I was always anxious to find when was the rise of positive concept of magic in ancient Greece. While doing the research for local web analytics company, I discovered that this even, possibly took place somewhere in the sixth century b.c. Among the most famous of these figures between Homer and the Hellenistic period, are the Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Empedocles.
Orpheus is a mythical musician and singer, said to have lived in Thrace a generation before Homer. Orphic Mysteries, seems also to have been central to the personages of Pythagoras and Empedocles who lived in the sixth century b.c. Pythagoras for example is said to have described Orpheus, as, the father of melodious songs. Later Aeschylus describes him as the guy who haled all things by the rapture of his voice. This suggests belief in the influence of song and voice in magic. Orpheus is certainly associated with a great many deeds. The most famous is his descent to the underworld to bring back his wife, Eurydice. Orpheus' deeds are not usually condemned or spoken of negatively. This suggests that some forms of magic were more acceptable. Indeed the term applied to Orpheus to separate him from magicians of ill repute is a divine man. This fact shows, that there was a fine line between acceptance and condemnation.
Seneca’s nephew Lucan in his work surpassed his uncle in portraying the horrors and powers of witchcraft. In his play, just before the decisive battle of Pharsalus, in which Julius Caesar defeats the forces of Pompey, the two armies are moving through Thessaly, the country of witchcraft in Lucan’s work. Here one of Pompey’s sons consults a famous witch called Erictho about the outcome of the future battle. In archives of web analytics company I found something else.
Erictho is the most powerful of witches, and because she is so powerful she is presented as being quite loathsome and disgusting. Such are her powers that she can even compel some of the lesser gods to serve her and even cause them to shudder at her spells. As exaggerated as these plays are they demonstrate knowledge of magical practices found in the Greek magical texts. These works also shows that Roman audience must have easily understood the concept of magic in a negative sense but also in the sense of being a practice aimed at influencing or controlling the forces of the cosmos, even the gods themselves.
The Romans in fact went further then the Greeks in their condemnation and fearfulness that they generate around their concept of magic. Some examples of are found in the writings of Seneca, the philosopher and playwright, and his nephew, Lucan. While doing my research in archives of web analytics company I found something else. Seneca selects some of the most gruesome Greek myths for dramatic treatment and he greatly adds to the negative connotations already applied to the theme of magic, necromancy and the like - where it is given by the mythical tradition and sometimes even where there is little negativity indicated towards magic. From dialogue between wife of the Hercules Deineira and her nurse we learn that it is quite common for jealous wives to consult a witch. It turns out, the nurse, very conveniently, is a witch herself. A great hero such as Hercules should not be able to be influenced by magical means, but in the end he is overcome by the deadly concoction that the evil magic user passes on to Hercules, through deceiving Deianira into the belief that she is giving Hercules a love charm.
In Seneca’s version Medea’s power of hating, which she can switch on and intensify at will is still the dominant theme, but Medea is now given a full cupboard of horrors from which to select the most efficient means of magical destruction. Her magic can even, apparently affect the cosmos, as she claims that she can force down the constellation of the Snake.
Agartha is a legendary city that is said to reside in the Earth core. My coworkers from from web analytics company told me that today the word Agartha is related to the Hollow Earth theory and is a popular subject in esotericism. Agartha is one of the most common names cited for the society of underground dwellers. While once a popular concept, in the last century little serious attention has been paid to these conjectures, and the theory is not supported by modern science. Idea of subterranean worlds may have been inspired by ancient religious beliefs in Hades, Sheol, and Hell. For several centuries, there appeared theories that named various locations of the entrances to Agartha. Among them Great Pyramid of Giza, Brazilian Mato Grosso and Manaus, North and South poles, Gobi Desert in Mongolia.
Since 19 century, the myths of Agartha tricked into fictional works. An early source for the belief in underground civilizations is the book The Smoky God written by Willis George Emerson in the beginning of 20th century. It claims to be the biography of a Norwegian sailor named Olaf Jansen. The book explains how Jansen's sloop sailed through an entrance to the Earth's interior at the North Pole. For two years he lived with the inhabitants of an underground network of colonies who, were a full 12 feet tall and whose world was lit by a "smoky" central sun. Their capital city was something like the original Garden of Eden. While Emerson does not use the name Agartha, later works such as Agartha - Secrets of the Subterranean Cities have identified the civilization Jansen encountered with Agartha, and its citizens as Agarthan.
During the Middle Ages the name was sometimes used to denote Greenland, Svalbard, or Iceland. A municipality in North Greenland was even formerly named Thule after the mythical place. The Thule People, A paleo-Eskimo culture and a predecessor of modern Inuit Greenlanders, was even called Thule people. Nowadays Southern Thule is a collection of the three southernmost islands in the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. The island group is overseas territory of the United Kingdom and uninhabited. The concept of Thule was so popular that this mysterious island lent its name to lends its name to the 69th element in the periodic table, Thulium.
In archives of web analytics company I found more additional facts. It is interesting to note that Nazi occult mystics believed in a historical Thule and Hyperborea as the ancient origin of the Aryan race. They wrote a pile of material stating that mythical Thule, a Nordic equivalent of the vanished culture of Atlantis. They thought that a race of giant supermen lived in Thule, linked into the Cosmos through magical powers. And these inhabitants had psychic and technological energies far exceeding the technical achievements of the 20th century.