The Materiality of Magic

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Ancient magic has been a focus of great interest since the the early 1990s. Although much has been written on the concept of magic itself, its origin, its various genres, formulas, etc., there has thus far been little attention to the fact that magical knowledge became enshrined in certain types of material, such as lead, stone, gems and papyrus-material that sometimes was used for specific genres of magic.

It is the aim of the conference to take the material as the point of departure for a discussion of various types of magic. The centre of the discussion is antiquity, but the conference will also include discussions of preceding and subsequent eras in order to supplement, compare, and contrast the classical material.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

9.15 Dietrich Boschung (Cologne) | Jan N. Bremmer (Groningen)

Welcome Address, Introduction

9.30 Laura Feldt (Copenhagen)

Mesopotamian magical figurines for the protection of houses

10.15 Jacco Dieleman (UCLA)

From Papyrus to Metal in Amulet Production from pharaonic to Graeco-Roman Egypt


11.00 Coffee Break


11.30 Jaime Curbera and Sergio Giannobile (Berlin)

Attic Curse Tablets

12.15 Chris Faraone (Chicago)

Voodoo Dolls in Greek and Roman Antiquity


13.00 Lunch Break


14.30 M. Nagy (Budapest)

Developing Ancient Amulets: the Magical Gems of the Roman Imperial Period

15.15 Jan N. Bremmer (Munich|Groningen)

From Books with Magic to Magical Books


16.00 Coffee Break


16.30 Richard Gordon (Erfurt)

Magic and Materiality: where do we stand now

17.30 Andrea Zeeb-Lanz (Speyer)

Magic in prehistory

Friday, May 25, 2012

10.00 Andrew Reynolds (UC London)

Magic in Anglo-Saxon England: An Archaeological Perspective


11.00 Coffee Break


11.30 Willem de Blecourt (Amsterdam)

Bewitchment by Body-Parts. Love Magic in Late Medieval Flanders

12.15 Peter Forshaw (Amsterdam)

Amulets, Seals and Talismans in Early Modern Europe


13.00 Lunch Break


14.30 Heike Behrend (Cologne)


15.15 Owen Davies (Hertfordshire)

The Materiality of Magic Today

16.00 Veronique Dasen (Fribourg)

Magical Amulets in Antiquity



Jan Bremmer
Dietrich Boschung



Larissa Förster (larissa.foerster(at)



Internationales Kolleg Morphomata, Center for Advanced Studies, Weyertal 59 (Back Building), 3rd Floor|May 24-25

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