Greek and Roman Necromancy

ISBN-10: 0691119686
ISBN-13: 9780691119687
Edition: 2002
Authors: Daniel Ogden
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Description: In classical antiquity, there was much interest in necromancy--the consultation of the dead for divination. People could seek knowledge from the dead by sleeping on tombs, visiting oracles, and attempting to reanimate corpses and skulls. Ranging  More...

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Book details

List price: $49.95
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 2/1/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.100

In classical antiquity, there was much interest in necromancy--the consultation of the dead for divination. People could seek knowledge from the dead by sleeping on tombs, visiting oracles, and attempting to reanimate corpses and skulls. Ranging over many of the lands in which Greek and Roman civilizations flourished, including Egypt, from the Greek archaic period through the late Roman empire, this book is the first comprehensive survey of the subject ever published in any language. Daniel Ogden surveys the places, performers, and techniques of necromancy as well as the reasons for turning to it. He investigates the cave-based sites of oracles of the dead at Heracleia Pontica and Tainaron, as well as the oracles at the Acheron and Avernus, which probably consisted of lakeside precincts. He argues that the Acheron oracle has been long misidentified, and considers in detail the traditions attached to each site. Readers meet the personnel--real or imagined--of ancient necromancy: ghosts, zombies, the earliest vampires, evocators, sorcerers, shamans, Persian magi, Chaldaeans, Egyptians, Roman emperors, and witches from Circe to Medea. Ogden explains the technologies used to evocate or reanimate the dead and to compel them to disgorge their secrets. He concludes by examining ancient beliefs about ghosts and their wisdom--beliefs that underpinned and justified the practice of necromancy. The first of its kind and filled with information, this volume will be of central importance to those interested in the rapidly expanding, inherently fascinating, and intellectually exciting subjects of ghosts and magic in antiquity.

List of Figures
Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction
Places
Tombs and Battlefields
Oracles of the Dead
The Heracleia Pontica and Tainaron Nekuomanteia
The Acheron Nekuomanteion
The Avernus Nekuomanteion
Incubation and Dreaming
People
Evocators, Sorcerers, and Ventriloquists
Shamans, Pythagoreans, and Orphics
Aliens and Witches
Necromancy among the Romans
Technology
Traditional Rites of Evocation
From Bowl Divination to Boy-Sacrifice
Reanimation and Talking Heads
Theory
Ghosts in Necromancy
The Wisdom of the Dead
Between Life and Death
Conclusion: Attitudes toward Necromancy
Bibliography
Index

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