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Daughters of HecateWomen and Magic in the Ancient World$
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Kimberly B. Stratton and Dayna S. Kalleres

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195342703

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195342703.001.0001

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The Social Context of Women’s Erotic Magic in Antiquity

The Social Context of Women’s Erotic Magic in Antiquity

(p.319) 11 The Social Context of Women’s Erotic Magic in Antiquity
Daughters of Hecate

David Frankfurter

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins his chapter with a critique of two recent interpretations of women’s love magic that overly rely on literary caricature and stereotype. The chapter, instead, allows women to speak for themselves through the spells they left behind in the material record in order to understand the hopes, fears, and desires that motivated their use of magic. Through close readings of extant agōgē spells from a variety of locations and time periods, The chapter surmises that women most often used love magic to protect their social and financial position in precarious relationships with men. It focuses on magic as an expression of agency on the part of these women, and enlists anthropological studies of women and magic from Latin America to analogize the situation of ancient spell-casters.

Keywords:   agōgē, spells, love magic, agency

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