Civilizations of the Supernatural: Witchcraft, Ritual, and Religious Experience in Late Antique, Medieval, and Renaissance Traditions brings together thirteen scholars of late-antique, medieval, and renaissance traditions who discuss magic, religious experience, ritual, and witch-beliefs with the aim of reflecting on the relationship between man and the supernatural. The content of the volume is intriguingly diverse and includes late antique traditions covering erotic love magic, Hellenistic-Egyptian astrology, apotropaic rituals, early Christian amulets, and astrological amulets; medieval traditions focusing on the relationships between magic and disbelief, pagan magic and Christian culture, as well as witchcraft and magic in Britain, Scandinavian sympathetic graphophagy, superstition in sermon literature; and finally Renaissance traditions revolving around Agrippan magic, witchcraft in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and a Biblical toponym related to the Friulan Benandanti’s visionary experiences. These varied topics reflect the multifaceted ways through which men aimed to establish relationships with the supernatural in diverse cultural traditions, and for different purposes, between Late Antiquity and the Renaissance. These ways eventually contributed to shaping the civilizations of the supernatural or those peculiar patterns which helped men look at themselves through the mirror of their own amazement of being in this world.
CHAPTER 1. Naomi Janowitz, Aelian on Tortoise Sex and the Artifice of “Erotic Love Magic”
CHAPTER 2. Attilio Mastrocinque, The Dodekaoros, Magical Papyri, and Magical Gems: Egyptian Astrology and Later Hellenistic Traditions
CHAPTER 3. Tiana Blazevic, How to Deal With the Evil Daimones. Apotropaic Rituals of the Third and Fourth Centuries CE According to Porphyry, Iamblichus, and the Greek Magical Papyri
CHAPTER 4. Joseph E. Sanzo, Prayer and Incantation on Early Christian Amulets: Authoritative Traditions, Ritual Practices, and Material Objects
CHAPTER 5. Paolo Vitellozzi, Astrological Amulets in the Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius
CHAPTER 6. Michael D. Bailey, Magic and Disbelief in Carolingian Lyon
CHAPTER 7. Martina Lamberti, The Merseburg Charms: Pagan Magic and Christian Culture in Medieval Germany
CHAPTER 8. Francesco Marzella, Hirsuta et cornuta cum lancea trisulcata: Three Stories of Witchcraft and Magic in Twelfth-Century Britain
CHAPTER 9. Andrea Maraschi, Sympathetic Graphophagy in Late Medieval Scandinavian Leechbooks and Collections of Charms
CHAPTER 10. Ewelina Kaczor, Superstitions in a Sermon of Stanisław of Skarbimierz (ca. 1360-1431)
CHAPTER 11. Noel Putnik, Operari per fidem: The Role of Faith in Agrippan Magic
CHAPTER 12. Melissa Pullara, Reasoning with Witchcraft: Moral Deliberation in Macbeth
CHAPTER 13. Cora Presezzi, Envisioning the Afterlife from the “Seaport of Friuli”: Conjectures on a Toponym
FABRIZIO CONTI (PhD, Central European University, 2011) teaches Western Civilization, Medieval, Renaissance, and Religious Histories, as well as Magic and Witchcraft at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.
A graduate in the Humanities from the University of Rome "La Sapienza" with certificates from the Pontifical Institute for Christian Archaeology in Rome and the School of the Vatican Secret Archive, Fabrizio is particularly interested in researching cultural fractures and changes within long-term historical structures and patterns. The history of magic and witchcraft is, from this point of view, particularly inspiring as it situates itself at the crossroad of different times, domains, and mindsets.
Fabrizio has taught Medieval Christianity and Magic and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe at the Ohio State University in 2015, and he has lectured in a number of other universities in Europe, the US, and the Middle East. Besides that, he has worked in the catacombs of Rome as a docent and in the Vatican Secret Archive as an archivist.
Fabrizio is currently involved in historical TV documentary series ranging from the ancient civilizations and Roman warriors to the mysteries of the Knights Templar.
He is the author of “Witchcraft, Superstition, and Observant Franciscan Preachers: Pastoral Approach and Intellectual Debate in Renaissance Milan,” which was published by Brepols in 2015.
The figure of a knight on horseback is the emblem of medieval chivalry. Much has been written on the ideology and practicalities of knighthood as portrayed in medieval romance, especially Arthurian romance, and it is surprising that so little attention was hitherto granted to the knight’s closest companion, the horse. This study examines the horse as a social indicator, as the knight’s animal alter ego in his spiritual peregrinations and earthly adventures, the ups and downs of chivalric adventure, as well as the relations between the lady and her palfrey in romance. Both medieval authors and their audiences knew more about the symbolism and practice of horsemanship than most readers do today. By providing the background to the descriptions of horses and horsemanship in Arthurian romance, this study deepens the readers’ appreciation of these texts. At the same time, critical reading of romance supplies information about the ideology and daily practice of horsemanship in the Middle Ages that is otherwise impossible to obtain from other sources, be it archaeology, chronicles or administrative documentation.
Edited by Christopher Mielke and Andrea-Bianka Znorovszky
ISBN 978-615-81222-2-1 (print)
ISBN 978-615-81222-3-8 (online)
Vol. 2, pp. 223
Published: March, 2019
You can read this book in open access
This volume is a collection of essays focusing on marginalized women mostly in Central and Eastern Europe from around 1350 to 1650. “Other” women are discussed in three different categories: women whose religious practices put them on the social margins, “common women” who are in society but not of society because they are in the sex trade, and women whose occupations were reason enough to shunt them. In order to fill a gap in gender history for countries east of the Rhine River, the studies included present how official city-funded brothels in medieval Austria worked, how a princess’ disability affected her life as Byzantine empress, how one unmarried Transylvanian woman who got pregnant dealt with being the center of a court case, and how enslaved women in medieval Hungary were treated as sexual property. The hope with this volume is that it will show the many interdisciplinary ways that women on the margins can be studied in this region, and to diminish the taboo of discussing this topic to begin with.