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A Naiad, by John William Waterhouse, detail [1893] (Public Domain Image)
A Naiad, by John William Waterhouse, detail [1893] (Public Domain Image)

The Comte De Gabalis

by Abbé N. de Montfaucon de Villars


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The core of this book is an anonymous English translation of a French 'novel of ideas' originally published in 1670. The Abbé de Villars, the author, was a French clergyman born in 1635 in Alet, near Toulouse in the south of France. He came to Paris in 1667, where he wrote a number of books, most of which other than this work which have been forgotten or lost. He was assassinated in 1673 or (by some accounts) 1675 while on the road from Lyons to his native Languedoc.

The book describes an encounter with a mysterious Comte de Gabalis, who is a master of the occult sciences. Gabalis initiates de Villars into the secrets of the elemental beings: the Sylphs of the Air, the Undines of the Water, the Gnomes of the Earth and the Salamanders of Fire. The Abbé is not sure whether the elementals are demons, while Gabalis encourages him to symbolically (?) marry one of the elementals.

Of course there is a lot more going on here than the dialog would indicate. There are profuse classical and esoteric references. This particular edition wraps the translation in a heavy cloak of parallel commentary, footnotes, endnotes and sub-footnotes. The additional material will be of much interest by itself, as a miscellany of esoteric topics including a whole section of prophecies. And even though there are hints, neither the original text nor the commentary ever discloses exactly who the Comte de Gabalis is...

Production Notes. The first portion of this edition, the 'Discourses' section, has commentary on facing pages; these were turned into footnotes instead of trying to reproduce the page layout. For a number of reasons, it was impossible to run a full spellcheck on this text, so there are undoubtedly more OCR errors left in this text than usual. As usual, I welcome any comments about typographical errors.

Title Page and Front Matter
The Book
Abbé N. De Montfaucon de Villars
Discourse I
Discourse II
Discourse III
Discourse IV
Ancient Persian Monument
Discourse V

Commentary Continued

A. Map of the Horoscope
B. Harmony of the World
C. Numbers of Pythagoras
D. Sylphs of Cardan
E. Averroes
F. Saint Paul an Initiate
G. Plato, His Place as a Philosopher
H. Benvenuto Cellini Sees a Salamander
I. Book of Enoch
J. The Egg and Serpent Symbol
K. Those Reserved For Greater Things
L. Panic Terrors. Origin of the Term
M. The Great Pan is Dead
N. Jansenists
O. Jean Bodin
P. Moses And Elias Fasted Forty Days
Q. Bacchus and Osiris the Same
R. Muhammed
S. King Saul
T. The Oracle of Dodona
U. Divine Power of Letters
V. Oracle of Celius Rhodiginus
W. Sambethe, Daughter of Noah
X. Justin Martyr's Statement
Y. Temple of Hercules in Armenia
Z. Plato on Man's Place in Nature
AA. Sir Thomas Browne on Man's Place in Nature
BB. Curtius Rufus
CC. King Rodriguez Warning
DD. The Inmates of the Cave, or the Story of the Seven Sleepers
EE. Sleep
Thotmes III
FF. Behemoth and Leviathan
GG. The Holy Language Described by Emmanuel Swedenborg
HH. Moses an Initiate
II. Book of the Wars of the Lord
JJ. Sacred Fire
KK. Noah, Vesta and Egeria
LL. Prince de Mirande and the Cabala
MM. Japhet
NN. Nymph of Stauffenberg
OO. Magdalen of the Cross
PP. Cassiodorus Renius or Reyna
QQ. Gertrude, Nun of the Monastery of Nazareth in the Diocese of Cologne
RR. Romulus
SS. Servius Tullius
TT. Hercules
UU. Master Defined
VV. Roman Worship of a Supreme Deity Without Image or Statue
WW. Recent Tidings of the Elementary Peoples?
XX. Tyresias
YY. Merlin's Prophecy of the Conquest of the Air and of Aerial and Submarine Warfare
AAA. Cherubim
The Birth of Jesus as Related in the Koran
BBB. Proclus On Prayer
CCC. Lord of Bavaria
DDD. The Sabat
EEE. Zedekias
FFF. Karoli Magni Et Ludovici Pii Christioniss:--Capitula
GGG. Magicians Sent by Grimaldus, Duke of Beneventum
HHH. Bishop of Lyons

Commentary Concluded

Seven Ancient Prophecies
First Prophecy. The Magi's Prophecy of World Peace and a Universal Language
Second Prophecy. The Sibylline Prophecy of World Peace and the Reign of Justice
Third Prophecy. Enoch's Prophecy of World Peace and the Giving Forth of Books
Fourth Prophecy. Micah's Prophecy of World Peace and Freedom of Religion
Fifth Prophecy. Elder Edda. Prophecy of World Peace and Return of the Ancient Wisdom
Sixth Prophecy. Bible Prophecy of World Peace Declaring the Manner of its Accomplishment
Seventh Prophecy. Merlin's Prophecy of World Peace and Enlightenment
Muhammed's Prophecy of Truth
Israels' Prophecy of Justice
Prophecy of the Messenger and the Stone set up in Egypt


Hymn To The Sovereign Sun