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Seal of Solomon (also known as Solomon's Ring)


King Solomon was the son of David and the third king of Israel (971 - 931 BC). While he is primarily known for his legendary wisdom and ability to adjudicate disputes, he also owned a ring known as the Seal of Solomon. It was inscribed with the name of God, in a time where knowing the true name of God gave one great power, and with the ring Solomon could command demons or djinni and speak with animals.

The ring was made of brass and iron; the brass portion of the ring could command the good djinn, while the iron portion of the ring could command the evil djinn or demons. The ring was set with four jewels, and with them he could control the four elements. Demons are said to have brought him precious stones and water from distant lands to irrigate his gardens, and animals were said to enter Solomon's kitchen of their own volition to be slaughtered for food.

Solomon lost the ring when he asked the imprisoned demon Asmodeus what made demons superior to men. Asmodeus agreed to tell him, but he said that he would need Solomon's ring to demonstrate. As soon as Solomon surrendered it, he threw the ring into the sea and tossed Solomon 400 miles from the palace, leaving him a penniless wanderer for three years. Asmodeus took the form of Solomon and ruled over the kingdom in secret while Solomon begged for food and owned nothing more than a walking stick. The ring was swallowed by a fish, and after reaching the capital of Mashkemam Solomon happened to buy it at the market, found the ring inside, and returned to power. (This is only one of many variations of the story).

The Islamic version of the same story is that Solomon took off the ring every day to wash and gave it to his wife Amina to hold. One day the demon Sakhr took Solomon's form and procured the ring from Amina thinking it was Solomon. Sakhr ruled in Solomon's place for 40 days while he wandered the land as a beggar. Sakhr threw the ring into the sea where it was swallowed by a fish and served to Solomon for supper by a kind fisherman. He found the ring and returned to power. In the Koran, Solomon's exile was punishment for one of his wives practicing idolatry in secret within Solomon's house.

In the 10th century book, One Thousand and One Nights, The Story of the Fisherman explains that 1800 years after the reign of Solomon, a fisherman found a copper bottle stopped with lead and bearing the impression of Solomon's Seal. Inside was a genie whose "wish" was to promise him only the death of his own choosing, but the fisherman tricked the genie back into the bottle and threw him once again into the sea.

In the 17th century book, The Lesser Key of Solomon, the first section (Ars Goetia) gives detailed descriptions of 72 demons and how to conjure them safely and control them. The book claimed that Solomon had written the original and forced the demons to work for him in ancient times. He eventually trapped them all within a brass vessel and stopped it with his magic seal.

Solomon also owned a magic carpet.

Mythology, Ring


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