By Christopher A. Faraone
The traditional Greeks ordinarily resorted to magic spells to draw and retain lovers--as various allusions in Greek literature and lately found "voodoo dolls," magical papyri, gem stones, and curse capsules attest. Surveying and interpreting those quite a few texts and artifacts, Christopher Faraone finds that gender is the the most important consider knowing love spells. There are, he argues, specified sorts of love magic: the curselike charms used basically via males to torture unwilling girls with fiery and maddening ardour until eventually they give up sexually; and the binding spells and debilitating potions in most cases utilized by girls to sedate indignant or philandering husbands and lead them to extra affectionate. Faraone's lucid research of those spells additionally yields a few insights concerning the building of gender in antiquity, for instance, the "femininity" of socially inferior men and the "maleness" of self sufficient prostitutes. most importantly, his findings problem the frequent smooth view that each one Greek males thought of girls to be certainly lascivious. Faraone finds the lifestyles of an alternative male realizing of the feminine as "naturally" reasonable and chaste, who makes use of love magic to pacify and keep an eye on the "naturally" offended and passionate male. This interesting examine of magical practices and their implications for perceptions of female and male sexuality deals an strange examine historic Greek faith and society.
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Extra resources for Ancient Greek Love Magic
It is one thing for a man voluntarily to use an aphrodisiac on himself—this was apparently quite unproblematic for the Greeks, with the exception of those philosophers who are generally suspicious of the carnality of the body. But it is another story entirely if a woman, for example, uses a similar ritual or herb against a man without his knowledge or permission. 4, the discourse on these types of spells is frequently connected in a positive light with stories about courtship and marriage. Thus it is not at all surprising that love spells directed against another, unwilling person are the most-discussed forms of erotic magic in ancient Greece and form the central topic of my book.
Just as we believe in the mundane power of a fax machine and ﬁnd it unremarkable, by the end of this book it will be clear that many Greeks believed in or at least feared the practical efﬁcacy of magic spells. 75 Sufﬁce it to say that these traditional modern divisions are for the most part inappropriate for ancient Greece because (1) until very late the Greeks had no developed system of empirical science to test the efﬁcacy of magical spells and thereby distinguish between magic and science; and (2) as extremely tolerant polytheists the Greeks had a very ﬂexible sense of religious orthodoxy, one that allowed them to worship a wide diversity of divinities and to perform an enormous variety of ritual acts, many of which we might call “magical” today.
Handbook): 300a–310 (agÃgimon), 593–619 (agÃgÁ); 973–980 (agÃgimon). 251 (Kühn). 114. PGM IV 2943 (agÃgÁ agrupnÁtikÁ). 374–376 (“Let Ms. So-and-so . . 376–396 (“Let her, Ms. So-and-so . . , “summoning Eros,” “through night and day,” “set a ﬂame in the heart”). Insomnia or similar restlessness is also a component of Mesopotamian magic. ” See Ortega (1991) 71 for the very similar focus on insomnia in a Spanish love spell. 115. The term empuron is used in only one of the late-antique handbooks (PGM XXXVI), where we ﬁnd “agÃgÁ, empuron” (68–101), “another empuron” (102–133), and “agÃgÁ, empuron over unburnt sulfur” (295–311).
Ancient Greek Love Magic by Christopher A. Faraone