Medieval Magical History....

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Ray Eden » 07/08/05 06:50 AM

Hello,

I've been asked to give a short lecture for a Medieval event about magic during the Middle Ages. The Internet has not been a very good resource for such information. The Silence regarding magic during Medieval times is deafening. Can anyone offer any sources that may be of use? I would mention that I'm now living in Finland, and the library is going to be best source. So if anyone can offer any reference books that could possibly make a European library in English it would be helpful.

Magickally,

Ray Eden
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Postby Jim Morton » 07/08/05 08:34 AM

The two main sources for information from this period are Reginald Scot's "Discoverie of Witchcraft" and "Hocus Pocus Junior." Both of these are available, although the hardbound version of "Hocus Pocus Junior" is a little harder to find (the Scot book is available as a Dover publication). "Hocus Pocus Junior" is available as an ebook from The Learned Pig website. Portions of "Discoverie of Witchraft" are also available at the conjurer.com web site. Prior to the publication of these two books there was little (if any) distinction made between legerdemain and real magic.

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Postby Pete Biro » 07/08/05 08:49 AM

Bill Kalush did a talk at the last Conference on Magical History about magic BEFORE GUTENBERG... pre Discouverie and Hocus Jr.

Prevost is another source (French).
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Postby Guest » 07/08/05 09:07 AM

The Discoverie of Witchcraft and Hocus Pocus Junior (which basically is just the Tricks Section of Discoverie) are both renaissance tomes on the subject of magic and not mediaeval. They also are merely descriptions of effects and not treatises on the itinerant magician (known as joungleurs) of the time (though there are parts of Scot's work that briefly touch upon the subject.
There was a distinct difference of perception in the eyes of the general public before during and after the middle ages between Magicians (whom we would now in our modern world call Astrologers, TV Psychics and scientists) and the Jongleur or Juggler. The aforesaid were seen as possessing higher powers or arcane knowledge the later as tricksters and purveyors of japes. The scenario of a, what we now call a magician being burned at the stake for being a witch is a myth. More than likely they were run out of town for being a vagrant, a much more serious offense in the middle ages than witchcraft.
Little is written upon this esoteric subject. Todd Karr's Miracle Factory's revised reprint of Clarke's Annals of Conjuring has some information on this subject as does Sheridan's Street Magic.
Other information must be gleaned from books on the subject of entertainers in the middle ages and renaissance.
"Fools and Jesters of the English Court" by John Southworth has some useful information as well as a complete chapter devoted to Brandon, Henry VIII's court conjurer.
You can also find insights into the early magicians life in "The English Medieval Minstrel" also by Southworth
Busker's a History of Street Entertainment by David Cohen and Ben Greenwood has some fun stories in it as well, my favorite being a tale about the minstrels of Chester.
I recently ran across "Register of Royal and Baronial Domestic Minstrels 1272-1327" by Constance Bullock-Davies which looks intriguing and informative though a bit dry.
Hopefully this gives you a bit of a springboard to start your study of this esoteric yet fascinating field of study.
Good Luck
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/08/05 06:26 PM

Payne, a Medieval Man himself, knows of what he speaketh :cool:
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Postby Gary Hunt » 07/08/05 07:18 PM

Here are two that I would suggest:
1. Fanch Guillemin, An Illustrated History of White Magic before Robert-Houdini, 2002.
Here are links to two articles in Magical Past-Times taken from the book

http://www.illusionata.com/mpt/view.php ... e=articles
http://www.illusionata.com/mpt/view.php ... e=articles

2. Richard Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages, 1989.
This mostly covers supernatural magic but has a great chapter on trickery. A very interesting book.

Hope this helps.
Gary Hunt
Editor Emeritus
Magical Past-Times: the On-Line Journal of Magic History
www.illusionata.com/mpt/
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Postby Guest » 07/08/05 07:25 PM

For background on the Medieval era, try a wonderful paperback called A World Lit Only By Fire, by William Manchester.

Fascinating reading!

Jon
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Postby Todd Karr » 07/08/05 10:17 PM

Hi! As Payne mentioned, The Annals of Conjuring is a great source of info on this era. Be sure to check our edition's appendices, which have much of interest to your research, including a chapter on Scotto and 55-pre-1600 "Early English Records of Conjuring" mentioning performances by Thomas Brandon, William Vincent, and many other long-forgotten names. I'll be happy to send you some of this information if you can't find The Annals in Finland!
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/09/05 11:28 AM

Thanks for the info fellow. I have to two old books referenced as pdf files, so I'm aware of those. Like stated, there is very little regarding the actual life of a Medieval magician. I have found much data regarding ceremonial magic, but not much regarding the entertainer. I have a feeling that most of the books mentioned here won't be found in the Finnish library system, but it won't hurt to try. My quest continues. Thanks again for the info offered.

An American in Finland,
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/09/05 11:49 AM

Here is something that may be of interest: Thomas Frost's Lives of Conjurors. He seems to have some information regarding the Medieval magicians and much, much more.

URL: http://sky.prohosting.com/fizbin/athena ... eface.html

Magickally,

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Postby Ray Eden » 07/09/05 11:57 AM

Todd, I would really appreciate if you would send me some info from "The Annals of Conjuring". My e-mail address is rayeden@rayedenmagic.com

Thanks,

Ray
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Postby Todd Karr » 07/10/05 08:31 AM

Sure, Ray, glad to help. I'll send some goodies asap.
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/10/05 10:45 AM

Todd: How's the Vol. 3/4 of the new Fechner books coming?
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/13/05 12:33 AM

Thanks Todd,

I look forward to the information!

From the tid bits that I got here I was able to gather a bit more information, and I'm starting to pull together a structure to build upon. Thanks again for the help.

Magickally,

Ray Eden
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Postby Todd Karr » 07/13/05 07:44 AM

Pete: My translation of Fechner's English edition of volumes 3 and 4 of The Magic of Robert-Houdin, explaining all RH's effects, is complete and Christian expects to have it out in time for December 2005, the bicentennial of the great magician's birth.

Ray: The material is on its way!
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Postby David Ben » 07/13/05 08:14 AM

You should also check out "Lives of the Necromancers: or, An Account The Most Eminent Persons In Successive Ages, Who Have Claimed For Themselves, Or To Whom Has Been Imputed By Others, The Exercise Of Magical Power" by William Godwin, published in 1834. Hard to find but definitely worth the read.
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Postby Ray Eden » 08/01/05 02:59 AM

I wanted to send out one more thank you to those of you - and you know who you are - who offered me help in this subject. I gave the lectures last week to very good response. So good, in fact, that the first lecture which was scheduled to last for 1 1/2 hours ended up lasting nearly 3 hours due to the interest of the participants. Throughout the five days that I was attending the SCA event many, many people came to me wanting to discuss more about the subject. Your help and ideas for inquiry really gave me a solid foundation erected from the ruins to history to work with, and I truly appeciate what help was offered.

I will be posting the essay that I wrote from the lecture material to my web site by August 2nd. If anyone would be interested to read it please let me know and I'll provide more details.

Magickally,

Ray Eden
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