Magic Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek & Roman Worlds (CLA3033)
|Staff||Professor Daniel Ogden - Convenor|
|Pre-requisites||The successful completion of at least 90 credits at level 2, of which at least 30 must be in Classics and Ancient History|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;|
To consider the wide range of evidence from the Greek and Roman worlds for: the practice and representation of magic and witchcraft; and beliefs about ghosts and the practical manipulation thereof. The categories of evidence to be reviewed and analysed will include: curse tablets; voodoo dolls; Greek magical papyri; amulets and intaglios; and a wide range of literary sources, including ghost stories. Special attention will be paid to the mechanisms of magical technology, and to the issues surrounding the representation of magical practitioners.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Describe, analyse and evaluate a substantial selection of literary and documentary texts bearing upon the representation and practice of magic in antiquity.
- 2. Identify and explain the theoretical framework, the central themes and issues and the distinctive characteristics of this subject. In particular, they will be able to describe and explain a number of the non-intuitive thought-processes that underpinned magical practice.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 3. Understand and explain the nature of a literary tradition; critically evaluate same
- 4. Undertake precise exegesis of documentary and literary texts
- 5. Understand the key concepts of a radically alien religious culture
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 6. Demonstrate that they have developed skills in the formulation, presentation and defence of arguments (both in written form and orally), and that they are able to work independently.
- 7. Through presentations, develop and encourage reflection on public communication skills; students should develop confidence and clarity in the delivery of these.
- 8. Through essays, develop independent research skills and skills in IT and scholarly formats
The syllabus will follow closely the plan of the prescribed sourcebook (see below): Semester 1: 1. Introduction, orientation and bibliography; 2. Categories of literary and documentary evidence 3. Shamans 4. Greek sorcerers 5. Alien sorcerers 6. Rivals of Jesus 7. Medea 8. Circe 9. Further witches in Greek literature 10. Witches in Latin poetry 11. Witches in the Latin novels 12. Ghosts and ghost stories Semester 2: 13. Necromancy 14. Reanimation 15. Binding curses 16. Prayers for justice 17. Erotic curses 18. Further erotic magic 19. Voodoo dolls and magical images 20. Amulets 21. Legislation against magic 22. Magicians on trial.
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled learning and teaching activities||44||Classes (1 x 2 hours per week)|
|Guided independent study||256||Independent study|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay 1||20||2000 words||1-8||Mark and written comments|
|Essay 2||20||2000 words||1-8||Mark and written comments|
|Oral presentation||10||15 mins||1-7||Mark and written comments|
|Exam||50||3 hours||1-6||Mark and written comments|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Essay||Essay||1-8||August ref/def period|
|Exam||Exam||1-6||August ref/def period|
Re-assessment is not available for oral presentations.
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Core sourcebook: Ogden, D. 2009. Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds. A Sourcebook. Second edition. OUP USA, New York. NB must be SECOND EDITION -- make sure your book is GREEN not black!
Betz, H.D., ed. 1992. The Greek magical papyri in translation. 2nd ed. Chicago.
Dickie, M. 2001. Magic and magicians in the Graeco-Roman world. London.
Faraone, C. 1999. Ancient Greek love magic. Cambridge, MA.
Faraone, C., and Obbink, D., eds. 1991. Magika hiera. New York.
Felton, D. 1999. Haunted Greece and Rome. Austin.
Flint, V., Luck, G., Gordon, R., and Ogden, D. 1999. Athlone history of witchcraft and magic in Europe. Vol. 2. London.
Gager, J. 1992. Curse tablets and binding spells from the ancient world. New York.
Graf, F. 1997. Magic in the ancient world. Cambridge, MA. With care.
Ogden, D. 2001. Greek and Roman necromancy. Princeton.
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Available as distance learning?
Last revision date
Key words search
Classics, Greek, Witchcraft, Ghosts, Myth