Animals as Magical Ingredients in Greek Magical Papyri: Preliminary Statistical Analysis of Animal Species



Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Graeco-Latina Brunensia
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Web Digitální knihovna FF MU
Field Linguistics
Keywords ancient magic; Greek magical papyri; animals in antiquity
Description The focus of this study, which is based on a detailed analysis of Greek magical papyri, is to research, how the animal ingredients were used within the sphere of magic in the antiquity and what further information can be drawn. This paper serves as a preliminary review of the results provided by the statistical analysis. Main research questions are: How many papyri spells contain at least one animal ingredient? Which animals were used the most as an ingredient? Which animal body parts were prevalent in papyri spells? Were the animal body parts used in spells chosen based on analogy? Answering these questions can help us understand the connection of animals to magic, and determine if some animals were considered to have more magical power than others. A key source for this study was Betz’s edition of The Greek magical papyri from 1986, compared to Preisendanz’s Papyri Graecae magicae: Die griechischen Zauberpapyri from 1928.
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