Online course: Magic in the Middle Ages
Dates: any time
Duration: 9 hours
Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 out of 1300 ratings (see top rating courses here)
Participating countries: any country
Apply here: Application form
- $49 with sharable certificate
Magic in the Middle Ages
Magical thought has always attracted human imagination. In this course we will introduce you to the Middle Ages through a wide conception of magic. Students will have an approach to medieval culture, beliefs and practices from the perspective of History and History of Science. Popular magic, as well as learned magic (alchemy, geomancy and necromancy) will be addressed. Moreover, we will also deal with how eastern practices and texts influenced western culture. In July 2016, the course will contain a brand-new module devoted to astrology. Magic in the Middle Ages offers a captivating overview of medieval society and promotes reflection about certain stereotypes associated with this period.
At the end of the course, the students:
a) will have overcome the usual prejudices about the Middle Ages,
b) will be able to analyze historical documentation from the Middle Ages and recognize the most common patterns of juridical documents regarding witchcraft, and
c) will be capable of distinguishing between popular magic and the magic of the learned people; will have a notion of which spiritual practices were allowed in medieval Europe and which ones were related to the devil, and will be aware of the link between a cultural product and the society that produced it.
This course is taught in English, although subtitles in English, Catalan and Spanish will also be provided.
Week 1. Introduction to medieval magic (Pau Castell).
Week 2. Magic & Heresy (Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel).
Week 3. From Magic to Witchcraft (Pau Castell).
Week 4. Magic in Islam (Godefroid de Callataÿ and Sébastien Moureau).
Week 5. Astrology & Geomancy (Theo Loinaz, Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel, Godefroid de Callataÿ and Blanca Villuendas).
© Gemma Pellissa Prades (coord.), Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel and Joana Palau Mumany
Magic in the Middle Ages by Gemma Pellissa Prades (coord.), Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel and Joana Palau Mumany is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Godefroid de Callataÿ – University of Louvain
Dr Pau Castell Granados
Research and Teaching Scholar at University of Barcelona
Sébastien Moureau – University of Louvain
Chargé de recherches du F.R.S.-FNRS
Dr Gemma Pellissa Prades
Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow
Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel
BSc, BA, MA
WEEK 1: 1 hour to complete
UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION TO MEDIEVAL MAGIC
The Idea of Magic
The Ancient Precedents
Magic and Superstition in Christian Europe
The Decline of Magic
WEEK 2: 1 hour to complete
UNIT 2: MAGIC & HERESY
Church versus Magic: The Early Middle Ages (8:04)
The Rise and Fall of Natural Magic (5:56)
Persecution Unleashed (6:23)
The Tale of the Not-So-Evil Inquisitor (7:18)
Necromancy: When Demons Spoke Latin (7:11)
Optional video I: Eastern Jewish Communities: A Bit of Context (7:45)
Optional video II: The Jewish Idea of Magic (6:38)
WEEK 3: 2 hours to complete
UNIT 3: FROM MAGIC TO WITCHCRAFT
The Medieval Origin of the Crime of Witchcraft
Witchcraft and Maleficent Magic
The Mythology of Witchcraft
Medieval Witchcraft Trials
Optional video: Medieval Sources on Witchcraft
WEEK 4: 2 hours to complete
UNIT 4: MAGIC IN ISLAM
The Varieties of Magic in Islam
How Was Magic Received in Islam?
The Ikhwān al- Ṣafā’ on Magic and the Occult
The Science of the Letters
Alchemy I: Arabic Alchemy
Alchemy II: Arabo-Latin Alchemy
Weekly Video 4 (2015)
WEEK 5: 3 hours to complete
UNIT 5: ASTROLOGY & GEOMANCY
Medieval Astrology: Between Science and Magic
The Melting Pot of Medieval Astrology
Early Medieval Astronomy: the Moon, the Zodiac, Thunders and Dreams
Horoscopes and World Events: the Doings of High-End Astrology
Optional video-On World Cycles 1: The Great Year Doctrine in Antiquity
Optional video-On World Cycles 2: The Great Year Doctrine in the Middle Ages