|Magic in the Middle Ages
||[Apr. 26th, 2016|10:43 am]
De Horror Vacui
Magic in the Middle Ages, Richard Kieckhefer:|
I adjure you, Demon of the Dead cause N. to pine and melt away out of passion for F., whom B. bore. Inflame her heart and cause it to melt and suck out her blood out of love, pain, and passion over me. And let her do all the things in my mind, and let her continue loving me, until she arrives in Hell.
I don't know the image you have in your mind from that slightly modified Egyptian love charm. What would this Demon of the Dead look like? How would he attach himself to N.? Does an ancient Egyptian love charm work in a digital environment? But after reading such a realistic, unschmaltzy adjuration I couldn't stop reading this book.
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Interestingly, there wasn't too much legal persecution of witches in dark ages and the Medieval world: the court system was accusatory. In an accusatory system, someone has to bring a case against another person, and if the case isn't proven, then the accuser accepts the punishment that he would have had delivered upon the defendant.
So, a false accusation of witchcraft was punished just as harshly as witchcraft.
And so, no one accused the angry old lady or their husband's lovers of casting spells.*
Not until the inquisition.
( Other Books, 2016Collapse )
* Parenthetically, Think Like a Freak explains Trial by Ordeal in a way that explains how come not every person who grabbed the hot iron bar, or whatever, was burned in fact, most weren't. The parish priest was the person who administered the punishment.
Now, Levitt and Dubner suggested the priest may have doctored the test by giving 2/3 of those tried by ordeal a bar that wasn't hot enough to burn. What I asked my students was: what extra information might a Catholic priest have about a case that would help him to make the determination?