Love Charms
In Their Social Context

Love Charms

Philia – love, liking, friendship

"That unalterable relation, far deeper than fondness and compatible with all changes of mood, which unites a normal man to his wife, his home, or his own body – the tie of mutual 'belonging' which is there even when he dislikes them." C. S. Lewis (Preface to Paradise Lost, 1942, p. 23)

Eros – passionate desire, madness, disease

Like a blacksmith the Love God has hammered me and crushed me on his anvil, and has plunged me into a winter torrent (Anacreon 413)

Let me only glance where you are, the voice dies, I can say nothing, but my lips are stricken to silence, underneath my skin the tenuous flame suffuses; nothing shows in front of my eyes, my ears are muted in thunder. And the sweat breaks running upon me, fever shakes my body, paler I turn than grass is; I can feel that I have been changed, I feel that death has come near me. (Sappho 2)

Eros, god of love, distilling liquid desire down upon the eyes, bringing sweet pleasure to the souls of those against whom you make war, never to me may you show yourself to my hurt nor ever come but in due measure and harmony. For the shafts neither of fire nor of the stars exceed the shaft of Aphrodite, which Eros, Zeus's son, hurls forth from his hand.
'Tis folly, folly, that the land of Greece makes great the slaughter of cattle by the banks of the Alpheus and in the Pythian house of Apollo if we pay no honor to Eros, mankind's despot, who holds the keys to the sweet chambers of Aphrodite! He ruins mortals and sets them upon all manner of disaster when he visits them. (Euripides, Hippolytus 525-541)

Gender Issues

Gender and Society in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Gender and Society in the Ancient Mediterranean World

 

Obtaining Spells - Agogai

And the queen of sharpest arrows brought the dappled wryneck from Olympus, bound to the four spokes of the indissoluble wheel: Aphrodite of Cyprus brought the maddening bird to men for the first time, and she taught the son of Aeson skill in prayerful incantations, so that he could rob Medea of reverence for her parents, and a longing for Greece would lash her, her mind on fire, with the whip of Persuasion. And she quickly revealed the means of performing the labors set by her father; and she mixed drugs with olive oil as a remedy for hard pains, and gave it to him to anoint himself. They agreed to be united with each other in sweet wedlock. (Pindar, Pythian 4.213-224)

  • literary figures – witches
  • prostitutes and widows

Retaining Spells – promoting philia

 

Synopsis of PGM IV 296-466 Agoge
(adapted from Martinez 1991, pp. 15-17.)

I. Praxis (296-335)

A. The effigies (296-328)

1. Making and positioning of 2 effigies (296-303)

2. Writing magical formulae on female effigy (304-21)

3. Piercing female effigy with needles (321-28)

B. The tablet (328-35)

1. Writing logos on tablet and reciting (328-30)

2. Binding tablet to effigies (330-32)

3. Depositing tablet beside grave (332-34)

II. Logos (335-406)

A. Deposition with the underworld gods (335-42)

B. Deposition with and adjuration of the daimones(342-47)

C. Conjuration of the nekydaimon (347-406)

1. First command to bind the beloved (347-56)

2. First threat: "the fearful name" (356-67)

3.Second command (367-84)

4. Second threat: Barbaradonai (385-94)

5. Third command (395-96)

6. Final adjuration:IAEO-logos (396-406)

III. Continuation of praxis (406-33)

A. IAEO-logos Schwindeform

B. Characteres

IV. Hexametric Prayer to Helios (434-66)

 

Papyrus

SM 46

SM 47

SM 49

SM 50

SM 48

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I.B 1

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I.B 3

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II.A

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II.B

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II.C 1

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II.C 2

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II.C 3

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II.C 4

 

 

 

 

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III.B

 

 

 

 

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Pella Tablet – 4th century BCE Macedon

Of Thetima and Dionysophon the ritual wedding and the marriage I bind by a written spell, as well as (the marriage) of all other women (to him), both widows and maidens, but above all of Thetima; and I entrust (this spell) to Macron and to the daimones. And were I ever to unfold and read these words again after digging (the tablet) up, only then should Dionysophon marry, not before; may he indeed not take another beside myself, but let me alone grow old by the side of Dionysophon and no one else. I implore you: have pity for [Phila (?)], dear daimones, [for I am indeed bereft (?)] of all my dear ones and abandoned. But please keep this (piece of writing) for my sake so that these events do not happen and wretched Thetima perishes miserably [---] but let me become happy and blessed.