Some time around the turn of the eighth century, in an Insular learning centre on the European continent, a diligent scribe copied a short list of magical practices and superstitions into a codex that comprises mostly canonical material and Carolingian capitularies. This short text, commonly known to modern scholars as the Indiculus superstitionum et paganiarum ("a short list of superstitions and pagan practices"), is an appropriate starting point for this chapter because it not only stands at the core of any discussion of magic in the early medieval West, but it also exemplifies in a straightforward manner the numerous stumbling blocks one has to tackle when studying early medieval magical practices in their cultural, religious and social context. Let us, then, cite this short text in full: A SHORT LIST OF SUPERSTITIONS AND PAGAN PRACTICES 1. Of sacrilege at the graves of the dead.2. Of sacrilege over the departed, that is, dadsias.3. Of the spurcaliae in February.4. Of the little houses, that is, sanctuaries.5. Of sacrilegious acts in connection with churches.6. Of the sacred rites of the woods which they call nimidas.7. Of those things which they do upon stones.8. Of the sacred rites of Mercury and Jupiter.9. Of the sacrifice which is offered to any of the saints.10. Of amulets and knots.11. Of the fountains of sacrifices.12. Of incantations.13. Of auguries according to birds, or according to the dung or sneezing of horses or cattle.14. Of diviners or sorcerers.15. Of fire made by friction from wood, that is, nodfyr.
|Title of host publication||The Cambridge History of Magic and Witchcraft in the West|
|Subtitle of host publication||From Antiquity to the Present|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||24|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2015|