sort of pact with a powerful being (perhaps a god?) known as Sathojuè, granting him both greater magical abilities and access to arcane secrets. Other powerful beings and species are mentioned in only passing detail, but include a race of ophidian magicians and a malevolent and immense white worm that brought Hyperborea low in some icy apocalypse. The author also boasts not only of his own magical studies under the wizard Nathaire, but also of his defeat of his former master. Though du Nord claims that his purpose is to give instruction to the novice magician, he often obscures his meaning in allegory or oblique references. A reader lacking either a copy of the Livre d’Ivon or a familiarity with the conventions and philosophy of the various medieval magical traditions will find Selections from the Livre d’Ivon a daunting and frustrating work.