MAGIC, ON THE THRESHOLD OF MIRACLES?
I think this is the last post in the series, where i am concerned with magic and miracles.
I am fascinated by how Magic was conceived in Middle ages, and by the theological views about the nature of God.
Basically, that is why i cannot find satisfaction in how magic is portrayed in AD&D. It is too childish to me, and it fails to have an emotional impact over me.
A girl had died just in the hour of her marriage, and the bridgegroom was following her bier lamenting as was natural his marriage left unfulfilled, and the whole of Rome was mourning with him, for the maiden belonged to a consular family. Apollonius then witnessing their grief, said: "Put down the bier, for I will stay the tears that you are shedding for this maiden." And withal he asked what was her name. The crowd accordingly thought that he was about to deliver such an oration as is commonly delivered as much to grace the funeral as to stir up lamentation; but he did nothing of the kind, but merely touching her and whispering in secret some spell over her, at once woke up the maiden from her seeming death; and the girl spoke out loud, and returned to her father’s house, just as Alcestis did when she was brought back to life by Hercules. And the relations of the maiden wanted to present him with the sum of 150,000 sesterces, but he said that he would freely present the money to the young lady by way of a dowry. Now whether he detected some spark of life in her, which those who were nursing her had not noticed,--for it is said that although it was raining at the time, a vapour went up from her face—or whether life was really extinct, and he restored it by the warmth of his touch is a mysterious problem which neither I myself nor those who were present could decide.
(Flavius Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius, 4:45).
[...]And in just keeping with his visits to the Arabians were the studies he undertook among the Persians also, according to the account given by the same author. For after forbidding Damis, so we are told, to go to the magi, though Damis was his only pupil and companion, he went alone to school with them at midday and about midnight; alone in order not to have as his companion in the study of magic one who was clearly without a taste for such things. And again when he came to converse with Vardan the Babylonian king, it is related that he addressed him as follows: "My system of wisdom is that of He professed the wisdom of PythagorasPythagoras, a man of Samos, who taught me to worship the gods in this way and to recognize them, whether they are seen or unseen, and to be regular in converse with the gods."
The "miracles" performed by Apollonius caused great consternation in the young Christian Church. Justin Martyr, the great Church Father of the second century, pertinently asked:
"How is it that the talismans of Apollonius have power over certain members of creation, for they prevent, as we see, the fury of the waves, the violence of the winds, and the attacks of wild beasts. And whilst Our Lord's miracles are preserved by tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and actually manifested in present facts, so as to lead astray all beholders?"
[...]Everywhere Apollonius received almost divine honors and legends about him grew up everywhere. His capacity for clairvoyance enabled him to make predictions that were verified by events and which had the effect of increasing his fame. He had no difficulty in escaping Nero's persecution of philosophers, and his admirers said that when confronted with the tribunal that was to try him, he was able, through his Hermetic art, to erase the writing on the document on which his indictment was written.