Magic has always been a widespread phenomenon in Greek Society, starting from Homer’s Circe (the first ‘evil witch’ in western history) and extending to the pervasive belief in the ‘evil eye’ in the twenty-first century Greece. Indeed, magic is probably the most ancient and durable among social and religious phenomena known to classical and other scholars, and it can be traced over a span of some three millennia in sources in the Greek language as well as in an impressive range of visual and other media. For instance, curse tablets from fourth-century B.C. Athens, the medico-magical gems of late antiquity, early Christian amulets, and various exorcism prayers from the medieval and later periods.
Organised chronologically, the intriguing panorama offered by this book guides the reader through the ancient, medieval, modern and even contemporary periods, highlighting the traditions, ideologies and methods of magic in each period of Greek history. It brings together the latest insights from a range of experts from various disciplines: classicists, art historians, archaeologists, legal historians and social anthropologists amongst others.
J.C.B. Petropoulos is Assistant Professor of Ancient Greek Literature at the Democritean University of Thrace and Chairman of the Board of Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in Nafplio. He specializes in Greek poetry and is generally concerned with social-anthropological issues relevant to ancient Greek literature and society. He also has an interest in the reception of ancient Greek sub-literary and ‘popular’ song tradition beyond antiquity in the Greek-speaking world.