CLA 190 Senior Seminar – Magic in the Greco-Roman World
Winter 2021 - Remote Instruction
Course Description: In this seminar, we will explore the practices and theories of Greco-Roman magic, including how to create love charms and spells, binding curses to win court cases, and incantations to raise the dead. We will start by considering what exactly a term like “magic” means for both ancient and modern commentators before turning to the specifics of how magic was performed. Along the way, we will analyze the concept of Greco-Roman magic from a different disciplinary angle each week – from archaeology to philosophy to literature – to appreciate how each approach raises different questions. As we learn the origin of familiar terms like hocus pocus and figure out why exactly people may have been throwing apples at one another on the regular, we will also consider the place of Greco-Roman practices within the larger context of the ancient Mediterranean. We will close by considering how those practices have been mimicked and manipulated today.
Edmonds III, Radcliffe G. Drawing Down the Moon: Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World
Ogden, Daniel. Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook