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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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Saffron, Spices, and Sorceresses: Magic Bowls and the Bavli

Saffron, Spices, and Sorceresses: Magic Bowls and the Bavli

(p.365) 13 Saffron, Spices, and Sorceresses: Magic Bowls and the Bavli
Daughters of Hecate

Yaakov Elman

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates evidence for women’s involvement in the production of Aramaic incantation bowls from ancient Syria and Mesopotamia. Looking first at technical skills required for the production of the bowl, it concludes that there is no reason to exclude the possibility that women may have produced these apotropaic bowls and served as exorcists in the rituals that accompanied their production or deposition. The second section of this chapter, concentrates on a handful of bowls that mention women specifically as clients or exorcists. Women appear in more than 50% of the total number of bowls in which exorcists are named. The chapter’s study thus suggests that women could be respected exorcists, manufacturing apotropaic bowls and dispensing incantations and amulets, which were valued by their clients and communities, but did not have a monopoly on the practice.

Keywords:   incantation bowl, exorcist, apotropaic, incantation, amulet, Mesopotamia

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