COVER

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ii-iv

Table of Contents

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pp. v-v

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book owes a great deal to the intellectual generosity, encouragement, and kindness of many people. I am especially grateful to Charles Burnett, who supervised my early work on the St. Augustine’s corpus of magic texts and continues to be generous with his time and learning. The Warburg Institute was an inspiring and convivial place in which to begin this ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

During the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, a group of monks with occult interests donated what became a remarkable collection of more than thirty magic texts to the library of the Benedictine abbey of St. Augustine’s in Canterbury.1 Analysis of their manuscripts and the monastic environment in which they lived suggests that they were a coherent group with shared aims and ...

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Chapter 1: Monks and their Magic Texts at St. Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury

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pp. 5-30

St. Augustine’s was one of the largest and most prestigious Benedictine houses in medieval England, with considerable possessions of land and manors in Kent and control over the livings of a number of churches. Around 1262 an ordinance fixed the maximum number of monks at sixty-five.1 Monks at St. Augustine’s had access to one of the largest collections of books in medieval ...

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Chapter 2: Natural Magic: The Basilisk and the Lodestone

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pp. 31-48

The thirteenth century saw a diffusion of knowledge of the world and the popularization of scientific theories in diverse genres, from encyclopedias to recipe collections and medical and magical texts. At the same time, a new branch of natural science, natural magic, emerged as a result of academic attempts to understand and classify the properties of natural objects and bodies not easily ...

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Chapter 3: The Liber vaccae: Magical Uses of Monstrous Creations

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pp. 49-72

A complex experiment in a St. Augustine’s manuscript describes how to create a hybrid animal with wings, the body of a cow, the face of a man, and the talons of a bird. When the magical practitioner suffumigates himself with the corpse of this creature, he will become invisible. He is told to enter the houses of men to watch them eating and drinking and to listen to their secret ...

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Chapter 4: Image Magic: Harnessing Power in the Harmonious Universe

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pp. 73-92

Image magic texts give instructions for rituals to be performed over a three- dimensional object (the image or talisman) in order to induce a spirit or heavenly body to imbue it with power.1 This genre was one of the most important new categories of learned magic translated from Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew into Latin in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and was quickly disseminated ...

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Chapter 5: The Liber de essentia spirituum: Magic, Revelation, and Fellowship with Spirits

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pp. 93-111

The Liber de essentia spirituum is an anonymous revelatory discourse on the nature of God and the spiritual hierarchy and their relationship to mankind.1 It is unusual in that it combines a cosmology that is Neoplatonic in emphasis with magical practices that are drawn from the Arabic image magic tradition, and in that the author, rather than associate his text with a biblical or mythical authority ...

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Chapter 6: The Ars notoria and Its Monastic Audience

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pp. 112-130

Many magic texts appealed to readers interested in causes and effects in the natural world, but others fit Christian sensibilities more closely and could be used as instrumental aids to sincere or ostensibly pious goals and devotional practices. The magic texts I have discussed so far fit the first category, both in their stated goals and in the fact that they were compiled alongside works of ...

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Epilogue: John Dee, St. Augustine’s Manuscripts, and Renaissance Magic

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pp. 131-140

By the end of the Middle Ages, works of theurgy or angel magic were being increasingly widely disseminated and defended. Late medieval classifications and book lists defined more categories of magic as licit, and some magic texts had been written that had “real” authors, were justified through philosophical arguments, and even integrated necromancy within syncretic ritual magic ...

Appendix 1: Translation of the Glossulae super Librum imaginum lunae, Oxford, Corpus Christi College 125, fols. 109r–110v

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pp. 141-146

Appendix 2: Translation of the Liber de essentia spirituum, Oxford, Corpus Christi College 125, fols. 169–173

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pp. 147-159

Notes

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pp. 161-214

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 215-224

Index

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pp. 225-232