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Greek and Roman Necromancy Paperback – February 1, 2004


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Greek and Roman Necromancy + Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook + Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Collection of Ancient Texts
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (February 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691119686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691119687
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] substantial contribution. . . . Ogden takes on . . . Necromancy . . . with a huge diachronic sweep and exhaustive trawling of evidence. . . . [This] book will be indispensable to future scholars."--Peter Green, Times Literary Supplement

"The thought of raising and consulting the dead runs throughout the history of antiquity. . . . The dead who did come back were often in an angry and violent mood; a hero might be needed to vanquish them, or a potent magic to induce them to be gone. . . . Ogden's [is an] admirably cool and scholarly discussion of necromancy."--Jasper Griffin, New York Review of Books

"Ogden's book . . . makes it easy for the reader to follow and enjoy the beauty (and sometimes strangeness) of the sources and the accounts of necromancy they provide."--Julia Kindt, International History Review

"It is rare and refreshing to read a book of the high caliber of the one under review. The scope is breathtaking, the sources cited are thorough and wide-ranging, and the author's own biases are either nonexistent or kept completely under control. Furthermore, the subject matter is so provocative and the writer's style is so direct and fast paced that it is difficult to put the book down once begun. . . . Whether one sits down to read the book cover to cover or comes to it as a resource tool, there will be no disappointment."--Elise P. Garrison, Religious Studies Review

"For specialists, this is a treasure trove of the ancient evidence on necromancy and its related modern scholarship."--Choice

From the Inside Flap

"This study fills a gaping hole in the scholarship, and it is sorely needed. The fascinating material it covers has never been collected and discussed in one volume, in spite of the current surge of interest in ancient magic and its intersection with religion. The author's command of the sources is excellent. He has made an exhaustive survey of all the relevant evidence, so that the coverage of the subject is satisfyingly complete."--Jennifer Larson, Kent State University

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. G. Daniels on April 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I wrote a research paper on ancient reanimation, and this is the only book (aside from Ogden's sourcebook) to have a serious discussion of the topic. It led to many new sources of inquiry, but still was my major source throughout. Anyone taking a class on ancient magic or wanting to look at necromancy more thoroughly must have this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christopher R. Travers on February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
In this work, Daniel Ogden explores necromancy (conjuring the dead for purposes of gaining information) in the ancient Greek world. He covers in detail where this would be done (tombs, battlefields, special places reserved for this sort of activity etc), who would be doing this sort of thing, broad outlines of how such rites were performed, and the ideas behind them.

This work is important for a number of reasons. First it tells us a great deal about the way the Greeks related to their dead. Secondly it tells us something about a subject which has never been treated carefully by historians.

This book is a must-read for the classicist, the student of ancient history, and even the occasional necromancer himself!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Belanger on December 29, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book on Classical necromancy that I find myself going back to again and again. Exhaustively researched, the book is filled to brimming with fascinating information on the attitudes and practices of necromancers in the Classical world. Each time I read it, I find new insights, and new, delightful nuggets of trivia that relate back to a variety of other magickal practices. Although this book is written with a scholarly audience in mind, I felt it was thoroughly accessible to the lay-reader without ever once stooping to patronize that reader. For magickal workers and occultists with an interest in necromancy and spirits, this book is a must-have.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Douglas M. Slakey on August 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In classical antiquity, there was much interest in necromancy--the consultation of the dead for divination. People could seek knowledge from the dead by sleeping on tombs, visiting oracles, and attempting to reanimate corpses and skulls. Ranging over many of the lands in which Greek and Roman civilizations flourished, including Egypt, from the Greek archaic period through the late Roman empire, this book is the first comprehensive survey of the subject ever published in any language.
Daniel Ogden surveys the places, performers, and techniques of necromancy as well as the reasons for turning to it. He investigates the cave-based sites of oracles of the dead at Heracleia Pontica and Tainaron, as well as the oracles at the Acheron and Avernus, which probably consisted of lakeside precincts. He argues that the Acheron oracle has been long misidentified, and considers in detail the traditions attached to each site. Readers meet the personnel--real or imagined--of ancient necromancy: ghosts, zombies, the earliest vampires, evocators, sorcerers, shamans, Persian magi, Chaldaeans, Egyptians, Roman emperors, and witches from Circe to Medea. Ogden explains the technologies used to evocate or reanimate the dead and to compel them to disgorge their secrets. He concludes by examining ancient beliefs about ghosts and their wisdom--beliefs that underpinned and justified the practice of necromancy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Conner on February 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
This text is an invaluable reference for those interested in Greco-Roman necromancy. The author's commentary on the theory behind necromancy and what necromatic rites were though to accomplish is a notable contribution of the subject of Greco-Roman magic. This work is recommended without reservation both for those interested in the general topic and for those doing more technical work on the subject of magic in the ancient world.
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By Kim H. on January 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting read. Nice balance between specifics and generalization. I have read better books on Necromancy (as odd as that may sound) but this was still a nice one.
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