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Night's Black Agents

The supernatural lore of Ancient Greece and Rome is vividly brought to life in these pages.The literature of Classical antiquity bristles with horrible witches, mysterious wizards, terrifying ghosts, magic books, curses, voodoo-dolls, even werewolves, vampires and Frankenstein's monsters. Many of these tales have directly shaped our own culture's lore of magic and ghosts, and consequently, these tales speak to us today with great immediacy.This book covers a period of over a thousand years that witnessed some massive historical and cultural changes, including the advent of Christianity. Ancient culture was generally conservative and this is particularly true of its notions of ghosts and witches, which are strongly bound up with traditional tales and folklore of various kinds. Such tales preserve and conserve ideas about ghosts and witchcraft, and they survive to achieve this effect precisely because they are wonderfully engaging.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The First Wicked Witches of the West?; 2. Roman Gothic - the Witches of the Latin Tradition; 3. Babylon and Memphis - the Sorcerers of the Imperial Age; 4. Hidden Tales - Grimoires, Amulets and Curse Tablets; 5. Across the Divide: Love and Sex Between the Living and the Dead; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Daniel Ogden is Professor of Ancient History in the University of Exeter. His most recent publication is Aristomenes of Messene: Legends of Sparta's Nemesis (Classical Press of Wales 2004) and he has published widely on magic and witchcraft in the ancient world.


"Ogden is an excellent storyteller ... With perfect ease he pulls off the trick of producing a book that is at once a primer for anybody who knows little or nothing about the subject, introducing famous texts and summarising their contents, and also a contribution to a learned debate." - Times Higher Education Supplement "A wide-ranging display of the scholarship proper to a professor of ancient history...a compendium of ancient spine-chillers" Reviewed by Tom Holland in Daily Telegraph, 2008

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