Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.07.50

Aurelio Pérez Jiménez, Gonzalo Cruz Andreotti, Seres Intermedios. Ángeles, Demonios y Genios en el Mundo Mediterráneo. Mediterranea, 7.   Madrid-Málaga:  Ediciones Clásicas & Charta Antiqua, 2000.  Pp. 232.  ISBN 84-7882-457-X.  

Aurelio Pérez Jiménez, Gonzalo Cruz Andreotti, Daímon Páredros: Magos y prácticas mágicas en el Mundo Mediterráneo. Mediterranea, 9.   Madrid-Málaga:  Ediciones Clásicas & Charta Antiqua, 2002.  Pp. 294.  ISBN 84-7882-494-4.  

J. L. Calvo Martinez, A. Pérez Jiménez, MHNH. Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas. 1 (2001).   Málaga:  Charta Antiqua, 2001.  Pp. 350.  ISBN ISSN 1578-4517.  

J. L. Calvo Martinez, A. Pérez Jiménez, MHNH. Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas. 2 (2002).   Málaga:  Charta Antiqua, 2002.  Pp. 337.  ISBN ISSN 1578-4517.  



Reviewed by Edmund P. Cueva, Xavier University (cueva@xu.edu)
Word count: 4596 words

Seres Intermedios

Seres Intermedios is a collection of eight essays presented at the conference "XI Curso-Seminario de Otoño de Estudios sobre el Mediterráneo Antiguo" held at the University of Málaga in September 14-16, 1998. The aim of the collection is to examine the functions that the ancient Mediterranean peoples gave to beings that had intermediate or intervening roles between humans and superhuman entities. The approaches range from the anthropological to hispanist, from Graeco-Roman to Byzantine and Islamic. Quite a bit of material is covered in these essays. My approach for all four books is to touch briefly on the contributions and to point out any major themes that may emerge.

The first essay, "Seres Intermedios: Decadencia y Retroceso en la Modernidad," by J. A. González Alcantud, examines how Christian martyrs became saints and thus had intermediating functions before God on behalf of humans. The saints also gave flesh to the struggle against temptation and above all helped humans by granting a "logical solution to the fissure between the miseries of daily reality and eschatological beliefs" (12). In addition, saints had to be interpreted as existing somewhere between the monotheistic belief inherited from Judaism and Graeco-Roman anthropocentrism; this interpretation opens the door to the secularization of the world and a faith that has to be "approached through reason" (16).

Mercedes López Salvá ("Demonios y Espíritus en las Religiones Primitivas del Próximo Oriente") follows with an intriguing analysis of intermediary beings in Sumer and Babylon. It is in the Near East, she writes, that the "poetical imagination of man unites with the religious imagination" in order to create a world of beings who "assist and protect and at the same time help give an explanation for the causes of evil in the world or of those forces that the human mind cannot understand" (23). It should be noted that these beings not only help but also plague humans, all of whom are situated in a tripartite universe: humans on earth, superior and divine beings in the heavens, and creatures that terrify humans below. The author argues that it was necessary to believe in the intermediary beings in order to elevate oneself from the terrestrial to the heavenly or to account for the terrors that stem from the infernal world. Listed among intermediary beings are the sebittu, iminbi, kalaurru, kurgaruu, apkallu, and milla gallu.

E. Suárez de la Torre's "La Nocion de Daimon en la Literatura de la Grecia Arcaica y Clásica" writes that δαίμων can be interpreted as: 1) an unnamed deity that intervenes directly in human affairs and can be equated with the theoi, 2) something similar at times to destiny or fortune, 3) something that need not be identified with Olympic deities, but can have negative and frightening associations, 4) the soul of a hero or of someone who has died, or 5) the "soul" as understood in philosophical terms. The author explores the texts of Homer, Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, Alcman, Pindar, Bacchylides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Iamblichus, and Plato, among others.

In "Seres Intermedios en la Tradición Platónica Tardía", John Dillon continues with this theme when he begins his essay with the passage from Plato's Symposium 203a1-2, which states that "God does not deal directly with man" because there is a series of intermediary beings called daimones, who can be "good or bad" (117). Dillon explores the contributions of Xenocrates, Plutarch, Philo of Alexandria, Apuleius, and Calicidius to the development in the explication and expansion on the concept of the demonic in Platonism.

In "Seres Intermedios y Religiosidad Popular en el Mundo Romano," Clelia Martínez Maza reviews the function of the intermediary beings in "popular and private" spheres, in particular, the domestic roles in which these beings were worshipped. The penates and their relationship to the nourishment of the family and the lares and their involvement in the delineation of property ownership form the bulk of the essay. The manes, lemures, and larvae are seen as "divine groups that act collectively and possess a field of action that is closer to that of the human individual than that of the gods" (143). These supernatural entities survived the rise of Christianity in better shape than the gods of the pantheon.

The essay by Frederick E. Brenk, "El Exorcismo en Filipos en Hechos 16.11-40: Posesión Divina o Inspiración Diabólica," tackles the proper interpretation of πνεῦμα in the biblical passage -- more accurately πνεῦμα πύθωνα, which Brenk translates as "prophetic spirit." This πνεῦμα can, of course, be divine inspiration, the Holy Spirit, or an evil spirit (a reading not found in Pauline literature). Exorcism, Brenk intriguingly notes, was a common Jewish practice that posed no problems in being incorporated into the Christian world. Christians, however, did perceive the worship of Apollo and the consultation of his oracles as demonically inspired.

In "El Diablo en Bizancio: Metodología, Orientaciones y Resultados de su Estudio," Antonio Bravo García uses sociological and psychological methodologies to consider the question of the demonic in Byzantine times as found in hagiographic literature. The models he employs are "demonic" (malignant beings perpetrating evil acts), "scriptural" (the deeds involved are similar to those found in the Bible), and "ascetic" (the deeds involve asceticism, virtue, and sin). In Byzantine times there developed a fundamental postulate: "to recognize, avoid, and conquer the demons comes to be at length something like a new science, a new compendium of knowledge, a philosophy of incalculable value and difficulty that supplants other types of knowledge" (196). The author concludes by stating that psychologically it was demanded that this fundamental postulate be recognized as true, since not doing so would run the risk of madness.

The final essay, Antonio Garrido Moraga's "Análisis Crítico de un Mitema: El Demonio en Algunos Casos de la Literatura Española," is an attempt to arrive at a valid macrostructural typology (in the manner of Lévy-Strauss) of the demonic in Spanish literature. Lope de Vega, Amescua, Calderón, and Cernuda serve as texts for this attempt.

This compilation is thorough in its approach and the authors make forceful and convincing presentations. The text is free from any egregious mistakes. Anyone interested in the history of the occult sciences will find this book a worthwhile purchase.

Daímon Páredros

Daímon Páredros, another collection of essays, is a product of the "XIII Curso-Seminario de Otoño de Estudios sobre el Mediterráneo Antiguo" conference held at the University of Málaga in September 19-22, 2000. The collection also includes articles by Márquez Romero and José Luis Jiménez Muñoz that were not presented at the gathering. The focus of this collection complements that of the collection reviewed above by noting that once the ancients recognized the intermediary beings' roles, passions, and weaknesses, they could try to make them "submit to their wills and convert them into their instruments as servants and assistants ... capable of accomplishing for us what for us is impossible" (2) -- hence the title of the work, δαίμων πάρεδρος.

Concepción Mora's "La Magia como Respuesta a lo Desconocido: Una Visión Antropológica" not only reviews some of the scholars in anthropology who have worked to establish the boundaries between magic and religion (Frazer, Malinowski, Redfield), but also goes through the practices and methodologies of those associated with magic (e.g., exorcists, wise men, witches, shamans, wizards). These are the people, the author summarizes, "to whom some power or supernatural force has been attributed, who can use this power or force positively or negatively, although all of them do not have an equal amount of power or efficacy. Their resources stem from oral traditions" (23). Some of these practitioners of magic move easily between white and black magic and have had and still do have the trust and confidence of some people.

In "Lugares Rituales y Magia en la Prehistoria: Dos Casos Singulares," José E. Márquez Romero demonstrates that although magic could be associated with a multitude of locations in prehistoric times, it tends to be linked most often with painted caves and Paleolithic sanctuaries, and to a lesser extent with entrenched stone circles from the Neolithic period. In order to understand completely this interrelationship it is of paramount importance for the modern scholar to become aware of what Eliade terms "archaic ontology," which is similar to Levy-Bruhl's "soul of the primitive" or Lévi-Strauss' "savage mind" -- Márquez Romero avoids any disparagement of prehistoric thought. This ontology can best be seen in myth, ritual, and the animistic form of the experience undergone in these rituals in such places as painted caves. Magic for the author must be viewed as the "consubstantial element" (39) of all primitive rituals and ceremonies, which are intended to give a social configuration to the beliefs of primitive peoples.

"La Magia en la Grecia Arcaica y Clásica" by José Luis Calvo Martínez begins with a survey of Greek literature from Homer to approximately 300 B.C. -- it should be noted that magic in literature is viewed as being more than just another poetic function. The second kind of data in the essay is the scientific and philosophic opinions on and manifestations of magic; the third comes from those who actually practiced some form of magic. Epic, tragedy, the works of Hippocrates, Plato's Laws, and the tabellae defixionum form the bulk of the material examined. Nothing really new is revealed in this examination, but the survey of sources is well done.

Paired with the concluding time period of Calvo Martínez' chronology is Manuel García Teijeiro's "Temas Mágicos en la Literatura Helenística." The author argues that during the Hellenistic period not only did the Greek language move to its koine or universal form but that local forms of magic extended throughout the Mediterranean in the Imperial period in a syncretistic manner. Magic, it is argued, took on a scientific quality, with universal laws and regulations. The proof for this transformation can be found in the poetry of the period (e.g., Apollonius of Rhodes and Theocritus).

In "La Magia en la Biblia," Antonio Piñero moves the spotlight from the Greek world to Israel. This essay, which is a summary of two chapters from his book En la frontera de lo imposible: Magos, médicos y taumaturgos en el Mediterráneo Antiguo en tiempos del Nuevo Testamento (2001), indicates that ancient Israel was well-versed in magic. The author cites examples from the Old Testament that evidence the magical use of prayer, sacred places, rites of sacrifices, apotropaic rituals, amulets, the invocation of the dead, the divine name, miracles, and prophecy -- all of which were forbidden by official legislation but tended to remain in private practice. In the New Testament any sort of paranormal activity must be interpreted to see whether it comes through Jesus Christ. If it does, it is not magic. If it does not, either evil spirits are at work or someone who has control over the forces of nature. This is therefore termed magic.

Claudio Moreschini heads back to the Graeco-Roman world with his intriguing "Apuleyo Mago o Apuleius Philosophus Platonicus?" The premise of the essay is quite simple: the Christian belief is that demons and the terror caused by them are evidenced through a series of proofs, literary or folklore, which are extremely varied. The pagan, however, views demons as causing not necessarily fear but rather reverence (this reverence is limited to people of the middle and elite classes). Among the latter interpretation are the observations of Plutarch, Apuleius, Maximus of Tyre, and Philostratus. It is Apuleius who sums up this notion by observing that magic, at least as evidenced in his own writings, is a form of philosophy and theurgy; the philosopher is the priest of all of the numina and is in contact with all divinities, with which he is allowed to speak.

The last essay that touches upon the classical world is "Magia Literaria y Prácticas Mágicas en el Mundo Roman-Céltico" by Francisco Marco-Simón. The author suggests that it is difficult to get an accurate picture of Celtic magic in Ireland because most accounts that deal with this phenomenon are mediated through myths and Christian hagiographical narratives. Marco-Simón also argues that orality played a large part in the way the traditions and religious knowledge of this phenomenon were conveyed. Celtic magic, in conclusion, must be sought in the vernacular epigraphy written in the Gallic tongue. The accounts of such writers as Pliny the Elder do not supply a clear picture of Celtic magic; they only stress Celtic peculiarities and the inversion of Roman practices and ideas.

The final three essays break away from the Classical world and focus on Byzantine, Andalusian/Muslim, and Medieval and Renaissance Spanish writings. In "La Magia en Bizancio: Una Ojeada de Conjunto," Antonio Bravo García gives an overview of magic in Byzantine times: magic in Byzantium was a constant presence, notwithstanding Church opposition, which from the fourth century had imperial legislation on its side to punish severely not only those involved in causing harm but also those sympathetic to the practice of magic. Amulets, tabellae defixionum, exorcism, and myriad forms of divination were prevalent. Maribel Fierro's "La Magia en Al-Andalus" concentrates on the ancient and modern Muslim preoccupation with magic. In particular, the author addresses the question whether there is revelation after the composition of the Koran. Although magic has been prohibited and strenuously punished during all periods and in all places in the Muslim world, it nevertheless has been an "integral part in Muslim beliefs, rituals, and social customs" (248-249). The last essay, Miguel Ángel Pérez Priego's "Tratados y Prácticas Mágicas en la Literatura Española Medieval y Renacentista," is a cursory examination of motifs and themes pertaining to magic that appear in Medieval and Renaissance Spanish writings. The authors discussed range from Bishop de Lope Barrientos, Martín de Castañega, Pedro Ciruelo, Don Enrique de Villena, to Juan de Mena and Diego Sánchez de Badajoz.

This volume, like its predecessor, is a detailed examination of the role of magic in the ancient and medieval world. The essays are well written, informative, and comprehensive. Both volumes accomplish the goals set out by the editors.

MHNH 1

The first two volumes of MHNH. Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas, edited by J. L. Calvo Martinez and A. Pérez Jiménez, follow the same format: I. Studia, II. Documenta et Notabilia, and III. Recensiones. Volume 1 comprises nine articles, plus Giuseppe Bezza's introduction and Italian translation of the Greek text of the horoscope found in Vaticanus graecus 191, 242v-248v and Parisinus graecus 2507, 105r-113v (along with the critical apparatus) and five book reviews. The contributions in the last two categories will not be discussed in this review.

The first article, "Cien Años de Investigación sobre la Magia Antigua" by José Luis Calvo Martinéz, is a bibliography that anyone interested in ancient magic and the occult should have. The meticulous bibliography is divided into these categories:

I. Magic in General: 0. Bibliography, 1. Anthropological and Philosophic Studies, 2. Historic Studies;

II. Magic in Ancient Peoples and Cultures: 1. Oriental Magic (and Religion), 2. Jewish Magic, 3. Egyptian Magic (a. Pharaonic, b. Coptic and Demotic), 4. Christianity (a. General Works, b. Demonology, c. Magic and Scripture, d. People Gifted with Magic, especially Jesus);

III. Magic in Greece and Rome:

A. "Real" Magic:

0. Bibliographies,

1. Sources (a. Magical Papyri, b. tabellae defixionum, c. Amulets),

2. Translations,

3. Lexica,

4. General Works (a. Collections, b. Monographs and Encyclopedia Entries, c. On the "Concept" of Magic, d. On Magic as "Force"),

5. Magic and Religion,

6. Magic and Science, especially Medicine,

7. Magic in Context (a. Syncretism and/or the Influence of Other Cultures, b. Neoplatonism and Theurgy, c. Hermetism and Gnosis, d. Astrology and Magic),

8. Magic and Language,

9. The Suppression of Magic: Magic and Law,

10. Types of Magic and Magical Practices (a. Evil, b. Meteorological, c. Erotic, d. Defixiones, Binding Spells, Curses, e. Divination, f. Exorcisms),

11. Passages and Practical Examples from the Magical Papyri,

12. The Elements of Magical Practice

a. Supernatural Agents: Divinities and Demons [i. Abraxas, ii. Akephalos, iii. Aion and Theos Hypsistos, iv. Iao, v. Egyptian Gods: Isis, Osiris, Horus, Seth, Thoth, Harpocartes, etc., vi. Hecate, Selene and other Similar Syncretized Female Deities, vii. Other Gods and Greek Divinities, viii. Mithras and Other Oriental Deities, ix. Gods or Goddesses that appear in magical texts whose identities are doubtful, x. Demons and Angels, xi. Palindromes and Numerology],

b. Human Agents [1. Magicians, Mediums, etc., ii. Witches],

c. The Spoken Word,

d. Objects used in Magic [i. Amulets, ii. Plants, iii. Animals, iv. Objects and Instruments Endowed with Magic]);

B. Literary Magic:

B.1. Greece: 1. General Works on Greece and Rome, 2. Authors and Genres (a. Homer: Circe, Helen, Odysseus, Aeolus, the Phaeacians, the Sirens, the Nekuia, etc., b. Pindar, c. Drama [i. Aeschylus, ii. Sophocles, iii. Euripides, iv. Aristophanes], d. Theocritus and Sophron, e. Lucian);

B.2. Rome: 1. General Works on Rome, 2. Authors (a. Pliny the Elder, b. Horace, c. Vergil, d. Ovid, e. Propertius, f. Tibullus, g. Petronius, h. Lucan, i. Apuleius).

This bibliography is superb.

Similar to the bibliography by Calvo Martinéz is the fifth essay, Aurelio Pérez Jiménez's "Cien Años de Investgación sobre la Astrologia Antigua," which supplies us with a detailed and meticulous bibliography on ancient astrology. The bibliography contains a statement on the importance of research in this area, previous bibliographies, a brief introduction to the Near Eastern origins, studies and primary sources for Graeco-Roman texts compiled in the last century, and a thematic bibliography. The major divisions of the bibliography are as follows:

1. General Works: 1.1. Bibliographies, 1.2. Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, 1.3. General Studies on Astrology, 1.4. Monographs, 1.5. Anthologies, 1.6. General Works with Entries on Astrology, 1.7. Linguistic, Lexical, and Terminology Scholarship;

2. Greek Astrology: 2.1. General Works, 2.2. Astrologers and Authors;

3. Roman Astrology: 3.1. General Works, 3.2. Astrologers and Authors, 3.3. Astrology and the Emperors;

4. Astrology and Philosophy: 4.1. General Works, 4.2. Fatalism, the Great Year and Palingenesis, 4.3. the Universe, Microcosmos, Macrocosmos;

5. Astrology, Religion, Myth and Astral Mysticism: 5.1. Astrology, Myth and Religion, 5.2. Astral Mysticism, 5.3. Astrology, Religions associated with the sun and Near Eastern cults;

6. Astrology, Judaism, Gnosticism and Christian Thought: 6.1. General Works, 6.3. (there is no section 6.2.) Authors: Church Fathers, Gnostics, Heretics;

7. Polemics on Astrology;

8. Technical Aspects: 8.1. Constellations, 8.2. the Zodiac, 8.3. Decans, 8.4. Planets, 8.5. Horoscopes and Dodecatropes, 8.6. Melothesia, 8.7. Geography, 8.8. Botany, 8.9. Metals, Stones and Jems, 8.10. Medical Arts, 8.11. Varia.

Manuel García Teijeiro's "El Cuento de Miedo en la Antigüedad Clásica" tackles the question of when authors first wrote horror stories for the sake of narrative. In other words, when were the first "true" horror stories written? García Teijeiro defines horror stories as literary, with the goal of causing terror: these stories may be based on popular themes but have to be created uniquely by the author with the sole aim of causing fear. In search of the first "true" horror story, García Teijeiro reviews supernatural narratives in tragedy, Philostratus, Antonius Liberalis, Phlegon of Tralles, Lucian's Philopseudes, Xenophon of Ephesus, Heliodorus, and Antonius Diogenes. He finds the answer in Petronius (61 and 63) and Apuleius (Metamorphoses 1.5-19 and 2.21-30). This essay is perhaps the best in this volume.

Fritz Graf's "Mythos und Magie" examines how the words "myth" and "magic" are understood in modern and ancient times. In the modern world, "myth" has positive connotations, while "magic" does not. In the ancient world, however, both terms had pejorative implications. Graf examines the causes for the change in meaning.

"Sobre la Emergencia de la Magia como Sistema de Alteridad en la Roma Augústea y Julio-Claudia" by Francisco Marco Simón traces the public and private reactions to magic from the late first century Republic to the early Empire. The perception of magic as having negative subtexts reaches its climax in Pliny, who sees that magic has two qualities: the internal, as found in Nero, and the external, as found in Parthia. The latter symbolizes malevolence and danger to the fledgling Empire. This is a remarkable analysis of the opinions on magic at that most critical time in Roman history.

The next three essays deal with astrology. In "Los Compuestos de συν- en Gémino: Su Valor Astrológico (y Astronómico)", Esteban Calderón Dorda demonstrates that as astrology and its texts developed and increased in the Graeco-Roman world, compounds formed with συν- also increased. For example, Geminus' first century A.D. Introduction to Astronomy uses twenty-nine verbs, eleven substantives, six adjectives, and three adverbs with the compound prefix. In comparison, the second century Tetrabiblos by Claudius Ptolemy has four times as many combinations. Wolfgang Hübner's "Zur Verwendug und Umschreibung des Terminus ὡροσκόπος in der Astrologischen Lehrdichtung der Antike" examines the preference for the terms ὡρονόμος, ὡρονομέω, and ὥρα over the terms ὡροσκόποω, ὡρονοσκοπ́εω, ἐπίσκοπος or ἐΰσκοπος in Greek didactic poems. The first instance of horoscopus or horoscopare appears in Manilius' Astronomica. Lastly, Santiago Montero Herrero's "Astrología y Etrusca Disciplina: Contactos y Rivalidad" notes that Varro's circle attempted to syncretize astrology and Etruscan forms of divination, but that with the rise of the Empire this effort at unity broke down, with the senatorial class going back to Etruscan rites and astrology serving individual needs.

The last essay of this collection, "El Esoterismo Grecorromano en la Red" by Juan Francisco Martos Montel and Cristóbal Macías Villalobos," is a survey of magical, astrological, and hermetic Internet sites that deal with the Graeco-Roman world. The survey contains numerous URLs, but as happens with most written media that deal with the Web, it is now somewhat out of date. For example, the authors supply results of Google and Lycos searches for the following five terms:

"astrology" -- Google: 80,900; Lycos: 28,536

"magic" -- Google: 30,000; Lycos: 222,276

"hermetism" -- Google: 10,200; Lycos: 7,649

"Hermes Trismegistus" -- Google: 489; Lycos: 544

"hermetic" -- Google: 14,300; Lycos: 10,320

As of the writing of this review, the numbers are (and of course these numbers also will be superseded):

"astrology" -- Google: 4,980,000; Lycos: 2,235,322

"magic" -- Google: 28,800,000; Lycos: 10,111,359

"hermetism" -- Google: 3,080; Lycos: 1,424

"Hermes Trismegistus" -- Google: 13,400; Lycos: 6,164

"hermetic" -- Google: 271,000; Lycos: 85,988

The essay is nevertheless a good survey of the vast amounts of materials that can be accessed on the Internet.

MHNH 2

In volume two there are eleven articles, plus Giuseppe Bezza's introduction and Italian translation of the Greek text of the horoscope of Eleutherius Zebelenus of Elis (along with the critical apparatus), a brief analysis of Pedro Gallego's Summa de Astronomia, and ten book reviews. Again, only the articles will be discussed in this review.

The series of essays begins with Antonio Bravo García's "ἡ μαγικὴ κακοτεχνία: Materiales para una Historia de la Magia y la Demonología Bizantinas," which is a greatly expanded version of the essay cited above, "La Magia en Bizancio: Una Ojeada de Conjunto," which was published in Daímon Páredros.

"El Tratamiento del Material Hímnico en los Papiros Mágicos: El Himno δεῦρό μοι" by José Luis Calvo Martínez compares the papyri XII.238-269, XIII.762-833, and XXI 1-25 in K. Preisendanz Papyri Graecae Magicae: Die griechische Zauberpapyri. These texts invoke the divine name to consecrate a gold ring and to get a direct view of the divine. The author contrasts the three texts using eleven criteria and concludes that these three papyri did not copy from each other but used a common model.

The focus of "El 'Milagro de la Lluvia,' Los Julianos Et Alii" by Álvaro Fernández Fernández is an attempt to verify the person(s) responsible for the miraculous storm that helped Marcus Aurelius defeat the Germanic tribes in the 170s A.D. The account is found in authors such as Claudius Apollinaris, Tertullian, Dio Cassius, Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Orosius. The possible candidates responsible for the event are the Chaldeans, the divinity of the emperor, an Egyptian by the name of Arnuphis, or the Christian soldiers in the XII Legio Fulminata. In sum, as Christianity grew in the Empire the cause of the rain became Christian; prior to the rise of Christianity, the texts allow for pagan attribution.

Enrique Ramos Jurado's "Magia y Teúrgia en De Mysteriis de Jámblico" assesses Iamblichus' differentiation between magic and theurgy. The latter ran the risk of being confused with magic and therefore of being debased; it was practiced in special circles that were intertwined with philosophy. Theurgists, moreover, unlike magicians, were allowed to have true contact with the divine. They could in fact contemplate the true nature of the gods. "Il Segreto della Madre Lucente: Estasi e Teurgia nel Sincretismo Gnostico" by Ezio Albrille again studies theurgy, focussing on its relationship Gnostic syncretism (especially the states of ecstasy that are associated with both practices).

Pablo A. Toijano's "Salomón, Lilith, San Jorge y el Dragón: Un Ejemplo de Reinterpretación Mágica en la Antigüedad Tardía" suggests that the iconography of king Solomon as a horseman (found on amulets, etc.) may have been the sources of the iconography of St. George and the Dragon. Thus, a story with Judaic roots was transformed into one widely accepted by Christians. The amulets with king Solomon on them are intrinsically associated with exorcism.

A similar developmental and syncretistic approach is taken by Godefroid de Callatay in "La Grande Ourse et le Taureau Apis," where the author notes that Aratus' Phaenomena vv.91-93 makes an association between the Great Bear and the figure of a bull. The author knowledgeably explains that the Egyptians had allotted that part of the sky to the Egyptian bull Apis, which later came to be known as Epaphos.

María Paz de Hoz' "Men, un Dios Lunar, con Corona de Rayos" follows the same pattern and demonstrates how the lunar deity Men came to be associated with the solar deity Helios during Imperial times. It is a brief yet fascinating look at the merger of these two gods.

As in volume one, the last three essays deal with astrology. "Precedentes de las Doctrinas Antiastrológicas y Antifatalistas de Tertulliano" by Virginia Alfaro Bech and Victoria E. Rodríguez Martín reviews Tertullian's juxtaposition of curiositas christiana with curiositas vana or curiositas profana. The first type of curiosity, which Tertullian terms necessaria, eschews astrology because the only type of knowledge it seeks is the knowledge that comes from Christ's resurrection. Moreover, Tertullian is aware of the "societas between magic and astrology: they are mentioned jointly and are considered allied" (212) against the true knowledge that is found in Christianity. In "La Astrología y los Astrólogos en la Antología Palatina: Alusiones y Parodias," Guillermo Galán Vioque studies references to astrology in the anthology: 11.318, 9.112, 7.157, 5.105, 6.501, 11.159, 11.160-164, 11.114, 11.183, 9.82, 12.227, 11.383, and 14.141-142. He concludes by noting that the allusions and references are not many in number, even though astrology was very popular. In fact, the allusions and references are always found in pejorative or satirical contexts and make fun of astrology and astrologers. The last essay, Aurelio Pérez Jiménez's "PERI DEIPNOU: A Propósito de Heph. III 36," examines Hephaistion's enumeration of the twelve signs of the zodiac relative to the seating arrangement (καταρχή) for twelve at banquets. Comparable seating arrangements in Manilius, Dorotheus, Julian of Laodicea, Nicetas of Paphlagonia, Peter of Antioch, and Firmicus Maternus are examined as possible models.

The two volumes of MHNH. Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas are useful for anyone interested in ancient magic or astrology. The essays are of an excellent quality and do much to increase our knowledge of these phenomena. It is satisfying to see that our philological cousins in Spain are at the forefront of research in these areas.

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