Chevron Left
Back to Magic in the Middle Ages

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Magic in the Middle Ages by Universitat de Barcelona

1,494 ratings
490 reviews

About the Course

Magical thought has always attracted human imagination. In this course we will introduce you to the Middle Ages through a wide conception of magic. Students will have an approach to medieval culture, beliefs and practices from the perspective of History and History of Science. Popular magic, as well as learned magic (alchemy, geomancy and necromancy) will be addressed. Moreover, we will also deal with how eastern practices and texts influenced western culture. In July 2016, the course will contain a brand-new module devoted to astrology. Magic in the Middle Ages offers a captivating overview of medieval society and promotes reflection about certain stereotypes associated with this period. At the end of the course, the students: a) will have overcome the usual prejudices about the Middle Ages, b) will be able to analyze historical documentation from the Middle Ages and recognize the most common patterns of juridical documents regarding witchcraft, and c) will be capable of distinguishing between popular magic and the magic of the learned people; will have a notion of which spiritual practices were allowed in medieval Europe and which ones were related to the devil, and will be aware of the link between a cultural product and the society that produced it. This course is taught in English, although subtitles in English, Catalan and Spanish will also be provided. COURSE SYLLABUS Week 1. Introduction to medieval magic (Pau Castell). Week 2. Magic & Heresy (Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel). Week 3. From Magic to Witchcraft (Pau Castell). Week 4. Magic in Islam (Godefroid de Callataÿ and Sébastien Moureau). Week 5. Astrology & Geomancy (Theo Loinaz, Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel, Godefroid de Callataÿ and Blanca Villuendas). © Gemma Pellissa Prades (coord.), Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel and Joana Palau Mumany Magic in the Middle Ages by Gemma Pellissa Prades (coord.), Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel and Joana Palau Mumany is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License....

Top reviews


Mar 23, 2018

Helpful and insightful. I try to learn as much about witchcraft and all religions as I can. The first set of videos were well lit and well read. I recommend this for anyone who wants to learn more.


Jul 14, 2020

This course was really thorough and interesting. I liked how it covered a range of religions and regions and I think it's great how there are interactive assignments which judge out writing.

Filter by:

26 - 50 of 486 Reviews for Magic in the Middle Ages

By Holly F

May 20, 2019

A well-organized class that breaks down different attitudes of 'magic' throughout the Middle Ages- with emphasis on the clergy, as well as a unit specifically dedicated to Islamic Magic (which should be a course in itself as there was much to be covered). Much of what was covered was a reinforcement of what I have previously studied as someone who is interested in magic because of my background as an archaeologist and anthropologist- so this was a nice aspect. In sum, it was enjoyable.

By Lau l

Oct 16, 2016

Outstanding quality of the professors, really pedagogically and atractive classes (not a display of presentations, this is eye-to-eye- kind of presence), comprehensive but extremelly compacted information, comprehensive bibliography that includes all the topic treated or barely mentioned. It's an enjoyable trip to the concept of magic and the social understanding of that word, in the Middle Ages throught the eyes of Catholic, Jewish and Astro-Scientists of the period.

By Myriam F

Apr 24, 2020

I enjoyed this course. Especially the lectures about the Islamic view of magic as I was unfamiliar with it.

Also, the information about the Inquisitors dispelling the preconceived ideas we all had about them.

I suggest the lecturers speak slower and also enunciate words clearly. It was hard to understand sometimes and I also suggest that the transcripts into English be edited, as some of them do not make sense. I had to read the Spanish version in some cases.

By Melvin R W

Jan 11, 2019

Insightful and entertaining journey into the world of magic in the Middle Ages. It corrected some misconceptions I had and offered new information on changing positions of church and gender as it relates to the material. I especially appreciated the points of view from Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths.

By Vanessa M B

Apr 21, 2020

It was such a great course where I have learned a lot about history, middle ages, religion and a lot of interesting past. I'm thankful to learned with amazing teachers that shared with students their knowledge. I'm so glad to choose this course!

By Deleted A

Oct 13, 2020

This course is fascinating. That being said, there are some serious problems with the course.

The two peer reviewed assignments are frustrating. For the first assignment the marking rubric doesn't match the instructions for the assignment. This had been undated in the Discussion Forums by one of the instructors, but those instructions still didn't match the marking rubric. For the second assignment all of the links are broken. Once again you have to hunt around in the Discussion Forums to find working links. It is also annoying to have to beg for someone on the Discussion Forums to please review your essay in order to finish the course. This is necessary because the instructors seem to have completely abandoned the course a year after it was created.

The Week 4 videos are a complete horror show of name dropping authors or books. For instance, try retaining Ibn Khaldun, Ikhwan al-Safa, Ibn Masarra, Jabir ibn Hayyan, Ilm al-mizan, mizan al-huruf, Muhyi al-din Ibn al-Arabi, Ahmad al-Buni, Shams al-ma'arif al-kubra, or Khalid ibn Yazid. Good luck with that Week 4 Quiz!

These problems are extremely unfortunate because they detract from an otherwise excellent course that is full of fascinating material. I highly recommend everyone who has any interest in magic in the middle ages to take this course, but be prepared to work around some very annoying design flaws.

By Rachel E H

Dec 13, 2017

Very interesting and I love that all the information is free if you don't want to pay for a professional certificate. There are still a few spelling errors but this is to be expected I suppose.

By Stephanie V

Jul 17, 2017

This course provided interesting information in the video clips. However, there was limited discussion in the forums when I studied on this course. It would also have been nice to see more involvement in the forums by the course organisers. As it was, the students seem to have been left very much on their own with only a handful of moderators doing their best to help as they could.

By Benjamin M

Jun 29, 2020

Course material is not covered in depth, assessments poorly designed with materials not present, rubrics not shared ahead of assessment.

By francisco j M

Aug 16, 2020

Decepcionante. El tema es interesante, pero el tratamiento es muy superficial.

By Ana C E N

Aug 11, 2020

I loved Magic in the Middle Ages. I would have loved it even more if it had been a bit more focused in actual magical practices (like giving more detail of witches rituals and spells, for example) and since it is a course given by Universitat de Barcelona, a video about magic in the region would've been great too. But overall, this is a super informative course, the teachers were great (Dr. Delfi Nieto didn't need to apologize for her speaking speed, she was my favorite) and I loved how varied the topics were, including magic in different cultures and countries and the history of different practices (the one about astrology is awesome). I 100% recommend taking this course.

By Patricia B C

Feb 8, 2021

¡Es un gran curso! Disfruté mucho aprender en este curso, cada semana estaba lleno de información que te deja con ganas de saber más sobre el tema. Es un curso muy recomendable y espero que haya más cursos de este tema. Los maestros son muy buenos explicando sus temas y te contagian el interés.


A great course! I enjoyed a lot learning in this course, each week was full of information that leaves you with the need to know even more of the subject. Is a very recomendable course, and I hope there is more courses of this subject soon. The teachers are great explaining their subjects and they make you very interested about all.

By Olena Z

Apr 28, 2019

Thank you for the course, it was interesting and exiting, and it's a pity it ended so quickly. On some topics I would like to get more information, and now I know in what direction to look and which sources to use.

I would also like to see in the text under videos the time, when the illustrations are included in the video. Because my English level is not enough to understand all the lectors speech, I more read text under the video than watch the video itself. And I would like to know at what timestamp I can find the included illustration.

By Naomi G

Oct 13, 2020

I learnt a lot about the medieval ages and the culture. This course was very interesting and informative. I'm thankful to Coursera for having this course and to University of Barcelona for making this amazing course. It is a great course for those who don't have the opportunity to take this subject in your college. The assignments were also interactive and optional videos are also provided for those who are further interested. I felt as if I witnessed the medieval age. One of the best courses on Coursera. Happy learning!

By Eris G

Jun 28, 2020

Un curso sumamente interesante, lleno de información y bases que relacionan la evolución de la sociedad, el mundo y la religión bajo una idea central: Magia.

Me encantaria que se profundizara en algunos mitos y creencias populares y la manera en que estos se han adaptado a la religión y a la época.

De igual manera, seria sumamente interesante este tipo de análisis con la perspectiva latinoamericana, Que pasaba en la Nueva España, como eran las creencias mágicas?

By Pamela S

Jun 13, 2017

There was a lot of information that was interesting to me, especially the lesson on Islamic Magic. A new approach for me was using documents from the period to understand the cultural and societal context of the people for magic and superstitions. The subtitles and printed transcript of the lectures came in handy if I had difficulty understanding the spoken word. This was an enjoyable experience for me and I will refer to my notes in the future.

By Justin W

Sep 4, 2016

It was an incredibly interesting and insightful course, which opened up a lot of interesting avenues and ways of looking at medieval magic, the time and people and beliefs. The course was well organized, and the lectures were interesting and easy to follow along. I liked the course work with the quizzes and the written part and peer review as well. Thank you very much for the time and effort that went into this very cool and interesting course.

By Tania M

Nov 4, 2020

El curso es increible (a excepción de los vídeos sobre la Geomancia, no sé qué pasó allí). Me sirvió para descubrir que los conocimientos que tenía sobre el origen de las brujas y las practicas de nigromancias no eran más que patrañas. A partir de aquí, tengo los medios y recursos necesarios para seguir investigando el fascinante mundo de las artes mágicas de nuestros antepasados. Fuese increible si actualizarán este curso. Gracias.

By Heather w

Apr 27, 2017

loved it but have not received my certificate.

Dear Heather wright,

Thank you for your purchase.


Coursera Inc.

381 E. Evelyn Avenue

Mountain View, CA 94041 USA


Order Number: 5419588

Product Details Price Qty

Course Certificate for Magic in the Middle Ages USD 49.00 1

TOTAL (USD): 49.00

Please keep this receipt as record of your payment.

View our refund policy.

View your purchase history.

Happy Learning!

By Diana L

Sep 12, 2016

I have loved this course. Very interesting, informative, intellectually honest and rigorously taught; entertaining, as well. I am grateful for this opportunity. A dilettante in the study of history, I have been delighted to discover the many ways in which this study of magic in the Middle Ages has opened so many doors to a broader understanding of the forces at play in the human experience. Sincerest thanks!

By Feliza G B

Feb 23, 2017

A deeply satisfying course to anyone who is passionate about symbolism, magic and the occult, from a historical and anthropological perspective. The professors are quite passionate about the the subjects in the lectures, and the content is informative and well researched. This course provides a solid framework for finding accurate and objective information on the subject, and learning how to interpret this data.

By Elizabeth G

Mar 2, 2022

Very interesting survey of aspects of magic in the middle ages, including how the concept of magic developed over the centuries, aspects of witchcraft and the trials, magic in the Islamic world and its influence on Europe. The videos are interesting and the course is more entertaining than challenging. I especially enjoyed reviewing the videos from earlier editions of the course on the Resources page.

By Anna E B

Feb 14, 2021

A great small course that gives a complex and unbiased view on the history of magick and occult in the Middle Ages. It does not consist any of offensive or discriminatory opinions which is rare, because as usual magick is researched from the aggressive atheistic point of view. I would recommend it to everyone who wants to see the real picture, who is interested in occult history, and who is Pagan or Wiccan.


May 10, 2020

It was a really interesting course, that offered me a spherical and complete image of that period. Thanks to that course I've learned about the historical facts and personalities of that era, discovered the combination of different cultures not only in europe but also in a Arabic world of the Medieval period and also enriched my "poor" previous knowledges about the whole culture of magic and witchcraft.

By Mirdza A

May 5, 2021

It depends on your interest and your studying skills as everything. This is a perfect course for introducing yourself to the Middle Ages magical thinking. I myself had a lot of personal interest because I do have some of these mythical qualities witches were killed for and needed some historical background to understand where or when did I become a witch to be feared. :) Thank you to all teachers!