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A Visigothic Charm From Asturias And The Classical Tradition Of Phylacteries Against Hail

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Chapter Summary

This chapter contextualises a charm from the western part of the Roman Empire, written on slate in the early medieval period, but which clearly continues an older tradition of preventive magic. The oldest method of warding off hail storms consisted of actions: uttering a charm, performing a specific ritual, or both. However, such ritual solutions had one big disadvantage, which was that the ceremony could not always be performed in the middle of the fields before the storm broke. For this reason, it was advisable to think up an alternative that could remain for long periods or permanently on the property itself. The amulets against hail, with all their idiosyncrasies, dovetail perfectly with the mechanisms and techniques of magical practice as known from papyri, epigraphy and amuletic stones.

Keywords: amuletic stones; classical tradition; early medieval period; Roman Empire



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