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Sign in via your Institution Sign in. Less dangerous but popular magic practices in courtly tradition were those with the function of entertainment. These acts would have taken place in courts during festivities and political gatherings, as elaborate forms of entertainment were another way to garner influence and standing in the court. The focal point of performative magic was the idea of illusion and deception of the mind. Manuscripts provide formulas to make objects appear self-moved, such as a beetle inside an apple, as well as more complex illusions like using lights and mirrors to make a man appear headless.
Another popular practice was the employment of minstrels. Whilst they themselves were not practitioners of magic, their verse contained magical content. Due to the political circumstances present in the medieval court, various forms of magic both thrived and were sought. Magical practitioners were employed for intrigues, but also entertainment.
This world is reflected in the literature of the time with Arthurian romances providing extravagant versions of courtly practices. Alchemy brought about the possibility of gold from base metals, as well as medicines to cure all ailments. The knowledge these people possessed would have been used for poisons and love magic, both powerful means of controlling actions of the court.
Many courtiers would protect themselves from such schemes with precious stones. With wealth brought the finest entertainment, with illusionists, automata and the traditional minstrel, these highly demanded services remind us that magic was a very real aspect of medieval court life. You can also follow her on Facebook.
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Peters and C. Raudvere, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe , London, , p. Best and Frank H.
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Magic and Religion in Medieval England : Catherine Rider :
Lawrence-Mathers, A. Maksymiuk, S. Meaghan Zarb The medieval court was the centre of political life during the Middle Ages, where officials of all ranks attended to governmental affairs. British Library — Additional f. Notes  S. Bibliography Primary Sources Magnus, A.
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Secondary Sources K. Kieckhefer, R. Sign up to get a Weekly Email from Medievalists. Previous Post Previous Post.