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Acta Archelai 63.5–6 And Pgm I. 42–195: A Rooftop Ritual For Acquiring An Aerial Spirit Assistant

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that Hegemonius, or his source, had already misunderstood the ritual performed by Terebinthus as a ritual for vain physical flight with no redeeming value meant to impress people of his access to spiritual power and so to proselytize them. The rooftop ritual is not meant to assist the ritualist in a vain attempt to fly, but rather in a serious and pious attempt to acquire an aerial spirit assistant who can reveal to him heavenly secrets known only to such aerial spirits. The instructional text in Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM) I. 42-195 is a complete example of the partial ritual alluded to in Acts of Archelaus (AA). Direct influence from the PGM or similar texts known to the author is not evident in the three Parthian accounts of Mani's ascents.

Keywords: Acts of Archelaus (AA); aerial spirit assistant; Hegemonius; Mani's ascents; Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM); rooftop ritual



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