Magic in the Ancient Greek World
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Original and comprehensive, Magic in the Ancient Greek World takes the reader inside both the social imagination and the ritual reality that made magic possible in ancient Greece.
- Explores the widespread use of spells, drugs, curse tablets, and figurines, and the practitioners of magic in the ancient world
- Uncovers how magic worked. Was it down to mere superstition? Did the subject need to believe in order for it to have an effect?
- Focuses on detailed case studies of individual types of magic
- Examines the central role of magic in Greek life
76–120. 110 Herodotus 7.113, with De Jong 1997: 400–1. 111 On this see Bremmer 1999: 5. 112 Herodotus 7.114; cf. 3.35 on the twelve Persians who were buried alive up to the neck by command of Cambyses. 113 De Jong 1997: 314–15. 114 Cf. Plutarch, On Superstition 13.171d, where only twelve victims are mentioned. 115 Herodotus 7.188–92. 116 Herodotus 2.119. 117 Cf. Dickie 2001: 34. 118 Bremmer 1999: 8. 9781405132381_5_end01.qxd 30/10/2007 12:13 Page 175 Notes to Pages 58–62 119 120 121 122 123
Satire 1.8.43–44. Faraone 1999: 45. See Faraone 1991b: 200–5, with figures. E.g., Schlörb-Vierneisel 1966: 38 n. 6 with plate 51.1; image reprinted in Gager 1992: 17, figure 3. For the Mnesimachos doll, see Gager 1992: no. 41 with figure 17. E.g., Faraone 1991b: 200. Schlörb-Vierneisel 1966: 38 n. 6 with plate 51.1. For the dating, see SchlörbVierneisel 1964: 99–101. Representations of male genitalia in Greece and Rome were widely used as magical defenses and “lucky charms.” Text and translation
Roman antiquity, it will be important also to consider material dated throughout the Roman imperial period. A brief consideration of Roman curses will help us to distinguish the implied forms of torture in Greek and Roman spells. Finally, we will consider the role of figurines in binding and erotic magic, and I will attempt to contextualize the use of erotic figurines within wider Greek and Roman attitudes toward statuary. Binding magic takes two forms: (1) a binding spell or curse, written on a
most ancient and revered court, the Areopagus, as we learn from Demosthenes and Aristotle.7 Several types of deliberate (ek pronoias) homicide or injury fell under the Areopagus’ jurisdiction, including murder, bodily harm, arson, and cases ‘of poisons (pharmaka), if anyone kills by giving them’.8 But one man’s poison was another man’s love potion, and therein lay the rub. The penalty for intentional homicide was execution or permanent exile, provided the exile was taken before the court issued
itself as a measure of how felt these invisible forces are to members of a given community. That can only be measured by the degree to which that community’s behavior is governed or modified by them. Thus LévyBruhl’s concept of participation helps us to see how, in the particular Greek context, the souls of the dead, divinities, and mortals all partake of the 9781405132381_4_001.qxd 30/10/2007 12:11 Page 11 Magic: What Is It and How Does It Work? 11 same reality, the same physical space and,