Magic in Ancient Greece and Rome (inbunden)
Inbunden (Hardback)
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Bloomsbury Academic
234 x 156 x 16 mm
540 g
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Magic in Ancient Greece and Rome (inbunden)

Magic in Ancient Greece and Rome

The Sorcery and Divination of Classical Antiquity

Inbunden,  Engelska, 2019-05-02
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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 malignant 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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Watson offers an insightful contribution, one that incorporates valuable introductory overviews of certain topics, while also augmenting specialist study of ancient Greco-Roman magic. * The Classical Outlook * Watson's work is clearly born from great experience and expertise with Classical literature. * Bryn Mawr Classical Review * [Watson] shows a commendable command of the sources and independence of mind. Provided that one accepts a wider definition of magic, there is a great deal to learn from this book, which will be particularly useful to expert readers who are already familiar with the topic. * The Classical Review * Watson's book is undoubtedly a valuable contribution towards our understanding of ancient magic that perfectly complements previous publications on that subject. * Electrum: Journal of Ancient History *

Övrig information

Lindsay C. Watson is Honorary Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney, Australia. His previous books include Arae: The Curse Poetry of Antiquity (1991), Martial: Select Epigrams (with Patricia Watson, 2003), A Commentary on Horace's Epodes (2003), Juvenal: Satire 6 (with Patricia Watson, 2014) and Martial (in the 'Understanding Classics' series, 2015).


List of Illustrations List of Abbreviations Preface and Acknowledgements 1 Introduction 2 The Violence of Amatory Magic 3 Defixiones: A Recent History ---Appendix: Did Defixiones Work? 4 Magic and Herbs 5 Animals in Magic ---Appendix: Amulets 6 Fictional Witches 7 Human Sacrifice in Ancient Magic? Notes Bibliography Index