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10:11 am: The legal system, punishments, judgment, and "justice"


Date:October 1st, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)

Magic and Law

How a society views magic depends upon the society because magic is only one aspect of a society.

Biblically, in ancient Israel, it was not tolerated. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Witches with inborn magic or learned ritual had an advantage over everyone else. They died. Period. End of sentence.

Ancient Greece allowed the use of public magic. The Sibyl, the Oracle at Delphi, are two examples. Not great ones because, hey, these folks were possessed by the gods. Still, it was an uncommon trait seen as magic that served the public good.

The Navajo defined a witch by their generosity and intent. If someone was wealthy, yet shared their wealth with clan and society, they were just a really great guy. Let them be stingy or miserly and they were a witch and witches died.

Consider how strength is viewed in the society. After all, magic is a kind of strength. If everyone has more or less the same magic abilities, then there will ways to bring offenders into line. They may have their magic limited by tying their hands or gagging them so incantations are nto possible. Their magic may be drained by the Magic Police.

If, however, magic is an uncommon trait, then magicians are in hot water. Consider the example of the American West. If Liberty Valance was the fastest gun and meanest snake in the grass, and went about proving it, then someone would put a bullet in Liberty's back. There's no need to call in a faster gun. Same with magicians.

"Someone just put an arrow through the heart of Harforce the Mage!"

"Really? A round of drinks on the house, barkeep. I'd like to shake that bowman's hand."

The point is that magicians who use their magic as a foot up on everyone else are usually not tolerated and die miserably. Those who have a beneficial role are included in the society.

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