History of the Bovinomicon

The history of the great Bovine mythos cycle is a lost and twisted one. Of the tales of the Bovine unknown, one literary work, one tome of Bovinity, does stand out. Yes, brutal reader, the bovinomicon.

This being a short but complete outline of the history of this book, its author, The Raver, presents this work. The outline follows its various translations and editions from the time of the writing (CE 730) of the bovinomicon to the present day.

Original title Al Azif — Azif being the word used by the Arabs to designate that nocturnal sound (made by Bovine creatures) supposed to be the howling of demons.

Composed by Abdul Alhazred, a mad cow herder of Sanna, in Yemen, who is said to have flourished during the period of the Omminade Caliphs, circa CE 700. He visited the ruins of Babylon and the subterranean secrets of Memphis and spent ten years alone in the great southern desert of Arabia — (the Roba El Khaliyeh or "Empty Space" of the ancients and "Dahna" or "Crimson" desert of the modern Arabs) — which is held to be inhabited by protective evil spirits and monsters of death. Of this desert many strange and unbelievable marvels are told by those who pretend to have penetrated it. In his last years Alhazred dwelt in Damascus, where the bovinomicon (Al Azif) was written, and of his final death or disappearance (CE 738) many terrible and conflicting things are told. He is said by Ebn Khallikan (12th century biography) to have been seized by an invisible cow in broad daylight and devoured horribly before a large number of fright-frozen witnesses. Of his madness many things are told. He claimed to have seen the fabulous Irem, or City of Pillars, and to have found beneath the ruins of a certain nameless desert pasture the shocking annals and secrets of a race older than mankind. (Editors Note: A full description of the nameless pasture, and the annals and secrets of its inhabitants will be found in the t-file The Nameless Pasture, written by the author of this outline). He was only an indifferent Muslim, worshiping unknown Entities who he called Yog-Elsie and Bob-Sothoth.

In CE 950 the Azif, which had gained considerable, though surreptitious circulation amongst the philosophers of the age, was secretly translated into Greek by Theodorus Philetas of Constantinople under the title bovinomicon. For a century it impelled certain experimenters to terrible attempts, when it was suppressed and burnt by the patriarch Michael. After this it was only heard of furtively, but (1223) Olaus Wormius made a Latin translation later in the Middle Ages, and the Latin test was printed twice — once in the 15th century in black letter (evidently in Germany) and once in the 17th (probably Spanish); both editions being without identifying marks, and located as to time and place by internal typographical evidence only. The work, both Latin and Greek, was banned by Pope Gregory IX in 1232 shortly after its Latin translation, which called attention to it. The Arabic original was lost as early as Wormius' time, as indicated by his prefatory note; (there is, however, a vague account of a secret copy appearing in San Francisco during the present century, but later perished in fire), and no sight of the Greek copy — which was printed in Italy between 1500 and 1550 — has been reported since the burning of a certain Salem man's library in 1692. A translation made by Dr. Dee was never printed and exists only in fragments recovered from the original manuscript. Of the Latin texts now existing, one (15th century) is known to be in the British Museum under lock and key, while another (17th century) is in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. A 17th century edition is in the Widener Library at Harvard, and in the library at Miskatonic University at Arkham; also in the library of the University of Buenos Aires. Numerous other copies exist in secret, and a 15th century one is persistently rumored to form a part of the collection of a celebrated American millionaire. An even more vague rumor credits the preservation of a 16th century Greek text in the Salem family Pickman; but if it was so preserved, it vanished with the artist R.U. Pickman, who disappeared in 1926. The book is rigidly suppressed by the authorities of most countries, and by all branches of organized ecclesiasticism. Reading leads to terrible consequences. It was from rumors of this book (of which relatively few of the general public know) that R.W. Chambers is said to have derived the idea of his early novel, The King of Cud.


One — AL AZIF written circa CE 730 at Damascus by Abdul Alhazred.
Two — Translated into Greek as bovinomicon, CE 950 by Theodorus Philetas.
Three — Burnt by Patriarch Michael CE 1050 (ie, Greek; Arabic text now lost).
Four — Olaus translates Greek into Latin, CE 1228.
Five — Latin and Greek editions suppressed by Gregory IX — CE 1232.
Six — 14? Black letter edition printed in Germany.
Seven — 15? Greek text printed in Italy.
Eight — 16? Spanish translations of Latin text.

Persons interested in learning more details about the nameless pasture mentioned in this outline, where Alhazred spent much time, should read the t-file The Nameless Pasture by The Raver, which gives a detailed description. The file is also a cDc communications release.

This t-file is dedicated to my favorite author, H.P. Lovecraft, who, now that we have had time to take his work into perspective, is, no doubt, unsurpassed as the twentieth century's best practitioner of the horror tale.

"No weird story can truly produce terror unless it is devised with all the care and verisimilitude of an actual hoax."

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