Vet Recipes against Daemons and Curses

Pelagonius and Vegetius are two Latin writers in the genre of veterinary medicine, specifically horse medicine or mulomedicina. This page contains some excerpts from their works relating to daemons and similar dangers, taken from a short collection titled “Protection Against Daemons” compiled by Ɔ. Martiana (Unhistorize).

Pelagonius, Ars veterinaria

(1.31.1) If all diligence has been applied, and copious food has been furnished, and nevertheless the horse is weak, you should know this, too, that horses are often attacked (vexantur) at night by Fatuus Ficarius. Thereby they are afflicted with the most awful pain and are often so disturbed that they grow weak. (2) To counteract this, Cornelius Celsus recommends that you throw dog bones, burnt and crushed up, mixed together with old axle grease, (and formed into) pellets of an odd number, together with wine, onto the (horse’s) neck; do this for eight days, and purify the place in which (the horses) are with living sulphur (sulphur vivum) and coals. It will be a salutary remedy.

(397) Potion ad apostaticos (against inflammation? lesions? pussing?).

Cook leaves of box-tree and elder-tree and cedar or hemlock in water and together, you will be able to give it as a good potion. (The horse) will be able to sleep and gain forgetfulness of its daemon. And if it is (already) able to get sleep, it will wake easily and be able to move without problems. Or if it is prone to kicking, use this potion together with cold water (and smear it) on the navel. It is a sure remedy.

(451) Remedy against sickness, or for expelling shades (umbrae) from the stable:

magnet, one ounce
Solomoniac stone, 2 ounces
opopanax (juice of the herb panax), 1 ounce
galbanum, 1 ounce
castoreum, 1 ounce
bitumen, half a pound (selibra)
sulphur, 1 ounce
hog’s-fennel, half a pound
terebinth resin (=turpentine), as much as you will.

Vegetius, Digesta Artis Mulomedicinae

(1.20) Another, stronger composition.

(1) There is also another composition of suffumigants (suffimentorum) for warding off
diseases, but more expensive and, it is thought, more effective:

living sulphur, 1 pound (libra = 12 ounces)
Judaean bitumen, 1 pound
opopanax, 6 ounces
bearsfoot, 6 ounces
galbanum, 1 pound
Castoreum, half a pound
“crude air” (?), 6 ounces
(H)ammoniac salt, 2 ounces
Cappocian salt, 3 ounces
stag horn,—
“male” jet stone, —
“female” jet stone, 3 ounces each
(2) haematite stone, 2 ounces,
magnet (sideritis) stone,—
argyritis (silver dross/litharge) stone, 1 ounce each
“sea-tails” (caudas marinas),—
sea snakes (ungues marinos), to the number of 7 each
“sea grapes” (uvae marinae), 3 ounces
deer marrow,—
cedar pitch,—
liquid pitch, 3 pounds (pondera) each
bones of ink-fish, to the number of 7
gold, half an ounce
a “pod”(?) of gold-dust

(3) And these all when mixed together and burned oppose with their odor the diseases of humans as much as of animals, and chases daemons away; it is said that they keep away hail and purify the air. But if you cannot find the stones mentioned, or decide not to buy them because of the high cost, the rest of the ingredients will work well enough.

(3.12) A salutory composition of suffumigants.

(1) (This) composition of suffumigants repels bewitchment/the evil eye (fascinum), purifies (lustrat) an animal, chases daemons away, and removes/keeps away diseases; for the fume and breath (spiritus) of the odor, when it enters through the mouth and nostrils, penetrats to all the recesses of the organs very often cures places which potions cannot cure. Likewise, a cough in humans is healed with the vapor of suffumigants above all. (2) Furthermore, the authorities of veterinary medicine (mulomedicinae) assert that the most desperate and dangerous diseases derive, not from faults in the fodder or the water, but from the corruption of the air. And therefore weakness which is induced by a pestilent wind is more easily cured by the salutory airflow of suffumigants.

Their composition is as follows:

(3) Living sulphur, 1 pound
Judaean bitumen, 1 pound
opopanax, half a pound
galbanum, half a pound
castoreum, half a pound
“crude air” (?), half a pound
albis (albitis?), half a pound
(H)ammoniac salt, 3 ounces
shavings of stag horn, 3 ounces
“male” jet stone, 3 ounces
“female” jet stone, 3 ounces
galactite stone, 1 ounce
haematite stone, 3 ounces
magnet stone, 1 ounce
argyritis stone, 1 ounce
sea-horses, 7
sea-onions, 7
sea-balls, 7
“sea-tails”, 7
sea snakes, 7
“sea grapes”, 3 ounces
pith of(?) pine resin, 3 pounds
cedar pitch, 3 pounds
liquid pitch, 3 pounds
bones of inkfish, 7

(4) These (ingredients) are all dried and mixed together; when the need arises, you (take) one spoonful of this (mixture and) strew it over ‘live’ coals, and you suffumigate the animal with its head uncovered, so that it receives the fume through the mouth and nostrils. This suffumigant not only heals the troubles of beasts of burden, it also repels oncoming human diseases and hail, it scares off daemons and puts shades to flight.