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The ancient Greeks commonly resorted to magic spells to attract and keep lovers - as numerous allusions in Greek literature and recently discovered "voodoo dolls", magical papyri, gemstones, and curse tablets attest. Surveying and analyzing these various texts and artefacts, the author reveals that gender is a crucial factor in understanding love spells. He argues that there are two types of love magic: the curselike charms used primarily by men to torture unwilling women with fiery and maddening passion until they surrender sexually; and the binding spells and debilitating potions generally used by women to sedate angry or philandering husbands and make them more affectionate. The author's analysis of these spells also yields a number of insights about the construction of gender in antiquity. Most significantly, his findings challenge the modern view that all Greek men considered women to be naturally lascivious.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674006966
ISBN-10: 0674006968
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 155mm x 13mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 2-Oct-2001
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Christopher A. Faraone

Christopher A. Faraone is Professor and Chairman of Classics, University of Chicago.

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