Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World

Front Cover
John G. Gager
Oxford University Press, 1999 - History - 278 pages
4 Reviews
In the ancient Greco-Roman world, it was common practice to curse or bind an enemy or rival by writing an incantation on a tablet and dedicating it to a god or spirit. These curses or binding spells, commonly called defixiones were intended to bring other people under the power and control of those who commissioned them. More than a thousand such texts, written between the 5th Century B.C.E. and the 5th Century C.E., have been discovered from North Africa to England, and from Syria to Spain. Extending into every aspect of ancient life--athletic and theatrical competitions, judicial proceedings, love affairs, business rivalries, and the recovery of stolen property--they shed light on a new dimension of classical study previously inaccessible. Here, for the first time, these texts have been translated into English with a substantial translator's introduction revealing the cultural, social, and historical context for the texts. This book will interest historians, classicists, scholars of religion, and those concerned with ancient magic.
  

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User Review  - Maggie.Anton - LibraryThing

I found this book both informative and interesting. Only in the last decade or so have scholars started to seriously study the magic, superstitions, sorcery, etc of the ancient world as a guide to how ... Read full review

Review: Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World

User Review  - Maggie Anton - Goodreads

I found this book both informative and interesting. Only in the last decade or so have scholars started to seriously study the magic, superstitions, sorcery, etc of the ancient world as a guide to how ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Introduction
3
Competition in Theater and Circus
42
Sex Love and Marriage
78
TongueTied in Court Legal and Political Disputes
116
Businesses Shops and Taverns
151
Pleas for Justice and Revenge
175
Miscellaneous Tablets
200
Antidotes and Counterspells
218
Testimonies
243
Glossary of Uncommon Words
265
Index
271
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

John G. Gager is at Princeton University.

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