Cover image for Witchcraft and magic in Europe : Ancient Greece and Rome
Witchcraft and magic in Europe : Ancient Greece and Rome
Ankarloo, Bengt, 1935-
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 395 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF1567 .W58 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The chronological scope of this volume ranges from the heroic age of Homer''s Greek East to the time of the rise of Christianity, a period well over 1000 years.'

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

This series provides a scholarly survey of European belief in the supernatural. Using broad definitions of witchcraft and the supernatural, it provides a framework for inquiring into the supernatural in Europe from ancient to modern times. Each volume is divided into sections, each of which was written by a prominent scholar in that field. The first volume looks at the practices resulting in a belief in sorcery and witchcraft in Greek and Roman times. Part 1 covers curses, spells, and voodoo dolls in ancient Greek and Rome; Part 2 offers a literary review of witches and sorcerers in classical literature; Part 3 analyzes the role of magic in the classical world; and Part 4 covers belief in demons in the classical world, early Christianity, and Judaism. The second volume covers the witch trials of the 18th and 19th century. Part 1 analyzes the general reasons for their decline; Part 2 discusses beliefs in witchcraft after the trials; and Part 3 discusses the trials' origins in Enlightenment, Romantic, and Liberal thought. The third volume discusses modern witchcraft. Part 1 describes the rise of modern pagan witchcraft; Part 2 looks at modern Satanism (thoroughly dispelling the myth of ritual abuse); and Part 3 analyzes more traditional practices of witchcraft in the 20th century including bewitchments and cursings, and looks into the future of such practices. These volumes provide an exceptional historical and social analysis of subject of enduring interest. All three are highly recommended for academic libraries.ÄGail Wood, SUNY at Cortland (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Magic has become a hot academic field, but also a difficult one. Though most of the magical papyri are now available in a collection (The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, including the Demotic Spells, ed. by Hans Dieter Betz, CH, Jul'86), many others, especially new curse tablets, can be found only in specialist journals. Magika Hiera: Ancient Greek Magic and Religion, ed. by Christopher Faraone and Dirk Obbink (1991), and Fritz Graf's Magic in the Ancient World (CH, May'98) are notable among the few works reaching a wider audience. Even defining what is and what is not magic remains debatable, and the nonspecialist is at the mercy of misapplied theories. Ankarloo and Clark's wide-ranging survey on Greek and Roman magic is therefore very welcome. It consists of four studies: curse tablets and voodoo dolls; witches and sorcerers in classical literature; modern concepts and definitions of ancient magic; and the demonization of magic and sorcery in late antiquity. Each section presents an expert review of the evidence and a clear and accurate discussion of the issues, topped off with an up-to-date bibliographic survey. This extensive and reliable handbook will be the general introduction to ancient magic for some time to come. All levels. C. M. C. Green University of Iowa

Table of Contents

Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart ClarkDaniel OgdenGeorg LuckRichard GordonValerie Flint
Note on Citationsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Part 1 Binding Spells: Curse Tablets and Voodoo Dolls in the Greek and Roman Worldsp. 1
The Curse Tablets: An Overviewp. 3
The Development of the Curse Tablets across Timep. 6
The Process of Manufacturep. 10
Deposition Sites: Graves and the Deadp. 15
Other Deposition Sitesp. 23
The Fundamental Nature of the Idiom of Bindingp. 26
The Importance of Twistednessp. 29
Categorisationp. 31
Litigation Cursesp. 31
Competition Cursesp. 32
Trade Cursesp. 33
Erotic Cursesp. 35
Prayers for Justicep. 37
The Powers Addressedp. 44
Voces magicae, Letters, Shapes and Imagesp. 46
Amulets, Protection against Cursing and the Magical 'Arms Race'p. 51
Professionalism and Specialisationp. 54
Genderp. 60
Classp. 67
Voodoo Dollsp. 71
The Origins of the Culture of Greek Binding-Cursesp. 79
Did Ancient Binding Magic 'Work'?p. 82
Binding Spells and the Definition of Magicp. 85
Bibliographical Essayp. 86
Part 2 Witches and Sorcerers in Classical Literaturep. 91
Introductionp. 93
Concepts and Semanticsp. 97
The Conventional Image of the Sorcererp. 102
The Sorcerer's Apprenticeshipp. 107
Circep. 110
Odysseus in the Land of the Deadp. 111
Medeap. 111
Deianira's Involuntary Black Magicp. 114
The Hellenized Magip. 114
Moses the Magicianp. 115
Solomon the Sorcererp. 116
Orpheus, Pythagoras and Empedoclesp. 117
Nectanebusp. 119
The Amateur Witch of Theocritusp. 120
Nigidius Figulus, Mystery Manp. 120
Vergil's Witchp. 121
Dido, the Tragic Queenp. 121
Canidia, the Love-Witchp. 122
Witches in the Latin Love Elegyp. 123
Jesus of Nazarethp. 124
Simon Magusp. 125
Apollonius of Tyanap. 130
Lucan's Superwitch, Ericthop. 137
Petronius' Sorceressp. 138
Apuleius' Spiritual Journeyp. 138
Lucian on Magiciansp. 140
Lucian, Alexander or the False Prophetp. 142
Plotinus and the Egyptian Priestp. 148
Plotinus and the Evil Sorcererp. 149
The Theurgist as Magosp. 149
Hecate and the Theurgistp. 150
Sosipatra, a 'Divine Woman', and Antoninus, her Sonp. 151
A Necromantic Scene in a Love Romancep. 152
The Sorcerer Unmaskedp. 153
The Bishop Dabbles in Magicp. 155
Conclusionp. 156
Part 3 Imagining Greek and Roman Magicp. 159
Introductionp. 161
The Marvellousp. 168
The Category of Magic and its Practitionersp. 178
Magic Good to Thinkp. 191
Magic as Other--The Magic of Everyday: Love Magic in Actionp. 194
The Night Witchp. 204
Magic as Specious and Vainp. 210
Magic Explained--The Power of Words (1)p. 220
Effluences and Atomsp. 221
Pulling down the Moonp. 223
Daemonesp. 224
Magic in Historyp. 229
Natural Magicp. 232
The Power of Words (2)p. 239
The Repression of Magicp. 243
The Greek World in the Classical and Hellenistic Periodsp. 244
The Roman Republic and Principatep. 253
Bibliographical Essayp. 266
Part 4 The Demonisation of Magic and Sorcery in Late Antiquity: Christian Redefinitions of Pagan Religionsp. 277
Introductionp. 279
Demons of the Classical Worldp. 281
The Demons of Jewish Traditionp. 292
The Apostolic Period of Christian Historyp. 296
Monastic Demonsp. 310
Demons, Magic and the World of Late Antiquityp. 315
Christian Redefinitions of Pagan Religionsp. 324
Conclusionp. 347
Abbreviationsp. 349
Bibliographyp. 352
Indexp. 379