Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World

 

Terms and Definitions

 

 

      

 

Etic approach

 

intuitive - magic and pornography

 

analytical

 

substantivist - what, where/when

 

functionalist - who, how, why

 

 

Emic approach

 

self-definition - active magic

 

other definition - accusations

 

positive and negative definitions of magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scholars:

 

 

 

Hermann Usener (1834-1905)

 

Albrecht Dieterich (d. 1908)

 

James George Frazer (1854-1938)  The Golden Bough (1890, 1912-5)

 

Bronislaw Malinowski  (1884-1942)

 

Emil Durkheim (1858-1917)

 

Marcel Mauss (d. 1950)

 

Stanley J. Tambiah (1929- )

 

 

 

Theories and Principles of Magic:

 

 

 

The Grand Dichotomies - relation of magic to religion and science

 

 

 

Intention - concrete individual goals vs.  intangible long-term goals

 

Attitude - manipulative/coercive vs. submissive

 

Action - impersonal action vs. personal interaction

 

Social Evaluation - anti-social vs. cohesive

 

 

 

positive magic (sorcery) vs. negative magic (taboo)

 

 

 

Impersonal Action

 

Principle of Sympathy

 

law of similarity (homeopathy)

 

law of contagion (contact)

 

mana or dynamis

 

 

 

Personal Interaction

 

Prayer vs. Compulsion

 

 

 

Performative Language

 

persuasive vs. predictive analogy

 

father : children  ::  employer : workers

 

instrumental vs. symbolic action

 

empirical vs. non-empirical ends

 

causality vs. participation

 

verification vs. validity

 

 

 

Terminology:

          

 

Greek

 

 

 

 

Roman

 

 

 

 

magos

 

mageia

 

agurtes

 

mantis

 

goes

 

goetia

 

epaoide

 

pharmakon

 

pharmakeus/pharmakis

 

telete

 

katadesmos

 

 

magus

 

magica

 

carmen

 

cantio

 

excantare

 

incantare

 

veneficium

 

veneficus

 

haruspex

 

defixio

 

devotio

 

 

 

 

isopsephia

 

 

                                            

 

α 1

 

 

β 2

 

 

γ 3

 

 

δ 4

 

 

ε 5

 

 

13obv.jpg 

 

ς 6

 

 

ζ 7

 

 

η 8

 

 

θ 9

 

 

ι 10

 

 

κ 20

 

 

λ 30

 

 

μ 40

 

 

ν 50

 

 

ξ 60

 

 

ο 70

 

 

80

 

 

 90

 

 

ρ 100

 

 

σ 200

 

 

τ 300

 

 

υ 400

 

 

φ 500

 

 

χ 600

 

 

ψ 700

 

 

ω 800

 

 

 900

 

 

 

 

αβρασαξ = 1 + 2 + 100 + 1 + 200 + 1 + 60 = 365

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions for discussion

 

1- What – what is the magical ritual or object

 

2 - Who – who is performing the ritual, using the magical thing?

 

3 - Where – where or when does the ritual take place? where is the object used?

 

4 - Why – what is the motivation for the use of magic?  what does the practitioner hope to achieve?

 

5 - How – how does the effect work?  what is the source of the power?  by what means does it operate?  difference between perspective of practitioner and modern analyst?