Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World

Paperback | November 15, 1999

EditorJohn G. Gager

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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 ofthose 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, judicialproceedings, 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 thecultural, social, and historical context for the texts. This book will interest historians, classicists, scholars of religion, and those concerned with ancient magic.

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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 ofthose who commissioned them. More than a tho...

John G. Gager is at Princeton University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 5.39 × 8.11 × 0.71 inPublished:November 15, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195134826

ISBN - 13:9780195134827

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"Gager's exceptional work on ancient magic is the rare book that will benefit experienced scholars, students, and popular audiences alike."--Religious Studies Review