Magic in the Ancient World by Fritz Graf
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Magic in the Ancient World
By Fritz Graf

Magic in the Ancient World

By (author) See other recent books by Fritz Graf
Translated by Franklin Philip See other recent books by Franklin Philip
Format: Paperback

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Magic in the Ancient World by Fritz Graf

Book Description

This text aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to ancient magic. It gives direct access to the sources but selects the important, characteristic examples. Ancient Greeks and Romans often turned to magic to achieve personal goals. Magical rites were seen as a route for direct access to the gods, for material gains as well as spiritual satisfaction. In this survey of magical beliefs and practices from the 6th century BC to late antiquity, Fritz Graf attempts to shed light on ancient religion. Evidence of widespread belief in the efficacy of magic is pervasive: the contemporaries of Plato and Aristotle placed voodoo dolls on graves in order to harm business rivals or attract lovers. The Twelve Tables of Roman Law forbids the magical transference of crops from one field to another. Graves, wells, and springs throughout the Mediterranean have yielded vast numbers of Greek and Latin curse tablets. And ancient literature abounds with scenes of magic, from necromancy to love spells. Graf explores the important types of magic in Greco-Roman antiquity, describing rites and explaining the theory behind them. He characterizes the ancient magician: his training and initiation, social status, and presumed connections with the divine world. With analysis of underlying conceptions and accounts of illustrative cases, Graf gives a picture of the practice of magic and its implications. He concludes with an evaluation of the relation of magic to religion. The book offers a look at ancient Greek and Roman thought and an understanding of popular recourse to the supernatural.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674541535
ISBN-10: 0674541537
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 18mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 8-Sep-1999
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Fritz Graf

Roman Festivals in the Greek East by Fritz Graf Roman Festivals in the Greek East, Hardback (November 2015)

This book explores how festivals of Rome were celebrated in the Greek East and their transformations in the Christian world.

Apollo by Fritz Graf Apollo, Paperback (October 2008)

From his first attestations in Homer, to the opposition between Apollo and Dionysos in nineteenth- and twentieth-century thinking, the author examines Greek religion and myth to provide an account of Apollo in the ancient world.

» View all books by Fritz Graf


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Author Biography - Fritz Graf

Fritz Graf is Professor and Director of Epigraphy, Chair of Department of Greek and Latin, Ohio State University.

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