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Magic And Syncretic Religious Culture In The East

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a general introduction to magic and syncretic religious culture in the Eastern Roman empire in Late Antiquity. Examples of magical rituals, texts and the materials used in the rites are provided. In Attica, the extensive use of cave sanctuaries in Late Antiquity can possibly be connected with the activities of the Neoplatonists and with religious syncretism. The chapter provides an overview of recent scholarly discussion on magic, as well as presenting various categories of objects that were utilised in everyday magic in the eastern part of the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity, with the help of both literary and archaeological sources. The Greek Magical Papyri include recipes for necromancy, phylacteries against demons, erotic binding spells, astrology, lecanomancies, exorcism, the inducing of dreams and other spells. The use of bowls for divination, lecanomancy, and lychnomancy, lamp-divination, are attested by numerous ancient sources.

Keywords: lecanomancy; lychnomancy; magic; necromancy; Neoplatonists; Roman empire in late antiquity; spells; syncretic religious culture



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