Número 3 (2003)
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Las ‘ephesia grammata’: génesis de una fórmula mágica

Bernabé Pajares, Alberto

Clem. Alex., Strom. 5,8,45,2 and Hesychius transmit a powerful spell, named Ἐφέσια γράμματα, composed by six nonsense words. Several hexametric ἐπῳδαί, some of them recently appeared, contain all the words of the formula, which have sense in their context. After examining the references to the use and the powers of the formula, two tendencies can be established in the evolution of the ἐπῳδαί: a) the tendency to shorten them, and b) the tendency to make the phonic devices predominant, to the detriment of the semantic ones, in such a way that formerly meaningful words become nonsense voces magicae. At the end of such a process only six words were choosen, either because they were key words of the original ἐπῳδαί or because they were phonetically charming for magic purposes. Some data allow relating the Ἐφέσια γράμματα to Orphic circles, whereas it seems that they have nothing to do with Ephesus, but with ἐφίημι.


The Survival of Ancient Magic in the Early Church

Luck, Georg

This paper was originally written to be delivered at a Symposium at the University of Jena in January 2002. Because of an accident, I was unable to attend. I am grateful to Menioff Vielberg for this invitation and his permission to publish the paper in MHNH; I am also grateful to Aurelio Pérez Jiménez, the Editor of MHNH, for accepting it and offering many valuable suggestions. It is notoriously difficult to draw a sharp line between religious beliefs and rituals and magic ideas and practices. The history of Early Church offers a number of illustrations. Even though the Fathers, the Church authorities and the secular government attacked magic, astrology and ‘pagan superstitions’ in general, magic was so much part of everyday-life that it survived in many forms, especially in areas where the Church did not offer any remedies. On a higher level, the new religion shared some basic concepts, e.g. the idea of Dynamis, with the old. Curiously enough, even a form of black magic, the ritual cursing of a person, somehow managed to survive in Christian disguise.


La relación de Orfeo con la magia a través de los testimonios literarios

Martín Hernández, R.

In Greek mythology, Orpheus is the hero to whom one can most appropriately attribute magical spells and pseudoscientific writings, since, in addition to being a poet and being endowed with the apposite skills, he was believed to be a powerful magician, capable of gathering beasts and trees, and of rescuing his wife from Hades. Since the 5th century B.C., diverse writings have been attributed to the Thracian bard. Initially, these writings were predominantly of a religious nature. As time passed, however, he came to be regarded as an authority in a different sort of composition. Increasingly, over the centuries, books of divination, oracles, books on medicine, astrology and other types of knowledge were attributed to him. These writings embody changes in how Orpheus was understood. Because of a diffuse boundary between science and magic, Orpheus was sometimes regarded as a discredited magician, at other times as a scientist who was as wise as he was ancient. To deepen our understanding of this complex mythological figure, this article surveys ancient texts that attest to Orpheus' important relationship with magic over the centuries.


Dinners with the Magus

Mastrocinque, A.

Gimmicks and magic arts were employed during the banquets of Armenian magi and several Jewish heretics or Gnostic leaders. The Kyranides, Hippolytus, Psellus report a series of tricks, several of which were performed at dinnner. Many of them perfectly fit with rituals performed by the Mithraists. These tricks are related with the treatises of Bolos of Mende, Anaxilaos of Larissa and the apokrypha of Zoroastros, Ostanes and other legendary magi. Therefore it is highly probable that his ‘Persian’ magic was performed during the Mithraic banquets. In fact there was no other meeting point for ‘Persian’ culture and religion in Roman empire but Mithraic dinners.


Magia y fábula en Eliano

Vega Vega, Mª Mar

Superstition, magic and wonderment for Nature dwell in the works of Claudio Eliano. The author, always seeking a didactic and moralizing purpose, uses animal behaviour as a model to be followed by Mankind, since Nature is wiser, fair and owns more magical qualities than any human being. Therefore, we have to select, imitate and make good use for those positive aspects of the realm of Nature, moving away from the negative ones.


La piel adivina: trasfondo mítico de un cuento popular

Velasco López, Henar

Analysis of a certain Spanish folktale reveals some inconsistencies among the different versions. However, a previous study by the author of Greek and Celtic traditions of the ‘poet-seer’ throws light on these inconsistencies. The following article identifies vestiges of ancient religious beliefs and magical practices through the ages and demonstrates their particular prominence in the folktale.


Il tema dell' emanazione ('aporroia') nella letteratura astrologica e non astrologica tra I sec. a.C. e II sec. d.C.

Alesse, Francesca

This paper deals with the presence of ἀπόρροια in some astrological, scientific and philosophical texts written during the first two centuries of the imperial age, to bring out some conceptual connections between one of the meanings of ἀπόρροια in the astrological field, that of ‘emanation’, or effluvium, and the use of the same word in medical as well as philosophical and religious texts, for instance in Galen, Philo Alexandrinus, Marcus Aurelius. What is common to these different areas is the idea that what ‘flows down’, preserves the qualities of its origin to which it is substantially linked. This idea, very crucial in astrology, has a foundamental importance in a religious perspective, when it is applied to the divine Logos by Philo, to Osiris by Plutarch, to the Holy Spirit by Christian authors.


Les décans dans le ‘Picatrix’, traité médiéval de magie astrale

Bakhouche, Béatrice

Allegedly taken from the Indians, the system of the decans, as exposed in the Picatrix, combines an iconographic representation, certainly not in accordance with the Greek astrological tradition, with an association of the signs of the zodiac with the planets, mixing in fact astrological data well known in the Hellenistic world: trigon aspects and planetary mansions.


Plotino y su tratado, Sobre si los astros influyen [Enn. II 3]

Dillon, John M.

This article examines the peculiar stance of the Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus to the much-debated question of the nature of the influence of the heavenly bodies on human affairs and on the characters and fates of individuals. Plotinus does not dispute that the stars act as signs of the course of human affairs, but ridicules the belief, characteristic of ‘hard’ astrology, that they are causes of events in this realm. He puts forth his position in two treatises in particular, III 1[3], and III 3 [52], showing himself well acquainted with the traditional arguments on both sides of this question.


Hephaestio of Thebes and the Proems of 'Apotelesmatica'

Komorowska, J.

The essay deals with number of issues related to the Hephaestio's method of compilation. Focusing on his abbreviation of theoretical chapters of Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos (I, 1-3, and III, 2), it traces the changes that were explicitly introduced by the later author to the existing text as well as those caused by the abbreviation itself. As a consequence of all these modifications, the later author looses much of the philosophical and scientific consistency of his predecessor, proving simultaneously quite indifferent to the principle of systematic arrangement so important to Ptolemy.


La armonía de las esferas según Claudio Ptolomeo

Redondo Reyes, P.

The Alexandrian astronomer Claudius Ptolemy set forth in his Almagest and Hypotheseis the planetary distances according to the geocentric pattern. And yet in his Harmonies, the Canobic Inscription and the Excerpta Neapolitana it is possible to trace a sort of heavenly scale, which supports the arrangement of Greek musical scale along with his astronomical calculations.


Un horóscopo de Israel en el ‘Comentario a Números’ de Abraham ibn Ezra

Rodríguez Arribas, J.

The principal text under consideration is the excursus of the medieval author Abraham ibn ‘Ezra’ to the Jewish biblical book of Numbers. The article is about the relations between Israel and God through elements involved in the astrological practice and theory: micrococosmic consideration of the space; equinoctial points in Biblical time; and the horoscope of Israel in the desert. All of them tend to harmonize the life of Israel in the desert with the providence of God making of Israel a sort of talisman in the earth.


Ἀπλανεῖς ἀστέρες. Las estrellas fijas en Filón de Alejandría

Salcedo Parrondo, Mª. C.

This article is based on one section of Timaeus of Plato (36c-d) and on the description of the Fixed Stars by Philo Iudaeus or Philo of Alexandria. Its main point is just to make the stress on those features about the fixed and external circle on Plato's account which are used and slighted modified on the philonic conception concerning fixed stars.


Dos himnos mágicos al Creador: edición crítica con introducción y comentario

Calvo Martínez, José Luis


Un nuevo fragmento del poema astrológico de Anubión de Diópolis: texto, traducción y notas

Calderón Dorda, Esteban
Clúa Serena, José Antonio


'Codex Vaticanus 952'. Descripción del contenido astrológico, edición y traducción de sus fragmentos inéditos

Bautista Ruiz, Hilario


Interview to Christopher A. Faraone

López Ruiz, C.
Perea Yébenes, S.
Torallas Tovar, S.


iam, iam (Ep. 17,1 ). Horacio y los recursos de la magia

Fernández Nieto, Francisco Javier


Saturno, velocissimum sidus in Seneca, Nat. 1, praef. 13

Caldini Montanari, Roberta


Notas sobre la posición de Marte en tres horóscopos de Vetio Valente

Pérez Jiménez, A.


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