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A Different Use of Literacy: The 1676 Witchcraft Allegations against A. S. Matveev

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image of Russian History

Analyzing the case of black magic brought against chancellor Artemon Matveev in 1676-77, this paper endeavors to demonstrate that Matveev’s accusers were controlled by his political opponents. The proceedings are revealing in yet another respect: they involve a number of minor clerks and educated slaves – Muscovite middle class in embryo. The minutes give a vivid picture of the way magical texts were circulated among them, and contribute to outline the standard library of literate witchcraft in seventeenth-century Muscovy.

Affiliations: 1: Centre d’études des Mondes Russe, Caucasien et Centre-Européen, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris,


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