Maleficium (sorcery)

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Maleficium as a Latin term means "wrongdoing" or "mischief",[1] and describes 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.[citation needed]

The term appears in several historically important texts, notably in the Formicarius (printed 1475) and in the Malleus Maleficarum (1487).

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.[4]

See also[edit]