Ancient Magic and its Practitioners

Subject code


Course Number



G. Gillies

Course Long Title

Ancient Magic and its Practitioners


What is the nature of magic? Why is it said to exist? What is its relationship with religion, science, community, and power? In this course students examine some answers to these questions from the Greek and Roman world, using a variety of sources, from epic and philosophy to buried curse tablets and astrological guides. They also consider its practitioners: sorceresses, soothsayers, folk heroes, and false prophets. They compare perspectives from different Greek and Roman communities, including Greco-Roman Egypt and the Near East,; from pagan, Jewish, and Christian voices; and explore modern theories on magic's relationship to class, ethnicity, and gender.

Modes of Inquiry

Analysis and Critique [AC], Historical and Social Inquiry [HS]

Writing Credit


GEC This Course Belongs To


Class Restriction

Exclude Sophomores, Exclude Juniors, Exclude Seniors, 05