Maleficium as a Latin term means "wrongdoing" or "mischief", and describes malevolent, dangerous, or harmful magic, "evildoing," or "malevolent sorcery". 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 Knights Templar were accused by Philip IV of France 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.
- Stephens (2003), p. 198
- Normal Cohn, Europe's Inner Demons
- Stephens, Walter (2003), Demon Lovers: Witchcraft, Sex, and the Crisis of Belief, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-77261-5