Merseburg Charms. Soucre: wikipedia

Civilizations of the Supernatural

Astrology, amulets, pagan magic, charms, witches, and superstitions. All figure in a new book

Civilisations of the Supernatural
Ed by Fabrizio Conti
Trivent 2020

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.


  • CIVILIZATIONS OF THE SUPERNATURAL cover Naomi Janowitz, Aelian on Tortoise Sex and the Artifice of “Erotic Love Magic”
  •  Attilio Mastrocinque, The Dodekaoros, Magical Papyri, and Magical Gems: Egyptian Astrology and Later Hellenistic Traditions
  •  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
  • Joseph E. Sanzo, Prayer and Incantation on Early Christian Amulets: Authoritative Traditions, Ritual Practices, and Material Objects
  •  Paolo Vitellozzi, Astrological Amulets in the Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius
  •  Michael D. Bailey, Magic and Disbelief in Carolingian Lyon
  • Martina Lamberti: Pagan Magic and Christian Culture in Medieval Germany
  • Francesco Marzella, Hirsuta et cornuta cum lancea trisulcata: Three Stories of Witchcraft and Magic in Twelfth-Century Britain
  •  Andrea Maraschi, Sympathetic Graphophagy in Late Medieval Scandinavian Leechbooks and Collections of Charms
  • Ewelina Kaczor, Superstitions in a Sermon of Stanisław of Skarbimierz (ca. 1360-1431)
  • Noel Putnik, Operari per fidem: The Role of Faith in Agrippan Magic
  • Melissa Pullara, Reasoning with Witchcraft: Moral Deliberation in Macbeth
  •  Cora Presezzi, Envisioning the Afterlife from the “Seaport of Friuli”: Conjectures on a Toponym