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Continuities in late antique literacy: the evidence from North Africa and Gaul
Published August 1, 2020

In this article I reconsider the evidence for ancient literacy from late antique North Africa and Gaul in order to reassess how the end of the “epigraphic habit” in the third century may have changed the popular contexts and notional associations of writing. Analyzing evidence for the Christian “epitaphic habit,” as well as for the prod...uction of legal and economic documents between the third and sixth centuries CE, I propose that late antique uses of writing attest to numerous continuities with their early imperial counterparts, including an interest not only in the pragmatic but also the performative character of ancient literacy.

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CIL III 9527 as Evidence of Spoken Latin in the Sixth-century Dalmatia
Published September 1, 2020

The epitaph of Priest Iohannes (CIL III 9527, Salona, August 13, 599 or AD 603) is one of the few inscriptions from the sixth-century Salona, which can be dated with precision. It is also one of the rare inscriptions from Dalmatia of this period, which mention a person (proconsul Marcellinus) known from other sources (Registrum epistularum of P...ope Gregory the Great). However, its linguistic importance seems to be summarized in the remark of its most recent editor Nancy Gauthier (2010) that the language of the epitaph reflects the features of Latin spoken in Dalmatia at the time (“la langue vivante”). The aim of this paper was to check the plausibility of this statement by comparing the Vulgar Latin features in the inscription with the results of research on Latin in late Dalmatia. Also, a new interpretation of the word obsis l. 13 is proposed.

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De la Precatio Terrae y la Precatio omnium herbarum a un texto inacabado: las precationes herbarum de un recetario médico tardoantiguo
Published October 10, 2021

The Curae herbarum is a late antique medical recipe book made up of 64 chapters; it is mostly based on a Latin translation of the De materia medica by Dioscorides. Chapters 1–32 always end with a precatio to the plant so that it ‘comes with all its healing powers’. The article argues for an erudit...e origin for the precationes of the Curae herbarum, which borrow epithets, phraseology, and verbs of entreaty from the Precatio Terrae and the Precatio omnium herbarum. Moreover, the study of internal references in the precationes demonstrates that they were written with the intention of being placed before the medical recipes, but, for unknown reasons, were instead copied at the end of the chapters without ever occupying the place they were intended for.

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The charaktêres in Ancient and Medieval Jewish magic
Published August 1, 2020

This paper examines the different magical signs found in Jewish magical texts and artifacts in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. These include especially the Graeco-Egyptian “charaktêres” (ring-letters, Brillenbuchstaben), the Arabic “string letters” (or Siegel), and the Latin sigilla or figurae, to one may add a few other types of magical signs. This paper surveys their appearance in Jewish magical texts of different times and places, and analyzes their function within the magical texts where they are found.

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The Endovellicus sanctuary in Portugal: An example of language variation throughout votive inscriptions in Latin
Published August 10, 2020

This paper offers a linguistic analysis of epigraphic texts originating in the Endovellicus sanctuary, with particular reference to their use of and variation in Latin. As this sanctuary was visited by mostly local pilgrims from Roman times to late antiquity, the aim of the linguistic analysis is to identify linguistic variation in the... sanctuary’s votive texts. The paper also demonstrates that differences in the spellings of the name of the god worshipped in the sanctuary may show characteristics of Vulgar Latin. The epigraphic corpus under study shows various Vulgar Latin traits common to other epigraphic texts known in Lusitania in the same period, with examples of the literary influence and high-level use of the Latin language, which may be related to the high social and cultural status of certain worshippers.

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Some Points to the Explanation of the Concept of οὐσία θεοῦ in the Hermetic Literature
Published August 9, 2020

The philosophical problem how the essence of God can be defined and what this substance, if it can be called a substance at all, might be like is present in several treatises of the Corpus Hermeticum and in some philosophical and theological texts of late antiquity. In my essay I try to find the correct interpretation of the idiom οὐσία ...εοῦ in the Hermetic texts with the help of some parallel writings from Jamblich and Sallustius. After the explanation of the relevant texts I conclude that the term οὐσία is used only to the cosmic gods, not to the first principle, and it has the function to connect the absolute transcendent first cause to the material world through the cosmic gods. The main source of this conception is the platonic tradition, as it can be seen not only from the similarity of the content, but from the similar use of the philosophical terms.

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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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The Question of Life and Death by Cicero and Macrobius
Published July 8, 2020

To Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis Macrobius prepared a Neoplatonic commentary in Late Antiquity. On the grounds of these two works and Cicero’s other political or philosophical writings and letters this study seeks an answer to the question what similarities and differences can be demonstrated between the two authors’ way of thinking as regar...ds the nature of the virtues, the issue of vita activa and vita contemplativa, the meaning of life and the necessity of voluntary death.

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