Materia Magica: The Archaeology of Magic in Roman Egypt, Cyprus, and Spain
This exciting new study draws on objects excavated or discovered in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century at three Mediterranean sites. Through the three case studies, Materia Magica identifies specific forms of magic that may be otherwise unknown. It isolates the practitioners of magic and examines whether magic could be used as a form of countercultural resistance. Andrew T. Wilburn discovers magic in the objects of ancient daily life, suggesting that individuals frequently turned to magic, particularly in crises. Local forms of magic may have differed, and Wilburn proposes that the only way we can find small-town sorcerers is through careful examination of the archaeological evidence.
Studying the remains of spells enacted by practitioners, Wilburn's work unites the analysis of the words written on artifacts and the physical form of these objects. He situates these items within their contexts, to study how and why they were used. Materia Magica approaches magic as a material endeavor, in which spoken spells, ritual actions, and physical objects all played vital roles in the performance of a rite.
Materia Magica develops a new method for identifying and interpreting the material remains of magical practice by assessing artifacts within their archaeological contexts. Wilburn suggests that excavations undertaken in recent centuries can yield important lessons about the past, and he articulates the ways in which we can approach problematic data.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Chapter 1 Finding Magic in the Archaeological Record
Chapter 2 Materia Magica
Chapter 3 Identifying the Remains of Magic in the Village of Karanis
Chapter 4 Practitioners and Craft at Amathous Cyprus
Chapter 5 Three Curses from Emp˙ries and Their Social Implications
Other editions - View all
Almagro Basch Amathous Ampurias amulet ancient animal Anna Perenna appear archaeological context archaeological record associated Aupert Ballesta bind bones Brashear brephos Brill burial cache chthonic commissioner created culture curse tablets Cyprus dead deﬁxiones Demotic deposited Dieleman difﬁcult discovered divine documents Dots efﬁcacy Egyptian employed Empuries evidence example excavation Faraone Fayum fever amulet ﬁeld ﬁgure ﬁgurine ﬁll ﬁnal ﬁnds ﬁndspot ﬁrst Frankfurter Gemellus Graeco-Roman grave Greek magical papyri Horus identiﬁed incantation individual inscribed inscription instructions invocation Isis Jordan Karanis Late Antique lead tablets Leiden lines magi magical artifacts magical practice Mammal Marco Simon material Michigan Museum names necropolis O.Mich objects ostraca ostracon ousia period plate practitioner prayers for justice priests reﬂect religion religious rite ritual practice Roman Egypt sacriﬁce selenite tablets shaft signiﬁcant similar speciﬁc spell suggests symbols target temple tion tomb Trans University Press urns Versnel victim village