Magic in Ancient Greece and Rome
Parting company with the trend in recent scholarship to treat the subject in abstract, highly theoretical terms, Magic in Ancient Greece and Rome proposes that the magic-working of antiquity was in reality a highly pragmatic business, with very clearly formulated aims - often of an exceedingly maligant kind.
In seven chapters, each addressed to an important arm of Greco-Roman magic, the volume discusses the history of the rediscovery and publication of the so-called Greek Magical Papyri, a key source for our understanding of ancient magic; the startling violence of ancient erotic spells and the use of these by women as well as men; the alteration in the landscape of defixio (curse tablet) studies by major new finds and the confirmation these provide that the frequently lethal intent of such tablets must not be downplayed; the use of herbs in magic, considered from numerous perspectives but with an especial focus on the bizarre-seeming rituals and protocols attendant upon their collection; the employment of animals in magic, the factors determining the choice of animal, the uses to which they were put, and the procuring and storage of animal parts, conceivably in a sorcerer's workshop; the witch as a literary construct, the clear homologies between the magical procedures of fictional witches and those documented for real spells, the gendering of the witch-figure and the reductive presentation of sorceresses as old, risible and ineffectual; the issue of whether ancient magicians practised human sacrifice and the illuminating parallels between such accusations and late 20th century accounts of child-murder in the context of perverted Satanic rituals.
By challenging a number of orthodoxies and opening up some underexamined aspects of the subject, this wide-ranging study stakes out important new territory in the field of magical studies.
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accusations agōgē amulets animal Anna Perenna Antiquity Apuleius Audollent belief binding spells Blänsdorf blood Bonner botanēarsis Brashear Caecilia Canidia century BCE Chapter charm Christian chthonic Circe context cure curse tablets Cyranides defigens defixiones deities Dickie divine doll Egyptian Eidinow Epod Erictho erōs spells erotic magic erotic spells evidence example eyes Faraone Faraone’s female fetching spell fictional formula formularies Frankfurter further Gager goddess Gordon Graf Greek and Roman Greek Magical Greek Magical Papyri herbs Horace’s human sacrifice ingredients inscribed instance invoked involving Iunx Jordan Kotansky Kropp Latin literary literature love spell love-spells lover Magi Magical Papyri magicians Magna Mater Mainz male Marcellus Empiricus Medea medicine moon noted Odysseus Ogden person philia plants Plin Pliny HN powers practice prayers for justice Preisendanz procedure rites ritual Scribonius Largus sexual Simaitha sorceresses sorcerous target texts Theocritus Theophrastus Versnel victim Watson witches woman women