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Materiality, Oral Incantations and Supernatural Agency in Ancient Healing Magic
Published October 10, 2021

In the Ancient World illness was thought to be the effect not of accidental or natural causes, but rather the result of a negative agency, an external attack on the victim’s body. This paper focuses on the diverse strategies used in healing magic attested in the material and textual records from the ancient Near East to Late Antiquity, with s...pecial attention paid to how the cultural status of objects and substances was changed through ritual, a process that, along with the invocations of demons and gods, allowed objects to acquire agency to counterattack the harm inflicted on the victim’s body.

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An execration formula from Lugo (Lucus Augusti)
Published August 1, 2020

Excavations in the Plaza do Ferrol in Lugo (Galicia, Spain) during 1986 brought to light a necropolis with cistae datable from the middle of the 1st. century to the end of the 3rd. On one of the funeral urns (with a typology pointing to the first half of the 3rd. century) a graffito was written with a formula execrationis invoking “two genii... or, more probably, Duagena to punish the possible looters. This theonym, a hápax, seems to belong to a Celtic chtonic goddess whose personality (“Born Dark”, or “Born from Darkness”) finds parallels in other magical texts (e.g. antumnos in Larzac).

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