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Ars Arcana: Magic in the Roman World

Magic. The enunciation of this term can stir contrasting reactions in the minds of men: suspicion, fear, doubt, mockery… It is a controversial term, mostly because its definition leads to subjective interpretation and its connotation has varied across the centuries.

An interesting definition of magic was offered by French historian Jean Bottèro: “it’s a system of social facts, based upon the belief of immediate efficacy of a certain number of attitudes, procedures and elements, that was usually employed to create beneficial effects, yet whose relationship with its causes were, from our point of view, perfectly irrational.” Yet ‘magic’ stems from the darkest recesses of the human psyche and is an undying element of our everyday lives; we feel the vibrations of the world surrounding us and the invisible threads that link the elements. The notion is that these elements can be mastered, which will lead to greater knowledge and, ultimately, to truth – this obsession has haunted mankind since ancient times.

Read the original article at: Roman Forum News

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