From binding spells and incantations to curse-writing rituals, magic pervaded the ancient Greek world. In Blood and Ashes provides the first historical study of the development and dissemination of ritualized curse practice from 750-250 BCE, documenting the cultural pressures that drove the use of curse tablets, charms, spells, and other private rites. This book expands our understanding of daily life in ancient communities, showing how individuals were making sense of the world and coping with conflict, vulnerability, competition, anxiety, desire, and loss, all while conjuring the gods and powers of the Underworld.
Bringing together epigraphic, literary, archaeological, and material evidence, Jessica L. Lamont reads between traditional histories of Archaic, Classical, and early Hellenistic Greece, drawing out new voices and new narratives to consider: here are the cooks, tavern keepers, garland weavers, helmsmen, barbers, and other persons who often slip through the cracks of ancient history. The texts and objects presented here offer glimpses of public and private lives across many centuries, illuminating the interplay of ritual and conflict-management strategies among citizens and slaves, men and women, pagans and Christians. Filled with new material and insights, Lamont's volume offers a groundbreaking perspective on ancient Greek social history and religion, highlighting the role of ritual in negotiating life's uncertainties.
Jessica L. Lamont is Assistant Professor of Classics and History at Yale University.
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