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New Medieval Books: Hocus pocus

We add a little magic to this week’s list of new books about the Middle Ages.

Magic, Technology and New Categories of Knowledge in the Central Middle Ages

This article proposes to discuss the extent to which medieval sources differentiate between an idea of applied technological knowledge, which could be close to our modern notion of science, and actual magic.

Curse or Blessing: What’s in the Magic Bowl?

I intend to look at magic bowls in order to see how and for what purpose they were used, and to get a glimpse at the way they worked and what hidden treasures can be found within them.

BOOK REVIEW: The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau

Joanna Stafford, our intrepid ex-Dominican super sleuth is at it again. This time, she’s hurled straight into the midst of plotting and deception at Henry VIII’s court.

Courtly Magic in the Middle Ages

The possibility of the everyday use of magic by courtiers is emphasized by the employment of magic advisors and, very frequently, astrologists. The medieval court was a place for the elite, and thus the educated sector of society at this time.

Mystery, Secrets and Magic

When I decided to put pen to paper for a Tudor historical fiction story, I had no idea what I wanted to write. The subject has been analyzed and romanticized for five hundred years. What could I do that would be an original slant on this iconic subject matter? After having a look around I noticed that no one appears to have the exact moment of her execution. From there, the story began to slowly develop and present itself to me.

Trolls in the Middle Ages

Where did trolls come from? What did medieval and early modern people think of trolls? How did the concept of the modern day troll evolve?

Medieval Black Magic

Sins of evil black magic, as listed by the medieval theologian Burchard of Worms in the 11th century.

Magic in the Cloister

St. Augustine’s Abbey can be viewed as a centre of magical studies in the late Middle Ages because of the large and diverse collection of magic texts present in the library, the number of monks interested in unorthodox studies and the ways in which magic was integrated within the monastic context

Christian Ritual Magic in the Middle Ages

This article gives a brief introduction to the area of medieval ritual magic, outlining the main kinds of texts likely to be understood as belonging to the category – image magic, necromancy, and theurgy or angel magic.

Crafting the witch: Gendering magic in medieval and early modern England

This project documents and analyzes the gendered transformation of magical figures occurring in Arthurian romance in England from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries.

The Unwritten Chapter: Notes towards a Social and Religious History of Geniza Magic

How might the historian of religions write a social and religious history of Jewish magic in the medieval Islamicate world?

Demonic Magic in the Icelandic Wizard Legends

Saemund Sigfusson is the earliest of the Icelandic wizards. According to the annals he was born in the year 1056. He was educated in France and returned to Iceland in 1076 or 1078.

Using Gems in Medieval Spells

David Porreca examines how the magical spells found in the Picatrix made use of precious gems.

Medieval Magic Tricks

How to turn water into wine, make a cross turn by itself, or have worms appear on cooked meat – some fun medieval magic tricks!

Medieval Byzantine Magical Amulets and Their Tradition

A diverse yet distinctive group of magical amulets has periodically attracted the attention of scholars from Renaissance times to the present. The amulets take many forms, including engraved gems and cameos, enamel pendants, die-struck bronze tokens, cast or engraved pendants of gold, silver, bronze, and lead, and rings of silver and bronze.

Magic and the Occult in Islam: Ahmad al-Buni (622H/1225CE?) and his Shams Al-Ma’arif

Lecture by Saiyad Nizamuddin Ahmad, American University in Cairo

Magic in English Thirteenth-Century Miracle Collections

This contribution focuses on miracle collections as a source for medieval magic for three reasons. The first is the very closeness of magic and miracles, for both seek to procure results which transcend nature, and to do this through the medium of a human practitioner.

Magic for the dead? The archaeology of magic in later medieval burials

Was this magic healing or protective? Did it aim to safeguard the living or conjure the dead? Who were the recipients of such magical rites — and who was responsible for performing them?

The Light was retreating before Darkness: Tales of the Witch hunt and climate change

Little by little, out of the old conviction —pagan and Christian— of evil interference in atmospheric phenomena evolved the belief that some people may use malign sorcery to set off whirlwinds hail, frosts, floods and other destructive weather events.

Anaphrodisiac Charms in the Nordic Middle Ages: Impotence, Infertility, and Magic

This essay, however, looks to explore, not this seductive form of charm magic, but rather its opposite, ie charm magic that prevents the consumption of a relationship, or that makes a fruitful union impossible.

Fools, Devils, and Alchemy: Secular Images in the Monastery

The fool is one of the most popular and stable character types throughout cultures and times. This is especially true of medieval Europe. The fool, sometimes a jester, sometimes a clown or a trickster, is always recognizable through his abnormal appearance.

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