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Drawing Down the MoonMagic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World$
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Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156934

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156934.001.0001

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Healing and Protective Magic: Defense against the Dark Arts

Healing and Protective Magic: Defense against the Dark Arts

(p.116) 5 Healing and Protective Magic: Defense against the Dark Arts
Drawing Down the Moon

Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the tradition of protective and healing magic in the Greco-Roman world. While normal strategies of defense and protection against one's enemies and the ordinary perils of life in the ancient world could be employed in everyday problems, for extraordinary crises, extraordinary means with extraordinary efficacy were needed. Such means were needed not only to ward off potential harm but also to heal the damage already done. Special knowledge might be required to determine the necessary remedy for an unusual or serious problem, whether that knowledge was transmitted in the traditional lore about various plants and minerals or in systematic treatises that compiled the arcane lore for scholarly minded philosophers and doctors. Either the traditional lore or the occult knowledge might be labeled as “magic.” Protective and curative magic channeled divine power in special ways to achieve its extraordinary effects, and so, like other forms of magic in the ancient Greco-Roman world, it was at times viewed askance as superstition and at other times eagerly sought as the only solution to otherwise insuperable problems.

Keywords:   protective magic, healing magic, Greco-Roman world, traditional lore, occult knowledge, magic, curative magic, divine power, ancient world

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