Ancient Greek Love Magic

ISBN-10: 0674006968

ISBN-13: 9780674006966

Edition: 1999

List price: $34.50 Buy it from $8.05
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The ancient Greeks commonly resorted to magic spells to attract and keep lovers--as numerous allusions in Greek literature and recently discovered "voodoo dolls," magical papyri, gemstones, and curse tablets attest. Surveying and analyzing these various texts and artifacts, Christopher Faraone reveals that gender is the crucial factor in understanding love spells. There are, he argues, two distinct types of love magic: the curselike charms used primarily by men to torture unwilling women with fiery and maddening passion until they surrender sexually; and the binding spells and debilitating potions generally used by women to sedate angry or philandering husbands and make them more affectionate. Faraone's lucid analysis of these spells also yields a number of insights about the construction of gender in antiquity, for example, the "femininity" of socially inferior males and the "maleness" of autonomous prostitutes. Most significantly, his findings challenge the widespread modern view that all Greek men considered women to be naturally lascivious. Faraone reveals the existence of an alternate male understanding of the female as "naturally" moderate and chaste, who uses love magic to pacify and control the "naturally" angry and passionate male. This fascinating study of magical practices and their implications for perceptions of male and female sexuality offers an unusual look at ancient Greek religion and society.
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Book details

List price: $34.50
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 10/30/2001
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 238
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

The Ubiquity of Love Magic
Definitions and a New Taxonomy
The Advantages of a Synchronic and Comparative Approach
Spells for Inducing Uncontrollable Passion (Eros)
If Eros Is a Disease, Then Erotic Magic Is a Curse
Jason's Iunx and the Greek Tradition of Agoge Spells
Apples for Atalanta and Pomegranates for Persephone
The Transitory Violence of Greek Weddings and Erotic Magic
Spells for Inducing Affection (Philia)
Aphrodite's Kestos Himas and Other Amuletic Love Charms
Deianeira's Mistake: The Confusion of Love Potions and Poisons
Narcotics and Knotted Cords: The Subversive Cast of Philia Magic
Some Final Thoughts on History, Gender, and Desire
From Aphrodite to the Restless Dead: A Brief History of the Agoge Spell
Courtesans, Freedmen, and the Social Construction of Gender
Aelian's Tortoises and the Representation of the Desiring Subject
Subject Index
Index of Foreign Words
Index of Passages from Ancient Authors
Index of Magical Texts
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