Courses: Ancient Magic (CSTSB645001)

Spring 2013

Class Number: 1140
Magic – the word evokes the mysterious and the marvelous, the forbidden and the hidden, the ancient and the arcane. But what did magic mean to the people who coined the term, the people of ancient Greece and Rome? Drawing on the expanding body of evidence for ancient magical practices, as well as recent theoretical approaches to the history of religions, this seminar explores the varieties of phenomena labeled magic in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Bindings and curses, love charms and healing potions, amulets and talismans - from the simple spells designed to meet the needs of the poor and desperate to the complex theurgies of the philosophers, the people of the Greco-Roman world did not only imagine what magic could do, they also made use of magic to try to influence the world around them. The seminar examines the primary texts in Greek, the tablets and spell books, as well as literary descriptions of magic, in the light of theories relating to the religious, political, and social contexts in which magic was used.

Fulfills: Class Nbr: 1140


Classical Studies (Web site)

Taught By


Meeting Times

W 2:00pm-4:00pm