«Magic» in Rome: towards a new taxonomy

Manuela Giordano


The paper intends to highlight the theoretical inadequacy of the term «magic» (even) as a heuristic category to describe an array of diverse phenomena. It is suggested that «magic» is more of a black box, where far-flung rituals are compounded, whose common feature is their perceived otherness and oddity from an etic perspective. Taking as a case-study Roman «magic», the paper proposes a different taxonomy for the various and disparate cultural phenomena usually grouped under the heading of «magic» namely «efficacious songs (carmina)», «efficacious remedies (venena)», and tabellae defixionis.

Giordano QRO 10.pdf287.38 KB