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You hate my magics. Hate my goals, and my Golems. But I have the numbers. Add those numbers. Mix those waters! Grow the Golems! So they kill forever.
Solomon ibn Gabirol.

Solomon ibn Gabirol, also known as Avicebron, was an 11th-century Andalusian poet and Jewish philosopher with a Neo-Platonic bent. He published over a hundred poems, as well as works of biblical exegesis, philosophy, ethics and satire. He was also the founder of the thaumaturgical system Kabbalah.

Overview

A eleventh-century poet and philosopher. He was born in Malaga, Spain, and although he did not have the glory of a knight or king or the recognition of having produced works of art that would prosper for thousands of years, he coined the name of an entire thaumaturgical system, Kabbalah, and was one of the starting points of the process leading up to the European Renaissance through bringing Greco-Arabic and Jewish lore and enlightenment to the cultural circles of Europe. He is recognized as a "hero" who heavily influenced both the history of the world and thaumaturgy.

He suffered from many illnesses during his life and spent his days with almost zero contact with other humans. He even purposefully created maid-type golems to take care of the housework in order to maintain his isolation.

In the 19th century it was discovered that medieval translators had translated his work on Jewish Neo-Platonic philosophy into a Latin form that had in the intervening centuries been highly regarded as a work of Islamic or Christian scholarship. As such, ibn Gabirol is well known in the history of philosophy for the doctrine that all things, including soul and intellect, are composed of matter and form (“Universal Hylomorphism”), and for his emphasis on divine will.

Appearance

As a human, Gabirol considered himself as short and ugly as indicated in his poems. After his death and entering in Heaven, his formed shifted in his current appearance.

Currently, Avicebron wears a featureless mask without openings for eyes or a mouth, a full-body suit, and a blue mantle. Due to the mask he wore, it was impossible to tell whether he was afraid or even felt any emotion at all.

Personality

Gabirol is noted to be eccentric, and he sometimes does not speak even when addressed, simply nodding in affirmation. He had a poor constitution and pessimistic bent in life, so he had been reluctant to come in contact with other people. He was able to hold conversation with others, but never placed any emotion into the exchange. Due to his specialty in a single type of thaumaturgy as a magic caster, he never had worries about the miscellaneous chores of his abode. His wish was to complete his last creation, Golem Keter Malkuth, his own Adam.

Moses ibn Ezra wrote: "his irascible temperament dominated his intellect, nor could he rein the demon that was within himself. It came easily to him to lampoon the great, with salvo upon salvo of mockery and sarcasm." He has been described summarily as "a social misfit."

Powers and Abilities

Avicebron's sole focus is in the creation of golems through his Kabbalistic techniques. His golems are not mere beings of clay, but are attempts to replicate God's creation of mankind with the first human, Adam. His workshop is more like a factory, focused in the creation of golems, and nothing else. While a modern caster would struggle to create a single golem of his quality within a year, he can create thirty golems in a single day, and more than a thousand over the course of two months. Avicebron's golems have fluid, natural movements as opposed to the typical, inhuman awkwardness of others, and he creates them in all shapes and sizes. There are those that resemble humans, those that are closer to giants, those that are more bird-like, and those with more insectoid or even arachnid constructions.

He uses ancient, centuries old objects to construct them, using jewels as organs and parchment for skin. He can use the magic of living beings to create golems capable of magic themselves. Those that he constructs for battle are organized into three groups, and he uses his Numerology and Notarikon to command many of them in combat at once. Their strength is enough to easily match warriors and even weaker angels, even being capable of taking multiple blows from powerful warriors, like Mordred and Siegfried.

  • High-Speed Incantation: A skill that reflects his capacity to recite incantations in a fraction of the time of normal magic caster.
  • Numerology: Avicebron's school of thaumaturgy, the Kabbalah he himself developed. Using one of its ancient branches, Notarikon, he can command multiple golems at once by using their shortened aliases.
  • Tranquil Fig: A skill corresponding to his legend, where he was killed by a certain man in life that was jealous of his poetic gifts and buried under the roots of a fig tree. It has been said that people became amazed by the unique sweetness of its fruits, eventually coming to digging up the roots of the tree and finding the Avicebron's remains and exposing his killers sins to the world.
  • Item Construction: A skill which measures his ability to manufacture magical items. Avicebron's rank reflects his extreme skill in the creation of golems, but due to this specialization, he has trouble creating anything else.
  • Golem Keter Malkuth: The eternal, unfinished work of Solomon ibn Gabirol, the golem whose construction he pursued throughout his entire life but never completed. He seeks to replicate the ultimate mystery, God's miracle in the creation of humanity, in the form of the first Human, Adam, as a supreme existence that lead humanity through suffering and return them to the Garden of Eden. Once its construction is completed, it would require a continuous, infinite source of magical energy to maintain its existence. Once fully constructed, Avicebron inserts the core and recites an incantation to bring it to life. When first born, it stands at fifteen feet tall, and is made of pristine materials. While its quality is outstanding and its power exceptional, its greatest ability is its primary function as an autonomous ancient being, putting it on a completely different level than all of his other golems.

Weaknesses

Avicebron's abilities are mainly focused on the creation of golems, leaving him lacking in versatility or combat ability.

History

Little is known of Gabirol's life, and some sources give contradictory information. Sources agree that he was born in Málaga, but are unclear whether in late 1021 or early 1022 CE. The year of his death is a matter of dispute, with conflicting accounts having him dying either before age 30 or by age 48.

Gabirol lived a life of material comfort, never having to work to sustain himself, but he lived a difficult and loveless life, suffering ill health, misfortunes, fickle friendships, and powerful enemies. From his teenage years, he suffered from some disease, possibly lupus vulgaris, that would leave him embittered and in constant pain.

Gabirol's writings indicate that his father was a prominent figure in Córdoba, but was forced to relocate to Málaga during a political crisis in 1013. Gabirol's parents died while he was a child, leaving him an orphan with no siblings or close relatives. He was befriended, supported and protected by a prominent political figure of the time, Yekutiel ibn Hassan al-Mutawakkil ibn Qabrun, and moved to Zaragoza, then an important center of Jewish culture. Gabirol's anti-social temperament, occasionally boastful poetry, and sharp wit earned him powerful enemies, but as long as Jekuthiel lived, Gabirol remained safe from them and was able to freely immerse himself in study of the Talmud, grammar, geometry, astronomy, and philosophy. However, when Gabirol was seventeen years old, his benefactor was assassinated as the result of a political conspiracy, and by 1045 Gabirol found himself compelled to leave Zaragoza. He was then sponsored by no less than the grand vizier and top general to the kings of Granada, Samuel ibn Naghrillah (Shmuel HaNaggid). Gabirol made ibn Naghrillah an object of praise in his poetry until an estrangement arose between them and ibn Naghrillah became the butt of Gabirol's bitterest irony. It seems Gabirol never married, and that he spent the remainder of his life wandering.

After his death, Gabirol entered Heaven and threw away his human name, using Avicebron as his new alias. He then worked in Heaven as a magic caster with the other angelized humans and maintainer on Heaven's magic system under the angel Raziel. Once, he went back to Earth during the first world war where he met a young magic caster and made him his partner and assistant. Later on, Avicebron murders his partner to activate Golem Keter Malkuth, a decision he regrets that weighs heavily on his conscience.

Myths and Legends

As mentioned above, the conflicting accounts of Gabirol's death have him dying either before age 30 or by age 48. The opinion of earliest death, that he died before age 30, is believed to be based upon a misreading of medieval sources. The remaining two opinions are that he died either in 1069 or 1070, or around 1058 in Valencia. As to the circumstances of his death, one legend claims that he was trampled to death by an Arab horseman. A second legend relates that he was murdered by a Muslim poet who was jealous of Gabirol's poetic gifts, and who secretly buried him beneath the roots of a fig tree. The tree bore fruit in abundant quantity and of extraordinary sweetness. Its uniqueness excited attention and provoked an investigation. The resulting inspection of the tree uncovered Gabirol's remains, and led to the identification and execution of the murderer.

Though Gabirol's legacy was esteemed throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, it was historically minimized by two errors of scholarship that mis-attributed his works.

False ascription as King Solomon

Gabirol seems to have often been called "the Málagan", after his place of birth, and would occasionally so refer to himself when encrypting his signature in his poems (e.g. in "שטר עלי בעדים", he embeds his signature as an acrostic in the form "אני שלמה הקטן ברבי יהודה גבירול מאלקי חזק" – meaning: "I am young Solomon, son of Rabi Yehuda, from Malaqa, Hazak"). While in Modern Hebrew the city is also called Málaga (Hebrew: מאלגה‎), that is in deference to its current Spanish pronunciation. In Gabirol's day, when it was ruled by Arabic speakers, it was called Mālaqa (Arabic: مالقة‎), as it is to this day by Arabic speakers. The 12th-century Arab philosopher Jabir ibn Aflah misinterpreted manuscript signatures of the form "שלמה ... יהודה ... אלמלאק" to mean "Solomon ... the Jew .. the king", and so ascribed to Solomon some seventeen philosophical essays of Gabirol. The 15th-century Jewish philosopher Yohanan Alemanno imported that error back into the Hebrew canon, and added another four works to the list of false ascriptions.

Identification as Avicebron

In 1846, Solomon Munk discovered among the Hebrew manuscripts in the French National Library in Paris a work by Shem-Tov ibn Falaquera. Comparing it with a Latin work by Avicebron entitled Fons Vitæ, Munk proved them to both excerpt an Arabic original of which the Fons Vitæ was evidently the translation. Munk concluded that Avicebron or Avencebrol, who had for centuries been believed to be a Christian or Arabic Muslim philosopher, was instead identical with the Jewish Solomon ibn Gabirol. The centuries-long confusion was in part due to a content feature atypical in Jewish writings: Fons Vitæ exhibits an independence of Jewish religious dogma and does not cite Biblical verses or Rabbinic sources.

The progression in the Latinization of Gabirol's name seems to have been ibn Gabirol, Ibngebirol, Avengebirol. Avengebrol, Avencebrol, Avicebrol, and finally Avicebron. Some sources still refer to him as Avicembron, Avicenbrol, or Avencebrol.

Quotes

I wonder if I ever reached this point while I lived... No, it does not matter anymore. I will join you in saving the world. Tat will be how I atone for my sins.
Avicebron
Born of the great mother, swallow intelligence and be filled with life. Wield thy weapon, and evil shall be destroyed. Purify blood with righteousness. Thy name, embracing Ru'ach, is...Adam!
Avicebron
This golem is not meant to be invincible. Rather, it must be designed so that it can die through any kind of means. The golem I'm creating possesses life. Therefore, it will die. My golem is not a craft to simply move clay dolls. My golem is the creation of life... in other words, a copy of the original human, Adam.
Avicebron describing his life's work.
It is comforting to feel emotions you expressed to me. However, I hate humans. I hate this world. Even staring with them eye to eye troubles me. That's why I wear a mask. Why would you believe that I don't have any attempt to disown you? Adieu, partner.
Avicebron to his partner.
I killed a comrade once, during the Great War. I did a truly repulsive crime. It's so disgusting that it shall leave an eternal scar on my soul, definitely.
Avicebron showing remorse over betraying and killing his partner.
Solomon ibn Gabirol is a legendary Jewish magician, known for revolutionized the alchemy, especially in the field of artificial creations such as golems or homunculi, and is said to be the creator of the thaumaturgical system of Kabbalah.
Carl Black

Gallery

Trivia

  • One source credits ibn Gabirol with creating a golem, possibly female, for household chores.
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