Night's Black Agents: Witches, Wizards and the Dead in the Ancient World

Night's Black Agents: Witches, Wizards and the Dead in the Ancient World

by Daniel Ogden


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The Ghost of Sychaeus:
At length, in dead of night, the ghost appears
Of her unhappy lord: the specter stares,And, with erected eyes, his bloody bosom bares.The cruel altars and his fate he tells—The Aeneid
The literature of classical antiquity bristles with witches, ghosts, magic books, curses, voodoo-dolls, and other fiendish monsters. This book covers the literature of both Greek and Roman cultures over a period of more than a thousand years, through the advent of Christianity. Although classical culture was conservative, especially in regards to ghosts and witches which were strongly bound up in folklore, such tales preserve and conserve ideas about ghosts and witchcraft, and they survive to achieve this effect precisely because they are wonderfully engaging. Consequently, and also because they have directly and indirectly shaped our own culture's lore of magic and ghosts, these tales speak to us today still with a great directness and immediacy. In Night's Black Agents, Ogden uncovers the ancient foundations of the supernatural stories that have endured for generations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781847252302
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 07/15/2008
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Daniel Ogden is Professor of Ancient History in the University of Exeter. His most recent publication is Aristomenes of Messene: Legends of Sparta's Nemesis (Classical Press of Wales 2004) and he has published widely on magic and witchcraft in the ancient world.

Table of Contents

Introduction1. The First Wicked Witches of the West? 2. Roman Gothic - the Witches of the Latin Tradition3. Babylon and Memphis - the Sorcerers of the Imperial Age4. Hidden Tales - Grimoires, Amulets and Curse Tablets5. Across the Divide: Love and Sex Between the Living and the DeadBibliographyIndex

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