This section is from the book "Aphrodisiacs And Anti-Aphrodisiacs", by John Davenport. Also available from Amazon: Love Stimulants, Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs.
Paulus (Julius) of Tyr states that the law of the Twelve Tables contained an express prohibition against the employment of ligatures; "qui, sacra, impia nocturnave fecerint, ut quern incantarent, obligarent," etc.¶
Gregory of Tours relates** that Eulatius having taken a young woman from a monastery and married her, his concubines, actuated by jealousy, put such a spell upon him, that he could by no means consummate his nuptials. Paulus Ĉmilius, in his life of King Clovis says that Theodoric sent back his wife Hermeberge to her father, the King of Spain, as he had received her, a pure virgin, the force of witchcraft having incapacitated him from taking her maidenhead; which sorcery Aimoinus Monachaus* asserts to have been effected by Queen Brunchante.
* De Legibus, lib, ii. † Ecologa viii. ‡Amor., lib. iii., Eleg. 6. § De Asino Auroe, lib. ii., v. 3. ║ Tacitus Annal., lib. iv., 22. ¶ Lib. v., Sentent, tit. 23. ** De rebus gestis Francorum, lib. 4, cap. 94.
The practise of point tying was formerly so general that princes and princess made it one of their most amusing pastimes. Louis Sforza having seen the young Princess Isabella, daughter of Alphonso King of Arragon, and who was betrothed to Geleas, Duke of Milan, was so enamoured of her beauty that he point-tyed Galeas for several months. Marie de Padille, concubine of Don Pedro King of Castille and Leon, point-tied him so effectually that he could not give the least marks of his fondness to his consort Queen Blanche.
That the church acknowledged the power of these point-tiers is proved by the fact of their having been publicly anathematized by the provincial Councils of Milan and Tours, the Synods of Mont-Cassin and Ferriare, and by the clergy of France assembled at Melun in 1579. A great number of rituals specify the means to be employed as countercharms to the sorceries of the point-tiers; and the Cardinal Cu Perron, † a very able and experienced prelate, has inserted in the ritual of Evreux very sage directions for this purpose. Similar precautions may be found in the synodal statues of Lyons, Tours, Sens, Narbonne, Bourges, Troyes, Orleans, and many other celebrated churches. St. Augustin, St. Thomas and Peter Lombard positively recognise the power of point-tying and of disturbing, in this manner, married persons in the enjoyment of their dearest priviledge. "Certum est" says St. Augustine, "corporis vires incantationibus vinciri".
* Histoire des Francais.
† Nominated to the Bishopric of Evreux by Henry IV. of France. His favourite authors were Rabelais and Montaigne.
Our James I., who prided himself so much upon his skill in demonology, declares positively that sorcerers and witches possess the power of point-tying, "Or else by staying married folkes, to have naturally adoe with other, by knitting knottes upon a point at the time of their marriage.*
The old parliament of France have generally admitted the power of these sorcerers. In 1582 the Parliament of Paris condemned one Abel de la Rue to be hung and afterwards burnt for having wickedly and wilfully point-tied Jean Moreau de Con-tommiers. A singular sentence was pronounced in 1597 against M. Chamouillard for having so bewitched a young lady about to be married that her husband could not consummate the marriage. But the most singular instance of the kind upon record is that of R. F. Vidal de la Porte, who was condemned by the judges of Riom to make the amende honorable, and afterwards to be hung, and his lady to be burnt until reduced to ashes for having by sorceries and wicked and sacrilegious words point-tied, not only the young men of his town, but also all the dogs, cats and other domestic animals, so that the propagation of these species so useful to man was upon the point of being stopped. In 1718 the Parliament of Bordeaux ordered a famous point-tier to be burnt. This pretended sorcerer had been accused and convicted of having point-tied a nobleman of high family, his wife, and all the men and women servants in his establishment.
* Demonologie, 1603, Book I., Chap. III., p. 12.
It must not be supposed that no counter-charms or amulets existed. The Curate Thiers, who has written at large upon this subject, enumerates twenty-two different ones, the most potent of which were the following:
1. To put salt in the pocket before proceeding to church; pennies marked with the cross and put into the shoes of the bride and bridegroom were equally efficacious.
2. To pass three times under the crucifix without bowing to it.
3. For the bridegroom to wear upon the wedding day, two shirts, one turned inside out upon the other, and to hold, in the left hand, during the nuptial benediction, a small wooden cross.
4. To lay the new married couple naked upon the ground; to cause the bridegroom to kiss the great toe of the bride's left foot, and the bride the great toe of the bridegroom's right foot: after which they must make the sign of the cross with the left hand and repeat the same with the right or left hand.
5. To take the bridegrooms's point-hose and pass it through the wedding ring: knot the said point, holding the fingers in the ring, and afterwards cut the knot saying, "God loosens what the Devi! fastens".
6. When the new-married couple are about to retire for the night to fasten upon the thigh of each a little slip of paper, inscribed with these words, Domine, quis similis tibi?
7. To broach a cask of white wine from which none has yet been drawn, and pour the first of the liquor which flows, through the wedding ring.
8. To rub with wolf's grease the door posts through which the married couple pass on their way to the nuptial bed.
9. To write upon virgin parchment before sunrise, and for nine days successively, the word Arigazartor.
10. To pronounce the word Teuton three times successively at sun-rise, provided the day promises to be fine.