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Dec 11, 2008

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.

Nov 14, 2008

For most magic acts or rituals there existed counter-magic. it. Amulets were one of the most common protections used in the Greco-Roman world as protection against such fearful things as curses and the evil eye; which were seen as very real by most of its inhabitants. Amulets were often made of cheap materials, but precious stones were believed to have special efficacy. Many discovered thousands of carved gems clearly had a magical rather than an ornamental function. Amulets were a very widespread type of magic, because of the fear of other types of magic such as curses being used against oneself. Thus amulets were actually often a mixture of various formulas from Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greek elements that were worn by those of most affiliations so as to protect against other forms of magic. It is interesting to note that amulets are actually often abbreviated forms of the formulas found in the magical papyri.

Magical tools were thus very common in magical rituals. They were just as important as the spells and incantations that were repeated for each magical ritual. Direct evidence of this - a magician’s kit, probably dating from the third century CE, was discovered in the remains of the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor. The find consisted of a bronze table and base covered with symbols, a dish, a large bronze nail with letters inscribed on its flat sides, two bronze rings, and three black polished stones inscribed with the names of supernatural powers. What emerges then, from this evidence, is the conclusion that a type of permanence and universality of magic had developed in the the Hellenistic period if not earlier. Most scientists agree that although many testimonies about magic are relatively late, the practices they reveal are much older.


 

 
 
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Ekaterina G.
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Delray Beach, FL, USA
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