Greek Magic: Ancient, Medieval and Modern (Monographs in Classical Studies)
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Magic has always been a widespread phenomenon in Greek Society, starting from Homer’s Circe (the first ‘evil witch’ in western history) and extending to the pervasive belief in the ‘evil eye’ in the twenty-first century Greece. Indeed, magic is probably the most ancient and durable among social and religious phenomena known to classical and other scholars, and it can be traced over a span of some three millennia in sources in the Greek language as well as in an impressive range of visual and other media. For instance, curse tablets from fourth-century B.C. Athens, the medico-magical gems of late antiquity, early Christian amulets, and various exorcism prayers from the medieval and later periods.
Organised chronologically, the intriguing panorama offered by this book guides the reader through the ancient, medieval, modern and even contemporary periods, highlighting the traditions, ideologies and methods of magic in each period of Greek history. It brings together the latest insights from a range of experts from various disciplines: classicists, art historians, archaeologists, legal historians and social anthropologists amongst others.
in the Greek world and it was largely the province of local men and women. By the time of Heraclitus (c. 500 bce) male practitioners might be called μάγοι2 but more often, at least in the case of itinerant professionals, they had other names, such as γόης, μάντις or αγύρτης. In Chapter 4, Sarah Iles Johnston explores the death-related activities of this exclusively male occupational class. If magic was not late, neither was it peripheral to archaic, classical and later Greek society. As David
he fares poorly, he will die. Another to know whether a sick man is getting well or dying Take a drinking glass and write the following names saying: Rau faithful Noistei Auai Manae Paraclete. And write these three times. And whoever brings the news do not let him move from where he stands. And make him drink three times and you shall learn the truth, whether the sick man will live or die. [On finding treasure] A mole is a blind animal crawling beneath the earth. From it comes the socalled
she explores in Chapter 17 the extent to which this concept and certain apotropaic and exorcistic practices associated with it still inform wedding customs among Castellorizian immigrants and their epigoni in Perth, Australia. As she points out, the evil eye is in reality a social disease, usually affecting persons in a ‘marginal’ or transitional stage, such as the bridal couple, or women after childbirth; through the various spells against the evil eye these individuals are reintegrated into
52, Blum and Blum 1965: 33–4, 138, Campbell 1964: 31. 20 ‘When the Male Seed has entered by the opening below… into the Womb of the woman… and goes through the opening… to her Fallopian tubes… to the Ovary… then these eggs… wetted and warmed, detach themselves from one or two together… and go through these Fallopian tubes… to the Womb… where they stick, sucking the blood of the female menses. These eggs, while feeding there, revitalize and augment the embryo in the Womb of women,’ Pyrros 1831: I:
is intense, multiplex and very fateful for the individual. Superior intelligence manifests itself in the technical strategies of enchantment, upon which the mediation of social life depends. The manipulation of desire, terror, wonder, cupidity, fantasy, vanity, an inexhaustible list of human passions, offers an equally inexhaustible field for the expression of technical ingenuity. My present purpose is not to explore the domain of the technology of enchantment, but merely to point out that it