Magic in the Middle Ages

These pages are a collection of notes and excerpts from primary source material regarding the theory and practice of magic in the Middle Ages. Magic forms an important element in my novel Hell has its Demons, so I am doing quite a bit of ongoing research in this area, please send me any source material references you have and I’ll add them to this site.

Magic in the Middle Ages by Richard Kieckhefer – have a look at this page first as it distinguishes between the two main forms of magic – natural and demonic.

Natural Magic

Demonic Magic or Necromancy

Cases of Magic in Medieval England

Classical Background to Medieval Magic

Primary Sources


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6 thoughts on “Magic in the Middle Ages”

  1. Your view about the “Magic in the Middle Ages” is eurocentric, which is perfectly acceptable, as most fantasy tends to be told within that culture. But you also have to remember that alof of European thought was influenced by the Arabian Penin.

    In fact, the most literal form of Demons comes from Judeo-Christian belief that originated out of that region, so why leave out Islam? For instance there is a group of sayngs known as the Satanic Verse, in Islam, whereby Mohammad acknowledges the existance of two minor Godesses. There is also an Islamic Sect in Northern Iraq, whose name escapes me right now, who literally worship a fallen angel.

    I learnt most of this due to a wonderful two-year vacation to Iraq, thanks in full to Uncle Sam. Hah. But seriously, I liked the culture, came home, and studied it. In fact, there is alot of Arabic Influence in my Fantasy D&D Setting, Sedallia: Land of Sails. Mostly the language. Check my site if interested.

    I hope this helps.

  2. Michelle Sweeney’s Magic in Medieval Romance is an important book in this area of study also; further, her bibliography will help flesh out your list of primary source documents dealing with medieval magic. Another important book to consult is Witchcraft and Magic in Europe, Volume 3 (Ankarloo & Clark). You should also check out Maxwell-Stuart’s Witch Beliefs & Witch Trials in the Middle Ages, Documents and Readings, Dukes Magic & Witchcraft in the Dark Ages, and Mitchell’s Witchcraft & Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages. Another standard for source documents is Kors & Peters, Witchcraft in Europe.

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