The Arabian school of medicine, which became very eminent while the Saracens were masters of Spain, were well acquainted with vegetable and metallic remedies against diseases. Their know- ledge passed on to the chemists, or rather alchemists, of the Dark Ages, whose researches brought to light the great value of the metals in the hands of the physician, and induced absurd attempts to transmute baser minerals to gold, or to find out the panacea for all disorders, or the elixir for the perpetual prolongation of life. The history of magic embraces that of the governments and su-
perstitions of ancient times, of the means by which theymaintained their influence, of the assistance which they derived from the arts and sciences, and from knowledgeof the powers and phenomena in nature. The tyrants of antiquity usually founded their sovereignty uponsupernatural influence, and ruled with the delegated authority of heaven. The prince, the priest, and the sage were leagued in a dark conspiracy to deceive andenslave their species. Man—in ignorance—ever theslave of spiritual despotism, willingly bound himself in chains forged by the gods and unseen powers. Accordingly, the Black Art, which was a comprehensive systemof imposture, nurtured upon fear-forces—in as much as its professors were supposed to be in league with the devil—was greatly favoured in early ages. An acquaintance with the motions of the heavenly bodies and the variations in the state of the atmosphere enabled its possessor to predict astronomical and meteorological phenomena with a tolerable accuracy. This could not fail to invest him with a divine character. The powerof prophesying fire from the heavens could be regarded only as a gift from the deities.


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Magic And Mystery - A Popular History - A Thompson 1894