Studies in Magic from Latin Literature

Studies in Magic from Latin Literature

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Studies in Magic from Latin Literature

Studies in Magic from Latin Literature

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Excerpt

Although references to magic are found in almost every Latin author, there is not available in English any general treatment of the subject of Magic in Latin Literature. We have, it is true, excellent chapters by Fowler, Dill, Cumont, and others, touching upon Roman magic; but these scholars treat the subject rather because of its important relation to some other field of investigation than for its own sake.

This dissertation will attempt, therefore, first, to furnish a general introduction to Roman magic, especially as reflected in Latin literature; and then, to add, as a specimen of detailed study, a chapter on Roman prophylactic magic. To this beginning I hope to add, later, chapters on various phases of the same subject, such as, Magic and Curative Medicine, The Number Three in Magic, and Spitting as an Act of Magic.

By way of further delimitation it may be added that Greek literature has been drawn upon only where it bears directly upon our discussion, and that no exhaustive collection of the material of Latin literature itself has been attempted beyond the third century of our era. I have been compelled, also, through lack of space and time, to ignore practically all epigraphical and archaeological material.

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