University of Lausanne BiBIL
  Institut romand des sciences bibliques
  Biblical Bibliography of Lausanne - BiBIL
Administration Contact Impressum  
Notice details
Bibil Identifier bibil:144969
Publication Type Article of book
Title (English, Long) Magic in the Severan Period
Author Ogden, Daniel
Edited book Severan Culture
Year (Reference) 2007
Language English
Pages 458-469 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract Daniel Ogden surveys views and examples of magical practices in and around the Severan era. Magic and unofficial divination were always liable to be interpreted as revolutionary in the Roman world. Septimius Severus’ interest in knowing the future gives a context for the edict of 198 by the Prefect of Egypt banning such practices (by others) on pain of death. Yet one man’s sorcery was another’s religion, and Ogden outlines responses of the major Christian writers ofthe Severan years. Surprisingly, Julius Africanus had no problem with magic, and includes in his Girdles a necromantic incantation which he says Homer (or the Pisistratids) had edited out of the Odyssey. Of other Severan texts, Philostratus’ Apollonius crops up repeatedly in this volume, and here Ogden analyses how Philostratus presents Apollonius’ decidedly unusual powers. It is clear that the first-century Neopythagorean holyman had acquired a popular function as a magician, and the late antique and medieval Apollonius ‘Master of Talismans’ rests upon this development. Philostratus’ Apollonius has supernatural powers, but depends on the favour of the principal deities rather than magical demons. However, there is no smoke without fire: Philostratus repeatedly makes the sage defend himself against accusations of magic. And occasionally Philostratus cannot, it seems, resist showing his hero displaying supernatural force (such as escaping from fetters). In the rest of the third century Apollonius came to be pitted by some against Jesus (who was himself accused by pagans of being a magician). Although Philostratus does not make himself explicit, that so much of what Apollonius does is paralleled in the Gospels entitles us to feel a response to Christianity is being made. (S. Swain, Introd., p. 21s.)
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Unbound Keywords : Magic
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Graeco-Roman World : History and Civilization
Thesaurus BiBIL : Ancient Christianity : Periods : Third Century
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Graeco-Roman World : Literature - Philosophy : Apollonius of Tyana
Last modification 2017-10-27