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Chapter Eighteen. Celtic Loricae And Ancient Magical Charms

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Chapter Summary

Loricae are prayers characteristic of Medieval Celtic cultures that exhibit several features very close to ancient magical charms. Their most salient features are: (1) an enumeration of the powers invoked; (2) an enumeration of the body-parts to be protected; and (3) an enumeration of the dangers, enemies or obstacles to be avoided or overcome. The Benedictine monk Louis Gougaud, who wrote the main study on the subject, made every effort to differentiate Christian loricae from magical charms. The earliest Hiberno-Latin loricae date, as far as is known, is from the middle of the 7th century. In the case of the Old Irish loricae, the names of St. Patrick or St. Columcille are clearly suppositious, their authorship being claimed in order to lend these texts particular authority.

Keywords: ancient magical charms; Loricae



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