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by Archaeology Newsroom

The “wretched ” subject of ancient Greek magic

Greek magic, often dismissed as a subject of study because it does not reinforce the concept of an “ideal” classical past, has been taken up again in the last years by the amateur social anthropologist as a kind of “case-book” for reconstructing “models” for ancient behaviour-patterns. As a subject of study in its own right, however, it can be richly rewarding to the historian of ideas and traditions. To give but one example, research into the ancient magical texts reveals that such expresions as στα άγρια τα βουνά, που δεν λαλάν κοκκόρια, ούτε γεννάται νύφη και γαμβρός in present-day spells and incantations spoken against the Evil Eye have antecedents going back to almost two thousand years ago.