marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote in bookish,
marycatelli
marycatelli
bookish

Magic in the Middle Ages

Magic in the Middle Ages by Richard Kieckhefer

An intensive treatment of the subject drawing on a lot of primary sources.  Starting with a discussion of definitions.  And natural magic vs. sorcery  -- using the virtues of a herb rather than dealing with demons.  Then, Thomas Aquinas, discussing the occult properties of things, cites the ability of magnets to attract iron, and the ability of rhubarb to act as a purgative -- a sample of what makes it so fun.

Discusses the classical sources -- Roman, Greek, Jewish -- down to the fictional portrayal of witches in Roman literature and more briefly the German/Norse magics, with their heavy use of runes.  The sagas often ended with the sorcerer outlawed, partly because magic was a sneaky and underhanded technique. 

The heavily Christian formulas for spells, such as treating illness.  Amulets and talismans.

Astrology -- which was most heavily used for picking propitious times.  Unsurprisingly, weddings were the most governed by it, since they are a lot easier to schedule than battles.  Astral magic, which attempted to draw down the influence of the stars.  Theologians got prickly about invocations and images, but that didn't keep people from using them.

Necromancy, which was overwhelmingly clerical.  Then, that could mean "literate."

Lots of interesting stuff.
Tags: genre: non-fiction, xxx author last name: i-q
Subscribe

  • in need of recommendations

    Hi everyone! I'm writing a grant proposal where I would be writing a novella based around misogyny and how it affects men, women, and everyone. What…

  • Medieval Medicine Book Recs

    Hello everyone! I'm looking for nonfiction books about medieval medicinal practices. Specifically, I'd like to read up on herbal remedies physicians…

  • Looking for books where two characters trade lives

    Hi, all. I'm looking for books where two characters swap lives (less Freaky Friday, more The Prince and the Pauper). I'm especially looking for…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 3 comments