By Stephen A. Mitchell
Stephen A. Mitchell right here deals the fullest exam to be had of witchcraft in past due medieval Scandinavia. He specializes in these humans believed to be able—and who in a few situations concept themselves able—to control the realm round them via magical practices, and at the responses to those ideals within the felony, literary, and renowned cultures of the Nordic center a long time. His resources variety from the Icelandic sagas to cultural monuments less accepted to the nonspecialist, together with felony circumstances, church paintings, legislations codes, ecclesiastical documents, and runic spells.
Mitchell's start line is the 12 months 1100, in which time Christianity was once good demonstrated in elite circles all through Scandinavia, at the same time a few pre-Christian practices and ideology endured in a variety of varieties. The book's endpoint coincides with the arriving of the Reformation and the onset of the early sleek Scandinavian witch hunts. The terrain coated is advanced, domestic to the Germanic Scandinavians in addition to their non-Indo-European acquaintances, the Sámi and Finns, and it encompasses such different parts because the very important exchange towns of Copenhagen, Bergen, and Stockholm, with their huge overseas populations; the agricultural hinterlands; and the insular outposts of Iceland and Greenland.
By studying witches, wizards, and seeresses in literature, lore, and legislation, in addition to surviving allure magic directed towards love, prophecy, healthiness, and climate, Mitchell presents a portrait of either the practitioners of medieval Nordic magic and its functionality. With an knowing of mythology as a residing approach of cultural indicators (not simply old sacred narratives), this examine additionally makes a speciality of such robust evolving myths as these of "the milk-stealing witch," the diabolical pact, and the witches' trip to Blåkulla. lawsuits concerning witchcraft, attraction magic, and apostasy exhibit that witchcraft ideologies performed a key function in conceptualizing gender and have been themselves a huge technique of exercise social control.