All About History

FEAR OF A BLACK MAGIC

The time between the classical era and the Age of Reason was a golden age for magic. It seems strange to say this when for much of the medieval and early modern periods it was feared, to the extent that tens of thousands of people were persecuted in Europe and the New World because they were suspected of practicing it. But that fear itself points to a strong and widespread belief in the reality and utility of magic spells.

The West’s fear of magic and its practitioners was the legacy of the half-remembered Graeco-Roman thought that it based some of its philosophical ideology on, and of the Christian dogma that it had begun to embrace wholeheartedly. Practitioners of magic, then, were seen as

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Professor Edith Hall
Edith Hall is professor in the Classics Department at King’s Collect London, specialising in Ancient Greek literature and cultural history. She has published several books including Aristotle’s Way: Ten Ways Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life (The B