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Ancient Greek Love Magic.

Author: C A Faraone
Publisher: Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 2009.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats

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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Faraone, Christopher A.
Ancient Greek Love Magic.
Cambridge : Harvard University Press, ©2009
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: C A Faraone
ISBN: 9780674036703 0674036700
OCLC Number: 1041150306
Description: 1 online resource (240 pages)
Contents: Preface; 1. Introduction; 1.1 The Ubiquity of Love Magic; 1.2 Definitions and a New Taxonomy; 1.3 The Advantages of a Synchronic and Comparative Approach; 2. Spells for Inducing Uncontrollable Passion (Eros); 2.1 If Eros Is a Disease, Then Erotic Magic Is a Curse; 2.2 Jason's Iunx and the Greek Tradition of Agoge Spells; 2.3 Apples for Atalanta and Pomegranates for Persephone; 2.4 The Transitory Violence of Greek Weddings and Erotic Magic; 3. Spells for Inducing Affection (Philia); 3.1 Aphrodite's Kestos Himas and Other Amuletic Love Charms. 3.2 Deianeira's Mistake: The Confusion of Love Potions and Poisons3.3 Narcotics and Knotted Cords: The Subversive Cast of Philia Magic; 4. Some Final Thoughts on History, Gender, and Desire; 4.1 From Aphrodite to the Restless Dead: A Brief History of the Agoge Spell; 4.2 Courtesans, Freedmen, and the Social Construction of Gender; 4.3 Aelian's Tortoises and the Representation of the Desiring Subject; Glossary; Abbreviations; Bibliography; Subject Index; Index of Foreign Words; Index of Passages from Ancient Authors; Index of Magical Texts.



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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