Maleficium (sorcery)

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Maleficium is a Latin term meaning "wrongdoing" or "mischief",[1] and is used to describe malevolent, dangerous, or harmful magic, "evildoing,"[2] or "malevolent sorcery."[3] In general, the term applies to any magical act intended to cause harm or death to people or property. Maleficium can involve the act of poisoning or drugging someone, and is often used in witchcraft and necromancy.

The term appears in several historically important texts, notably the Formicarius, and the Malleus Maleficarum.

The Knights Templar were also accused of maleficium. The Trial of the Knights Templar set a social standard for the popular belief in maleficium and witchcraft that contributed to the great European witch hunt.[4]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Notre Dame University (accessed December 6, 2008)
  2. ^ Stephens (2003), p. 198
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online (accessed December 3, 2008)
  4. ^ Normal Cohn, Europe's Inner Demons