This volume explores aspects of ancient magic and religion in the ancient Mediterranean, specifically ways in which religious and mythical ideas, including the knowledge and practice of magic, were transmitted and adapted through time and across Greco-Roman, Near Eastern, and Egyptian cultures.
Offering an original and innovative combination of case studies on the material aspects and cross-cultural transfers of magic and religion, this book brings together a range of contributions that cross and connect sub-fields with a pan-Mediterranean, comparative scope. Section I investigates the material aspects of magical practices, including first editions and original studies on papyri, gems, lamellae containing binding curses and protective texts, and other textual media in ancient book culture. Several chapters feature the Greco-Egyptian Magical Papyri, the compilation of magical recipes in the formularies, and the role of physical book-forms in the transmission of magical knowledge. Section II explores magic and religion as nodes of cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean. Case studies range from Egypt to Anatolia and from Syria-Phoenicia to Sicily, with Greco-Roman religion and myth integrated in a diverse and interconnected Mediterranean landscape. Readers encounter studies featuring charismatic figures of Magi and itinerant begging priests, the multiple understandings of deities such as Hekate, Herakles, or Aphrodite, or the perceived exotic origin of cult statues, mummies, amulets, and cursing formulae, which bring to light the rich intercultural networks of the ancient Mediterranean, and the crucial role of magic and religion in the process of cross-cultural adaptation and innovation.
Magic and Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World appeals to both specialized and non-specialized audiences, with expert contributions written in an accessible way. This is a fascinating resource for students and scholars working on magic, religion, and mythology in the ancient Mediterranean.
Prologue – A Kind of Magic: A Tribute to Christopher Faraone - Radcliffe G. Edmonds III, Carolina López-Ruiz, and Sofía Torallas Tovar; Section I Materials; 1. Mustering Knowledge in the Longer Greco-Egyptian Formularies - Richard Gordon; 2. The Composition of GEMF 31/PGM I and Its Sources - Sofía Torallas Tovar; 3. He Means ‘Rose’: Marginal Notes in the Greek Papyri of the Theban Magical Library - Korshi Dosoo; 4. The Magic Hour: Cultures of Timekeeping in GEMF 57/PGM IV - Kassandra Miller; 5. Practice your Spells When It Suits You Best. The “Cycles of the Moon” Transmitted in GEMF 74/PGM VII and GEMF 55 /PGM III - Raquel Martin Hernández; 6. Stars and Stones: Practice, Materiality, and Ontology in Astrological Rites - Ian S. Moyer; 7. The Limits of Textuality in Artemidorοs’ Oneirocritica - Kenneth W. Yu; 8. Magical Magnets? Mastering the Winds on a North Aegean Island - Sandra Blakely; 9. Fencing in the Drivers and the Chariot Horses in a Latin Defixio from Hadrumetum (DT 277 + 278) - Celia Sánchez Natalías; Section II Cross-Cultural Contexts;10. The Problem of the Magi - Bruce Lincoln; 11. Magicians and Mendicants: New Light from the Marmarini Inscription - Radcliffe G. Edmonds III; 12. Egyptian Herakles and Syrian Aphrodite?: Phoenician Art and Cultural Exchange in the Ancient Mediterranean - Carolina López-Ruiz; 13. Uncovering an Earlier Version of the Demeter-Persephone Story: The Anatolian Background of Hekate’s Appearance in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter - Mary R. Bachvarova; 14. A Bronze Medallion in Madrid: Cross-Cultural and Material Transmission of an Amuletic Tradition from Syria to Sicily - Roy D. Kotansky; 15. “Bind Them as a Sign on Your Hand”: Amulets and Tefillin in Rabbinic Texts - Megan S. Nutzman; 16. A Misplaced Mummy: Thelxinoe’s Corpse in Xenophon’s Ephesiaka - Janet Downie; Epilogue – A Kind of Magic: The Work and Legacy of Christopher Faraone - Clifford Ando.