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The Necronomicon or Al-Azif was a book or books known on Earth as a resource of arcane knowledge. The fictionalised Necronomicon of H. P. Lovecraft may have achieved greater recognition.


Conflicting information existed, indicating either a complicated history or that there were in fact three or more books referred to as the Necronomicon.

The Archon Necronomicon[]

The original Necronomicon, the Book of Dead Names, was older than Gallifrey and most other solar systems. It spoke of the time before time, of the Great Old Ones that ruled the galaxy.

An ancient race known as the Archons gave it to the Master so that he would carry out their plans. The Master gave the book to the Second Doctor's companion, Jamie McCrimmon, and he then gave it to the Doctor. When the Doctor touched the book, it activated and piloted the Doctor's TARDIS to the Archon homeworld. (PROSE: The Nameless City)

The Eocene Necronomicon[]

This Necronomicon was written originally in Eocene, a language which was still at least partially understood by some humans in the early 20th century. It had, however, been written in fragmentary form or become that way by this time. Original illustrations accompanying the book were done by a man named Roerich, although their form actually matched that of identical stone carvings present on Earth, Veltroch, Exo Three, and many other planets. These illustrations depicted the Great Old Ones, which the text refers to as the Great Ones, walling their bodies into stone citadels. (PROSE: White Darkness)

The Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred[]

The version known as Al-Azif was written in Arabic around 730 AD in Damascus by Abdul Alhazred. Theodorus Philetus translated it into Greek in AD 950 but all copies were burned in AD 1050. Olaus Wormius translated it into Latin and from this, another Greek translation was made. Pope Gregory IX suppressed both editions. The Necronomicon was later translated into Spanish. This was believed to be in the year AD 1600 from the original Arabic. (PROSE: The Banquo Legacy)

In the Clockworks, a chemist was selling the complete set of Paul Magrs' works bound in human skin. Panda thought that the Necronomicon might've been included, but the "Katy Manning" Iris corrected him, telling him that Abdul Al-Hazrad wrote it. (PROSE: Parsley Sage, Rosemary and Wildthyme)

Lovecraft's Necronomicon[]

This section's awfully stubby.

The Lovecraft Invasion

all sources of information on this were affected in differing degrees by Celestis technology

According to the Eighth Doctor, the 20th century author H. P. Lovecraft wrote in his stories of a fictional tome of his own invention, the Necronomicon. By Compassion's time (the 26th century?), he estimated there were no less than seventy-nine different fake Necronomicons in print due to Lovecraft's writings.

Compassion, while acutely affected by a fictional generator which drew her into its narrative, authoritatively claimed that gothic writers often included excerpts of the Necronomicon in their novels, with little understanding of their context. This recklessness helped paint alien races like the Elder Things as monsters. (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5)

Collections that held the Necronomicon[]

By 1898, Professor Richard Harries had a diverse collection which included an Olaus Wormius Latin copy of the Necronomicon. (PROSE: The Banquo Legacy)

Aleister Crowley's personal library once contained an unexpurgated copy in Eocene, before it passed into the hands of Howard Phillips. (PROSE: White Darkness)

The Master's TARDIS library contained the Necronomicon alongside other reviled works. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)

Possible owners[]

The book was suppressed by the Catholic Church (PROSE: The Banquo Legacy) and similar books (like the Book of Eibon, the Eltdown Shards and the Pnakotic Manuscripts) were held in the Library of St John the Beheaded. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire, PROSE: Millennial Rites)

Nkome, better known as Gilles Lemaitre, possessed a copy of The Beginner's Guide to the Necronomicon and a number of arcane books similar to the Necronomicon. (PROSE: White Darkness)

The wording in a poem by Abraham Cowley was believed by Harries to have been influenced by a passage in the Necronomicon. (PROSE: The Banquo Legacy)

The Braxiatel Collection was a point of comparison for the diversity of Harries' collection. (PROSE: The Banquo Legacy)

Behind the scenes[]

  • As The Taking of Planet 5 indicates, the Necronomicon was the fictional invention of H. P. Lovecraft and many hoax Necronomicons have been published since his time. Lovecraft encouraged writers in his circle to borrow ideas like the Necronomicon for their own works to create a sense of verisimilitude. Other fictional Cthulhu Mythos tomes created by his fellow writers have also appeared in Doctor Who.
  • The Banquo Legacy largely represents Lovecraft's in-universe history of the book. The couplet is attributed to the Necronomicon in The Call of Cthulhu. In the same story, the R'lyeh passage is indicated to be known to Cthulhu cultists and is implied to be the message the Great Old One sends in its sleep.
  • White Darkness presents a smattering of sometimes oblique references to Lovecraft's writing. Another Roerich and what becomes the Ashes of Noah and essential "Saltes" are only tangentially connected to Lovecraft's Necronomicon.