Magical Practice in the Latin West (Religions in the by Richard L. Gordon, Francisco Marco Simón (eds.)

By Richard L. Gordon, Francisco Marco Simón (eds.)

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Or in attempting to convert a potential, not-yet-achieved state into an actualized one” (1985, 72). Execration was not part of his agenda. 82 As is well-known, linguistic pragmatics conceives various types of utterance as performative acts, as properly intelligible only in (a specific) social context. Her starting-point therefore is that instead of concentrating on what appears on the tablet—the utterance—we should regard it as simply an aspect of a wider communicative event, the ritual, to which overt allusion may or may not be made.

The rhetoric and forms of public religion are never more than a fraction of the story. To this we must add the role of writing in the creation of a complex metatradition. Already in the classical period in Greece, the demands of school medicine led to the emergence of a written herbalist tradition that expressly suppressed the incantatory element of rhizotomic practice. The Hellenistic discourse, itself a composite partly constructed out of mediated materials from the high cultures of the Near East, provided a multi-layered mythography of magic that provided a language within which some of the stresses of the collapsing Republic and emergent Principate could be expressed.

Mattingly, Being Roman: Expressing Identity in a Provincial Setting, JRA 17 (2004) 5–25 at 20f. 77 “It is at present tempting to regard Britain as a little ‘special’ in its preoccupations”: Reynolds 1990, 381. 24 richard gordon and francisco marco simón two different forms of curse-tablets with an intermediate ‘muddled’ group between, he now thinks in terms of a continuum whose poles are formed by two ideal-types of text, the one represented by a synthesis of the litigation- and spectacle-defixiones, the other by a synthesis of the texts from Cnidus and Bath.

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