Materia Magica: The Archaeology of Magic in Roman Egypt, Cyprus, and Spain
Andrew T. Wilburn (Author)
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This exciting new study draws on objects excavated or discovered in the late 19th or early 20th century at three Mediterranean sites. Through the three case studies, Materia Magica identifies specific forms of magic that may be otherwise unknown. It isolates the practitioners of magic and examines whether magic could be used as a form of countercultural resistance. Andrew Wilburn discovers magic in the objects of ancient daily life, suggesting that individuals frequently turned to magic, particularly in crises. Local forms of magic may have differed, and Wilburn proposes that the only way we can find small-town sorcerers is through careful examination of the archaeological evidence. Studying the remains of spells enacted by practitioners, Wilburn's work unites the analysis of the words written on artefacts and the physical form of these objects. He situates these items within their contexts, to study how and why they were used. Materia Magica approaches magic as a material endeavour, in which spoken spells, ritual actions, and physical objects all played vital roles in the performance of a rite. Materia Magica develops a new method for identifying and interpreting the material remains of magical practice by assessing artefacts within their archaeological contexts. Wilburn suggests that excavations undertaken in recent centuries can yield important lessons about the past, and he articulates the ways in which we can approach problematic data. 27 illustrations, 1 table
About the Author
Andrew T. Wilburn is Assistant Professor of Classics at Oberlin College.
- Contributor: Andrew T. Wilburn
- Imprint: The University of Michigan Press
- ISBN13: 9780472117796
- Number of Pages: 392
- Packaged Weight: 717
- Format: Hardback
- Publisher: The University of Michigan Press
- Release Date: 2013-05-30
- Binding: Hardback
- Biography: Andrew T. Wilburn is Assistant Professor of Classics at Oberlin College.