Magic and the Supernatural in Fourth Century Syria: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Magic and the Supernatural in Fourth Century Syria

1st Edition

By Silke Trzcionka


240 pages

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pub: 2006-10-27
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Magic and the Supernatural in Fourth Century Syria presents an in-depth investigation of a variety of ‘magical’ practices with a focused study in the late antique Syria and Palestine.

Offering new research using both archaeological and literary sources, and blending Classical, Jewish, and Christian traditions from both regions, Silke Trzcionka examines a myriad of magical activities such as:

  • curses, spells and amulets
  • accusations related to chariot races, love and livelihood
  • methods involved in protection, healing, possession and exorcism.

The information is provided with clarity and theoretical sophistication which enables students to develop an understanding of these beliefs and their place within the social context of the time.

Altogether, a useful, enlightening and enjoyable book which students studying religion and/or social history will find invaluable.


'Without doubt [Silke Trzcionka's] meticulous work is very welcome and a significant contribution to the field of research on (late) antique magic… Very impressive is her skillful narrative account and her fluent style of writing. With her fine and concise observations at hand the readers, no matter if they are specialists in the field, beginning students of (late) antiquity, or just readers interested in the subject matters, are enabled to develop some further insights in some very specific topics that could only be touched in the book. [Trzcionka] must be thanked for having written that fascinating book.' - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

'[a] successful attempt to ignore modern distinctions between magic and religion' - International Review of Biblical Studies

Table of Contents

Introduction Methodology Syria and Palestine Curses for Courses: Heavy Tactics in the Hippodrome Supernatural Sabotage: Ensuring a Successful Livelihood Demanding Desire: Rituals of Love and Lust Apotropaism: Protecting Good fortune Illness and Healing: Threats and Retaliation in a Discourse of Power Possession and Expulsion: Experiencing and Dispelling the Daimonic Ambiguous and Miscellaneous Conclusions: Ambitions, Desire, Fears and Insecurities

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
RELIGION / Ethnic & Tribal
RELIGION / Mysticism
RELIGION / Antiquities & Archaeology