Empedocles too has ascribed to him marvelous powers associated with later magicians. This guy was definitely touched by gods, if you know what I mean. In ancient Greek stories we learn that is, he is able to heal the sick, rejuvenate the old, to influence the weather and summon the dead. Empedocles was a combination of poet, magus, teacher, and scientist. Since much of the acquired knowledge of individuals like Pythagoras or Empedocles was somewhat mysterious even to those with a rudimentary educations, so such might be associated with magic or at least with the learning of a Magus.
After Empedocles, the scale of magical gifts in exceptional individuals shrinks in the literature. Individuals might have the gift of healing, or the gift of prophecy, but are not usually credited with a wide range of supernatural powers that Orpheus, Pythagoras and Empedocles have. Plato even tells us that he takes healers, prophets and sorcerers for granted. He mentions that these practitioners existed in Athens, and they had to be reckoned with and controlled by laws, but one should not be afraid of them, their powers are real, but they themselves represent a rather low order of humanity.
Magical powers were also attributed to the famous mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras, as recorded in the days of Aristotle. The traditions concerning Pythagoras are somewhat complicated due to the fact that the number of survived documents are often contradictory in their interpretation of the figure of Pythagoras.
Some of the magical acts attributed to him included being seen at the same hour in two cities. Or a white eagle permitting him to stroke it. A river greeting him with the words “Hail, Pythagoras!” Ancient Greeks also claimed that he could predict, that a dead man would be found on a ship entering a harbor. Another examples of magical powers of Pythagoras are even wilder. He predicted the appearance of a white bear and declaring it was dead before the messenger reached him bearing the news. And once he bit a poisonous snake to death. These stories hint that Pythagoras was a divine man, and had ability to control animals and to transcend space and time.
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.
Much of ancient Roman literature dealing with magic are, basically, retellings of Greek myths. I found some interesting facts about it in archives of web analytics company. Roman poet Virgils’s Aeneid for example describes an interesting magical ceremony. The hero of the epic, Aeneas, who has landed on the coast of North Africa after fleeing from Troy, meets Queen Dido. She has just begun to build the city of Carthage. Dido falls in love with Aeneas, and wishes him to stay as her prince consort. The rest of what happens is easy to imagine. As usual, a traveling hero meets a beautiful female who is potentially dangerous, although kind and hospitable as long as her love for the hero lasts.
Thus the future conflict is set when goddess Fate decrees that Aeneas leave Dido to found a city of his own. Inevitably Dido’s love turns to hate. Enraged queen seeks to use a complex magical ritual to bring her former lover back to her. She builds a gigantic pyre in the main courtyard of her palace and prepares an elaborate sacrifice to the powers of the underworld. However Dido soon comes to realize that the love magic is not powerful enough to bring Aeneas back to her. So she kills herself in her despair, which adds to the power to her curse. Dido had sealed and extended her curse through her suicide. Aeneas was protected by his gods and remained safe. But, according to Virgil, Dido’s use of magic and her curse lingered on leading to Rome’s near crushing defeat by Carthage many centuries later. This demonstrates quite clearly that the Romans shared the Greek’s view of magic as being dangerous and untrustworthy.
I was always interested in the ancient belief in magic from the perspective of history. It was always amazing to learn how different cultures tried to attach to natural phenomenon supernatural powers. After all, magic, sometimes also known as sorcery, was formed as the whole conceptual system that asserted human ability to control the natural world, including events, objects, people, and physical phenomena, through mystical, paranormal or supernatural means. The term can also refer to the practices employed by a person asserting this influence, and to beliefs that explain various events and phenomena in such terms. Even today, as well as in the past, in many cultures, magic is under pressure from, and in competition with, scientific and religious conceptual systems. As a web analyst I had to go through so many Internet documents to understand how ancients view magic. I learned many things about magic when I was doing a new salvo of researches for my web analytics company.
So, let's start with the land of magic, India. All in all, it has been often stated that India is a land of magic, both supernatural and mundane. Hinduism is one of the few religions that has sacred texts like the Vedas that discuss both white and black magic. There are Vedas that deals with mantras that can be used for both good and bad. The word mantrik in India literally means "magician" since the mantrik usually knows mantras, spells, and curses which can be used for or against forms of magic. Many ascetics after long periods of penance and meditation are alleged to attain a state where they may utilize supernatural powers. However, many say that they choose not to use them and instead focus on transcending beyond physical power into the realm of spirituality. Many wizards, called siddhars are said to have performed miracles that would ordinarily be impossible to perform.
Naturally, our famous pirates were not unemployed, there was a constant demand from France and England for able and ruthless sailors that could be used as a striking force. Infamous great pirate Henry Morgan was on the rise when he started recruiting his sailors from Tortuga for his great and cruel expeditions against Spanish colonies. France was also trying to bribe the pirates, so it could create a stronghold in the Caribbean.
The fun for the pirates ended with the Treaty of Ratisbon in 1684 signed by major European powers. The piracy in the Caribbean grew to such extent that part of this treaty is dedicated to the united decision to put an end to piracy in and around Tortuga. And several years earlier English parliament forbade pirates to sail under foreign flags. From archives of web analytics company I found out that the punishment for disobedience was death in the gallows.
Most of the pirates, especially those who had families did not want to end their life dancing on the rope, so they had to join English fleet and hunt their own pirate buddies who were still sailing under the flag of a Jolly Roger. That was the end of the free pirate life on the Turtle Island.