This cultural history course introduces students to magic and witchcraft in ancient Greece and Rome. The course covers the many and varied forms of magic and witchcraft, from spell-casting to fortune-telling and the manufacture and use of amulets. The real witches and wizards of the ancient Mediterranean worlds are also discussed and analysed. Additionally, students learn how to apply the methodologies of the cultural historian - archaeological or material evidence and ancient texts (including papyri) - to produce knowledge of this fascinating, widespread tradition. Theories pertaining to the subject-matter, including anthropological and sociological interpretations, gender studies, and several ethical approaches to the practice of magic complement student learning.
Not currently offered.
This Course was last offered in Winter - 2019.
On successful completion of the course students will be able to:
1. Identify the major themes and issues pertaining to magic and witchcraft in Greek and Roman antiquity.
2. Analyse representations and discussions of magic and witchcraft in Greek and Roman antiquity via critical interpretations of ancient source materials (written, artistic, and epigraphic).
3. Assess modern scholarship on magic and witchcraft in ancient Greece and Rome via critical interpretations.
4. Demonstrate skills to effectively articulate knowledge in both written and verbal forms.
- Methodologies of the Cultural Historian
- Definitions of Magic
- Magic and Religion - Similarities and Differences
- The Gods and Goddesses of Magic
- The Practitioners: Witches and Wizards
- Reasons for the Practice of Magic
- Curse Tablets, Binding Spells and Poppets
- Ghosts in Antiquity and the Use in Magic
- Magical Papyri and Spell Books
- Herbalism and Potion-making
- Fortune-telling, including divination and astrology
- Belief in the Efficacy of Magic
- Reactions to the Practice of Magic
- The Tools of the Practitioner
- Magic in Greek and Roman Literature
This course replaces AHIS3603. If you have successfully completed AHIS3603 you cannot enrol in this course.
In Term Test: Class test (15%) *
Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case study (25%) *
Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial paper (20%) *
Essay: Essay (40%) *
* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.
In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:
Course Assessment Requirements:
- Essay: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
- Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
- Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
- In Term Test: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.