Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds

Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds


By (author) Daniel Ogden

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 176mm x 248mm x 28mm | 739g
  • Publication date: 30 April 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195385209
  • ISBN 13: 9780195385205
  • Edition: 2, Revised
  • Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
  • Illustrations note: 8 black and white halftone
  • Sales rank: 241,598

Product description

In a culture where the supernatural possessed an immediacy now strange to us, magic was of great importance both in the literary and mythic tradition and in ritual practice. Recently, ancient magic has hit a high in popularity, both as an area of scholarly inquiry and as one of general, popular interest. In Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds Daniel Ogden presents three hundred texts in new translations, along with brief but explicit commentaries. This is the first book in the field to unite extensive selections from both literary and documentary sources. Alongside descriptions of sorcerers, witches, and ghosts in the works of ancient writers, it reproduces curse tablets, spells from ancient magical recipe books, and inscriptions from magical amulets. Each translation is followed by a commentary that puts it in context within ancient culture and connects the passage to related passages in this volume. Authors include the well known (Sophocles, Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Pliny) and the less familiar, and extend across the whole of Greco-Roman antiquity. The second edition includes a new preface, an updated bibliography, and new source-passages, such as the earliest use of the word "mage" in Greek" (fr. Aeschylus' Persians ), a werewolf tale (Aesop's Fables), and excerpts from the most systematic account of ancient legislation against magic (Theodosian Code).

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Author information

Daniel Ogden is Professor of Ancient History, University of Exeter. He is the author of Greek Bastardy in the Classical and Hellenistic Periods.

Review quote

This is a marvelous book, in every sense of the word. For one thing, it is full of marvel? marvelous stories of ghostly and magical happenings... a reference source that everyone researching this field will be delighted to possess.

Table of contents

Preface ; Abbreviations ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Greek Sorcerers ; 3. Alien Sorcerers ; 4. The Rivals of Jesus ; 5. Medea and Circe ; 6. Witches in Greek Literature ; 7. Witches in Latin Literature ; 8. Ghosts ; 9. Necromancy ; 10. Curses ; 11. Erotic Magic ; 12. Voodoo Dolls and Magical Images ; 13. Amulets ; 14. Magic and the Law ; 15. Supplementary Texts ; Bibliographies ; Indices