CLASSICAL STUDIES 212

MAGIC IN THE ANCIENT GRECO-ROMAN WORLD

Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Office: Thomas 245

Office Phone: 526-5046

redmonds@brynmawr.edu

Thomas 110

T 2:30-4:00; Th to be scheduled

Office Hours: MWF 2:30-3:30

or by appointment

Required Texts:

Course Description:

Bindings and curses, love charms and healing potions, amulets and talismans - from the simple spells designed to meet the needs of the poor and desperate to the complex theurgies of the philosophers, the people of the Greco-Roman World made use of magic to try to influence the world around them. In this course we shall examine the magicians of the ancient world and the techniques and devices they used to serve their clientele. We shall consider ancient tablets and spell books as well as literary descriptions of magic in the light of theories relating to the religious, political, and social contexts in which magic was used.

Course Requirements:

Class participation:
Participation, of course, includes attendance, since you cannot participate if you are not in class. If, for some reason, you cannot attend class, please inform me in advance. Each student should be prepared to discuss and answer questions on the material covered in the lesson for the week. Coming prepared with questions on the material is even better than coming with answers to the basics. If, for some reason, you cannot prepare for class, please attend anyway - you will be better prepared for the next class.
Tuesday classes will be primarily lecture, with some discussion of the general issues raised in the secondary readings. On Thursday, the class will meet in smaller sections to discuss the primary and secondary readings in greater detail. Several students will be selected to lead off the discussion in the section for each class, but every student should be prepared to contribute to the discussion. All readings not in the required textbooks will be available online in the Bryn Mawr electronic reserves at: http://trires.brynmawr.edu/cgi-bin/eres/viewcourse.pl?CSTSB212_EDMONDS.
The magic word that allows the initiate access to the readings is: cstsb212. The readings can be reached directly from the online version of the syllabus at: http://www.brynmawr.edu/classics/redmonds/magic212.html.
Written Assignments:
There will be a number of short written assignments designed for the students to demonstrate their understanding of specific materials covered in class. These projects may require some out of class research in addition to the readings assigned for the class.
Examinations:
There will be take-home Midterm and Final Examinations for this class. Each of these examinations will require students to apply the analyses and definitions discussed throughout the course to primary materials.

Grade Distribution:

 

CLASS SCHEDULE

Week I – 1/22 – 26: Introduction – Issues of Definition

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout

 

Week II – 1/29 – 2/2: The World of Ancient Magic

Topics:

Readings:

Handout & Notes

 

Week III – 2/5 – 9: Curses – Binding Spells for All Occasions

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

 

Week IV – 2/12 – 16: Love Charms

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

 

Week V – 2/19 – 23: Healing and Protection

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

Assignment #1

 

Week VI – 2/26 – 3/2: Prayer and Magic

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

 

Week VII – 3/5 – 9: The Magician's Craft

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

Midterm Examination

 

Week VIII – 3/12 – 16 Spring Break

 

Week IX – 3/19 – 23: Divination

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

 

Week X – 3/26 – 3/30: Astrology

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

Assignment

 

Week XI – 4/2 – 6: Demonology

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

 

Week XII – 4/9 –13: Theurgy

Topics:

Readings:

Handout & Notes

Assignment

 

Week XIII – 4/16 – 20: Alchemy

Topics:

Readings:

Handout & Notes

 

Week XIV – 4/23 – 27: Accusations of Magic

Topics:

Readings:

Handout & Notes

 

Week XV – 4/30 – 5/4: Definitions and Theory

Topics:

Readings:

Supplementary Readings:

Handout & Notes

Final Exam

 

Exam Week – 5/7 – 18