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Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World - John G. Gager

Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World

By: John G. Gager (Editor)

Paperback

Published: 1st December 1999
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In the ancient Greco-Roman world, it was common practice to curse or bind an enemy or rival by writing an incantation on a tablet and dedicating it to a god or spirit. These curses or binding spells, commonly called defixiones were intended to bring other people under the power and control of those who commissioned them. More than a thousand such texts, written between the 5th Century B.C.E. and the 5th Century C.E., have been discovered from North Africa to England, and from Syria to Spain. Extending into every aspect of ancient life--athletic and theatrical competitions, judicial proceedings, love affairs, business rivalries, and the recovery of stolen property--they shed light on a new dimension of classical study previously inaccessible. Here, for the first time, these texts have been translated into English with a substantial translator's introduction revealing the cultural, social, and historical context for the texts. This book will interest historians, classicists, scholars of religion, and those concerned with ancient magic.

"There is ample reason...to be extremely grateful to Gager and his associates for having provided such a rich and accessible collection of these fascinating and culturally important documents."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review "The material is fascinating, and provides a view of antiquity from an unaccustomed angle....Of immense value to students of the ancient world and of the history of religion."--Times Literary Supplement "Spellbinding."--Christian Century "A thorough and scholarly book, of immense value to students of the ancient world and of the history of religion."--Ancient History "The editor and publisher are to be commended for making an important aspect of ancient popular religion accessible to a wide audience."--Journal of Religion "Detailed and careful, this is a fascinating study with examples to interest experts in diverse realms of Roman culture."--David Larmon, Texas Tech University "There is ample reason...to be extremely grateful to Gager and his associates for having provided such a rich and accessible collection of these fascinating and culturally important documents."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review "The material is fascinating, and provides a view of antiquity from an unaccustomed angle....Of immense value to students of the ancient world and of the history of religion."--Times Literary Supplement "Spellbinding."--Christian Century "A thorough and scholarly book, of immense value to students of the ancient world and of the history of religion."--Ancient History "The editor and publisher are to be commended for making an important aspect of ancient popular religion accessible to a wide audience."--Journal of Religion "There is a clear and persuasive introduction, which offers both a wealth of fascinating information, especially about the prevailing patterns of manufacture and composition of the tablets, and also some concise and provocative argument. This book will thus introduce students to a pervasive and deadly serious area of ancient life, and do much to help them understand it."--Times Higher Education Supplement "John Gager has performed a useful service for historians exploring Greco-Roman culture....This study makes an important contribution in highlinghting the curse phenomenon."--Critical Review "Gager's exceptional work on ancient magic is the rare book that will benefit experienced scholars, students, and popular audiences alike."--Religious Studies Review

Abbreviations and Conventions
Introductionp. 3
Competition in Theater and Circusp. 42
Sex, Love, and Marriagep. 78
Tongue-Tied in Court: Legal and Political Disputesp. 116
Businesses, Shops, and Tavernsp. 151
Pleas for Justice and Revengep. 175
Miscellaneous Tabletsp. 200
Antidotes and Counterspellsp. 218
Testimoniesp. 243
Glossary of Uncommon Wordsp. 265
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195134827
ISBN-10: 0195134826
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 1st December 1999
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.88 x 13.97  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.38