Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
  • List Price: $46.95
  • Save: $10.11 (22%)
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it Thursday, April 17? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Trade in your item
Get a $19.55
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0415311298 ISBN-10: 0415311292 Edition: 0th

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$36.84 $42.60


Frequently Bought Together

Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World + Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Sourcebook + Magic in the Ancient World (Revealing Antiquity, No. 10)
Price for all three: $84.01

Buy the selected items together


Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (February 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415311292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415311298
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'Magic and Magicians in the Greco-Roman World is the fruit of prodigious reading and profound scholarship, yet never bogs down to its own accumulation of facts.' - Los Angeles Times

'An outstanding book that combines impressive scholarship with clarity and accessibility, and belongs at once in the collection of specialists and on undergraduate reading lists, perhaps even as a prescribed textbook.' - Classical Review

About the Author

Matthew W. Dickie teaches at the University of Illinois in Chicago. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Beginning with an overview of what constitutes magic and magical behavior in the Classical world, Dickie traces the evolution of the concept of magic through his chosen period (500 BCE - 700 CE). His precise field of inquiry is the "common" magic-worker, insofar as such a practitioner existed. He attempts to answer the questions "who was doing magic and why?" by examining a vast array of evidence, both primary and literary. Along the way he discards much of the dross that has accumulated on Classical scholarship in the last decade or so, deriding the postmodern and deconstructionist habits of hanging modern Freudian meanings on antique societies and social actions.
The scope of this work is breathtaking. A truly vast array of sources are brought forth, considered, and placed into the context of what is known about the societies in question. Primary material, drawn heavily from archaeological evidence such as curse tablets and amuletic inscriptions, is cited wherever appropriate. Extensive use is made of the magical papyri as well and the author makes a consistent effort to consider what role is played by the casters of such spells in their societies - the society of classical Athens, for example, is different from that of Athens in the time of Alexander, which in turn is different from Republican or Imperial Rome. Each discrete period of time is considered from its own sources, archaeological, primary or literary.
Nor are modern scholars ignored in this tour de force. Dickie makes wide-ranging use of the best that Classical scholarship has to offer - Graf, Faraone, Obbink, Johnston, all are cited where relevant.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher R. Travers on December 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this work, Matthew Dickie sets out to chronical the development of both the concept of magic and the magician in the Greek and Roman worlds. He succeeds well enough that I would highly recommend this book. Note that generally, he doesn't always trace the origins of magical practices and this may provide different and perhaps complementary information on the sorts of influences affecting magic in this part of the ancient world.

The book starts off with a basic premise: that it is possible to trace the development of magic as a sociological phenomenon distinct from mainstream religion in the classical world. He seeks, so far as is possible, to address the concept of magic in the categories used by the cultures he studies and builds a picture both of the situation at different times in Athens and Rome. While the author notes that many cultures do not separate magic and religion, he notes that both Greece and Rome did, and that this distinction is one we inherited from them.

The book then proceeds to systematically ask the following questions about different periods and places within its scope:
1) What were the social concerns about magic-workers?
2) Who were believed to be magic-workers?
3) What legal actions were possible against magic workers?
4) What was the status of female magic workers relative to their male counterparts?
5) What sorts of professional magic workers do we see in each time and place?

The study is thus fairly broad in scope, is a very heavy read, and covers the period from Hellenic Greece through the early Middle Ages. In many ways, students interested in the context of the witchcraft trials in Europe should probably start with this book because the work shows a great deal of continuity between concepts of sorcery in Greece and Rome and those during the Middle Ages.

This book will challenge you and make you think. It is highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My goodness...this is a dense read. It is one of those text books that packs a lot of information into a small place, but not in a way where it's easy reading. I find myself reading 3 pages and having no idea what I just read as it is written in such a dull way.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?