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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)
(1990)

Chapter 24: Maleficium and its forms, and a brief note on the power of evil spirits,   pp. 1-6


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Chapter 24
Maleficium and its forms, and a brief note on the power of evil spirits
Maleficium is the art of doing ill to others by the power of the
devil. The ways in which the ill is done are called malefices. They can
be divided into two sorts. The first is amatorio. It is employed in
order to generate sensual feeling in individuals, so that they will wish
to perform the sexual act with certain partners and will refuse to do with
others. This gives rise to strife between married couples. This art is
widely employed among the heathen of the Serra, using love-potions, and
they are skilful at it. They concoct potions from different herbs, and
it is sufficient to carry these around with them in order to be loved,,not
only by women who lack self-control but by those who normally possess it
very strongly. The second sort is venefacio or poisoning. This always
results in evil. When it is applied to someone, it kills him or makes him
very ill. (a) How frequent this is in Ethiopia! How many deaths result'
How many incurable illnesses develop sooner or later, bringing poor
pilgrims to their death! I have known one man, who, although he was young
and strong and of a healthy appearance, was so damaged by the cursed
poison that, as well as turning him into a cripple, it forced his mouth to
make contortions and grimaces that it was astonishing to witness. Today
in Guinea there are districts and villages where this vicious and diabol-
ical art reigns, and in which reside those who are suspected of practicing
it.  How much evil these provinces contain'  How little fear of God and
recollection of life eternal. One day the Lord will reveal that it only
took a whim to result in a life being snatched away, or some poor wretch
losing his capacity to continue living. What greater cruelty or tyranny.'
And although our Ethiopia is a hard master, it bewitches those who serve
it closely, so that there is rarely one of these who deserts it. (b) Once
(a) Incurable diseases, which no natural medicine can remedy.
(b) However religious he comes to appear, however many evils he speaks,
like Alipio of the Logos, and comedies      "as in the Confessions
of St. Augustine". When he reaches here, he would be always Alipio,
greatly bewitched, etc.


 


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