University of Newcastle researcher, Associate Professor Marguerite Johnson has been invited to give a public lecture in Melbourne.

Magic in Melbourne

Tuesday, 4 July 2017


University of Newcastle researcher, Associate Professor Marguerite Johnson has been invited to give a public lecture in Melbourne.

Under the theme of “Love” Marguerite will speak on the topic of “Under your spell: love magic in the ancient Mediterranean” at the University of Melbourne in August.

It’s a well-kept secret that the practice of magic was widespread in the ancient Mediterranean, but it was kept quiet by historians in the late 19th and early 20th century as it didn’t support the idealised view of Romans and Greeks.

Today, however, magic is a legitimate area of scholarly enquiry that provides great insight into ancient belief systems along with cultural and social practices.

Love spells were among the type of magic practiced during this time, keeping many magic practitioners in business as they charged for writing love charms, making love ‘doll’s and directing spells against rivals.

In this illustrated lecture, Marguerite will explore the practice of love magic in ancient Greece and Rome.

Marguerite will also discuss the types of people who performed such magic, including professional magicians and courtesans – who were experts in erotic magic and charms.

As an interdisciplinary cultural historian, Marguerite predominantly explores the area of Mediterranean cultural studies, particularly in representation, sexualities and the body.

Marguerite is particularly interested in the ways in which the ancients write about women.

This public lecture will take place on Tuesday August 22 from 7pm at the Forum Theatre, 153 Arts West, North Wing, The University of Melbourne.

It is part of the 2017 School of Historical and Philosophical Studies’ Public Lecture Series on the topic of “Love”.

This is part of a broader series of events on this theme, in particular, the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions’ flagship collaborative exhibition ‘Love: Art of Emotion 1400-1820’, currently on show at the National Gallery Victoria.

The lecture is free, but bookings are limited. Register online here.