The Materiality of Magic


Concept: Jan Bremmer, Dietrich Boschung

Contact: Larissa Förster

Venue: Internationales Kolleg Morphomata, Center for Advanced Studies, Weyertal 59 (Back Building), 3rd Floor|May 24-25

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Ancient magic has been a focus of great interest since the the early 1990s. Although much has been written on the concept of magic itself, its origin, its various genres, formulas, etc., there has thus far been little attention to the fact that magical knowledge became enshrined in certain types of material, such as lead, stone, gems and papyrus-material that sometimes was used for specific genres of magic.

It is the aim of the conference to take the material as the point of departure for a discussion of various types of magic. The centre of the discussion is antiquity, but the conference will also include discussions of preceding and subsequent eras in order to supplement, compare, and contrast the classical material.



Jacco Dielemann (UCLA): From Papyrus to Metal in Amulet Production from Pharaonic to Greaco-Roman Egypt

Chris Faraone (chicago) Voodoo Dolls in Greek and Roman Antiquity

Arpad M. Nagy (Budapest): Developing Ancient Amulets: the Magical Gems of the Roman Imperial Period

Jan N. Bremmer (Munich/Groningen):  From Book with Magic to Magical Books

Richard Gordon (Erfurt): Magic and Materiality: Where Do We Stand Now

Andrea Zeeb-Lanz (Speyer) Magic in Prehistory

Willem de Blecourt (Amsterdam): Bewitchment by Body-Parts. Love Magic in Late Medieval Flanders

Peter Forshaw (Amsterdam): Amulets, Seals and Talismans in Early Modern Europe

Heike Behrend (Cologne): Photo-Magic

Owen Davies (Hertfordshire) The Materiality of Magic Today