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The relationship between magic and religion has long been discussed among religious historians and my purpose is not to restart this debate here; however, I am going to deal with the syncretism between them, focusing on the poetic-religious sources of Greco-Egyptian magicians 2. In particular, I want to examine the religious sources of some lgoi that appear in metric form3 in the Greek magical papyri, these metric compositions are called hymns and they have, as magic prayer, the quintessence of religion (Graff 1991, 188). But, in contrast to prose-lgoi, both the choice of the poetic form, and the use of the Greek language as instruments of communication, lead their authors to find formal and lexical models in Greek poetry. E. Szepes has proved the complex reasons why these hymns (abbreviated as Mag.Hymn.) are to be considered as magical (Szepes 1976). In these texts we recognise the same elements that make other forms of addressing the divinity magical, and the same regularities that constitute the essence of magic words in order to satisfy the demands of their magic character. In these hymns we can find different forms of compelling; sometimes they are very explicit, such as when the magician uses the imperative to order (not to pray for) something, or he openly compels the divinity with

This study is part of Research Project no. FFI2011-27438 funded by the Spanish MINECO and it has been made with the academic and economic support of the National Program of F.P.U. Fellowships. 2 For some guidelines of the Greek literary knowledge of the authors of magical papyri see Surez de la Torre 2013. 3 These texts were selected, edited and published in the second edition of Papyri Graecae Magicae (abbreviated as PGM) of K. Preisendanz (Preisendanz 19742, 237-266). Some general studies on magical hymns can be found in Heitsch 1959; Szepes 1976; Graff 1991; Poccetti 1993.

Miriam Blanco


threats 4, 5, references to his authority 6 or the magicians autoproclamation as a powerful god 7. The use of as formular invocation forces the deity to manifest itself. Like magic spells, magic hymns also contain resources as vowel combinations, barbarism, and magic words, sometimes inserted in the metric structure of the hymn, to stress the magic power of the lgos. The enumeration of all the known names of the divine entity and his attributes was felt to be necessary for the full evocation of the divinity because its power and essence is defined through them 8. Magical hymns also have some implicit forms of coercion. Repetition is a very old magic resource; its monotony tries to bewitch the divine entities. We can find it at every level of the text: at the phonetic level we find alliteration 9 and at the syntactic level, figurae etimologicae10, intensive repetitions 11 and pleonasm 12 that emphasize the request for immediate obedience. The magic hymns also show structural repetitions that touch the stylistic level 13: parallelism 14, anaphora 15, anadiplosis 16, epanadiplosis 17, etc. Also the hexameter is a repeating resource on the rhythmic level because it is a repetitive metre, in spite of its diversity and possibility of variations (Szepes 1976, 210-211).

4 Mag.Hymn. XVII 78-80. This hymn is a long accumulation of compelling resources. 5 For this magical resource see Herrero Valds, Flor (2011) como recurso de la invocacin en la magia grecoegipcia, MHNH 11, 305-318. 6 E.g. / , . (Mag.Hymn..XVII 13-14). 7 E.g. , (Mag.Hymn. XVII 47). 8 See Clodd, 1921, Frankfurter, 1994, Versnel 2001, 112-117. 9 E.g. [] (Mag.Hymn. XIV 4). See the study on this magical resource by Garca Teijeiro, M. 1989 Recursos fonticos y recursos grficos en los textos mgicos griegos, RSEL. 19, Fasc.2 (jul.-dic.); Versnel 2001, 112-117. 10 E.g. (Mag.Hymn. XXII 21). The superlative genitive, as , is too an usual kind of figura etimologica in magic. 11 The most frequent is , , , . 12 E.g. (Mag.Hymn. XXI 34). This figure can hide glosses. 13 For more examples see Szepes 1991 and Versnel 2001. 14 The succession of clauses with the same structure is a common structural resource in magical hymns. 15 E.g. Mag.Hymn. XXXIII 9-14; Mag.Hymn. VII 1-10. 16 E.g. [], / , (Mag.Hymn. IX 2-3 =X 5-6). 17 E.g. , , (Mag.Hymn. II.1).


Magicians Who Sang

However, when we compare these compositions with spells and proselgoi, they seem to be different: less magical. They are not only written in verse, which gives hymns a diverse sonority, but one can detect there is something religious in them: i.e. the tone and the solemnity. Partly, this effect is created through the use of poetic vocabulary, even inserting Homeric verses in these compositions. But, in their search of Greek poetic models in form and content, magicians also used traditional poetic Greek forms of communication with the divinity, such as the religious hymn. The hymn is a genre with an ancient religious tradition and magic hymns depend on it too. In addition to the characteristics of magic language, common to other magical forms of addressing the divinity, magicians use formal elements and features from religious hymns for two main reasons. Firstly, the poetic and formulaic expression of religious hymns raises the tone of magic compositions and increases their solemnity. Besides, if the religious hymnal features effectively manage to invoke the gods while worshipping, they are also useful for magicians to make them appear. The analysis of fixed formulas recurring in magic hymns is a good example of this dependence on religious speech:
Formulas with poetic-religious tradition 18: (as propitiatory formula), , , , , , , , , , , and , / , , , , , . Formulas without poetic-religious tradition: , 19, ( ) /

as propitiatory formula, , , , and only appear in hymnal lgoi, thus magicians employ them because they consider them characteristics of hymnal speech. In the same way, and are variations of verbs employed in prose lgoi 20, specific for hymnal expression. Poetic tradition also formally marks the use of these formulas: , , , , , and always appear at the beginning of the verse because this is their conventional position in Greek poetry.

For the use and frequency of this formulae in Greek religious speech, especially in hymns, see the important contributions by Ausfeld 1903, 505-547; Adami 1900, 251-262; Ziegler 1905; Pulleyn 1997, 132-155. 19 This formula exists in the aretalogy and Old Testament, but in reference to a divine speaker. Its use and function are different in magic. 20 and / respectively.


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Magic dialogue has a strong imperative character and, as a result, some of these formulae change their meaning. For example , which is an interjection in classical Greek, recovers its original jussive sense as an imperative in this coercive context. In general, imperatives used in prayer become stronger and lose their precatory character (this phenomenon is clear in formulae of hearing 21 , and , and coming22 -, , , , and ). However, the remarkable absence of verbs of praise as or , so frequent in the genre of hymns, should ring a bell. Only is regularly used, but in magic contexts loses its meaning and becomes simply call or name, a cletic verb with a neutral meaning similar to . So, in magic, some traditional religious formulas experimented with a semantic adaptation of this new context. Undoubtedly, the magical hymns more connected with the religious hymnal tradition are Apollinean magical hymns 22. I have chosen to analyse only the Mag.Hymn. XII 23, because although the text condition is unfortunately very fragmentary, it is an exceptional example that illustrates the connection between magical texts and the use of Greek literature as a model. 23D1
[], , [qkk] [kqa [], [ . . . . ]o[qa [ ? . . . . . ] ] [ . . . . . ] - ] [ . . . . . ] [qa . . . . . ], [] , [. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [ ][ ] [ ] [ ] ] [] ][. , [ ][ [ ][, [ [] [ kk qa [ ] [qkkq ] [ ] [ ] [
21 22



I use Pulleyns terminology. Mag.Hymn. IX, X, XIa and XII, the first three verses of Mag.Hymn. XXIII (Mag.Hymn. VIII + vv.1-2 Mag.Hymn. XXIII) and two hymns to Daphne (Mag.Hymn. XIII and XIV), a feminine oracular divinity closely associated with Apollo in magic. 23 PGM III 234-258. Text edited by Preisendanz 1974, 247.


Magicians Who Sang . . . . . ], , , , [ , ], [][], , , [], , [ qkk qa [] [] <>, [] [ ] . [] [. [] , [ ] [ ], , [,] [] [] . [], [] .



The hymn begins with the formula of praise , it is the only occurrence of this kind of formula in magical hymns. We can find as a petition to Apollo in Mag.Hymn. XI 11, but it is a metaphorical oracular request similar to (Mag.Hymn. XI 6). But in the case of Mag.Hymn. XII it is the magician who sings to praise the god. In addition, in the praxis instructions this lgos is called and its performance is called , thus the magician is aware of its laudatory character 24. In this context, it is also possible to consider that (4) keeps its original sense as a verb of praise. Also, the composer encourages an anonymous collective to sing in honour of the god with their zithers (15-16). In these two verses, the divinity goes from being the direct addressee of the hymn (second person)-to the person receiving the praise 25 (third person)-. The change from Du-stil to Er-stil, is again the only occurrence in magical hymns and reinforces the perception of the existence of a third dialectical person in this dialogue: the composer, the god and the others (a choir, an audience?). This is the only way we can explain this change in the personal deixis. The presence of choirs that invoke the god with their songs in Apollinean rites, especially with paeans, become a usual topic in this kind of poetry (Furley and Bremer 2001, 87). Callimachus exhorts the
The lgos denomination as occurs several times in magical papyri, as do the verb and other kindred terms, but the use of and are rare: has the only other occurrence in PGM (PGM III 312) is more frequent, but usually the action is realised by other divinity entities (e.g. PGM XIII 149) and it is never used for the performance of hymnic lgoi. 25 is a divine epithet, usual of Apollo in this period (Orph.Hymn 34.4; Orph.A.1; Athenag.Leg. 21.6.1; Oenom. fr. 2.34, 6.47, 10.150, etc.); the magicians called themselves with other denominations such as , as Garca Molinos has shown in Designaciones del adivino en los PGM, paper presented at the XXXVI Simposio de la SEL, Madrid, 2006.

Miriam Blanco


celebration of the god with the music of the zithers (Ap. 12-13) and then he orders a choir to sing in 28-31. Alcaeus paean describes a choir of young boys that appeal to the god from the Delphic sanctuary with when he goes away with the Hyperboreans. Also in our magic hymn a Delphic choir appears in 22. Female choirs celebrate the gods advent in Bacchylides Dith. 2, 9ss. In Pindar's 6th Paean choirs of both sexes sing to honour the god26. The wooden summits of Mount Parnassus are mentioned in line 10 as a place frequented by Apollo. These summits also appear in the Apollinean invocation at the beginning of the Orphic Argonautica (Orph.A. 2), in Delphic poetry Ath. Pean Delph. 4; [ / ] Limen. Pean Delph. 21-22; and there are frequent references in magical hymns 27. The subject of Mount Parnassus as Apollos main seat was a traditional motif in Apollinean poetry and it became a formulary reference in his hymns: Apollo is placed in the Delphic sanctuary and he comes and goes from there when invoked by someone. There is a request for silence in line 11, which is reinforced by a stillness petition in 13 -. But in this calm context, the music and songs are allowed (15-16) and, maybe, we should understand (11) in this way: dont let go of (the plectrum, the zither) or dont relax (the songs, the voice, the music?). We can find the same motive in Callimachus, who orders the worshippers to keep silent during the singing of the paean; even the sea is quiet while Apollos praises are sung 28. In Hellenistic poetry, the notion that the natural world observes a ritual silence during gods epiphanies is frequent and becomes a topic in Apollinean poetry29. Perhaps, the request that we have in Mag.Hymn. XII is of this kind. Undoubtedly, the natural world is present in its near context: the wooded Parnassus summits (10) and the myrrh tree (12). Other elements frequently mentioned in the descriptions of Apollos epiphanies are the shaking of the laurel tree, especially when they take place in Delphi. Line 21 is very damaged, even in the metric aspect. The
The choirs are feminine in Pi. Pean 6, 15-18, but masculine in ibid. 121-122. ] , / ], (Mag.Hymn. XIII 5); / [] (Mag.Hymn. IX 4-5); , (Mag.Hymn. XXIII 1-2). 28 Call. Ap. 17-18 29 Limen. Pean Delph. II 9-10; Heitsch ed. Hymn. 51, 8-9; Mesom. fr. 2, 1-6.
27 26


Magicians Who Sang

papyrus reading is [.][ ]. Preisendanzs conjecture, following Schmidt, is , [] [ ] . But, Preisendanzs corrections change the original sense of the verse: [] [?, ], <> you, Phoebus, shake the laurel branches, that is coherent with a tradition, even lexically:
(Ar. Pl. 213) (Call. Ap. 1) /, [] / , /, , (Aristonous, Ap. 10-13)

So, I consider the reading of the papyrus perfectly acceptable in spite of the metric mistakes. Magical Hymn XII follows the Hellenistic fashion of hymns not restricted to a particular ritual field, but with a supra-local character, that is very functional. Although Delphi is mentioned frequently, in the hymn we can find some of the main epithets of Apollo: (3,18), (18), (6, 20, 21) and mentions of Delos (1) and Dodona 30 (2). There is a third damaged mention in the first line and there were possibly more in the other damaged parts of the text. The hymn focuses on a functional aim: invoking the god in his oracular capacity. The poet invokes Apollo as an oracular divinity; he mentions his main oracular sanctuaries and uses epiphanic motives and images. The linking of this composition with the paean and the stress on Delphic context dont affect its supra-local character. From Pindar on, paean is stereotyped in a series of poetry topics and motives that became characteristics of this genre (Surez de la Torre, in this volume): Apollo shaking the oracular laurel in Delphi, choruses that sing to the god, the epiphanic celebrations and the mention of Mount Parnassus as Apollos home. Our hymn doesnt have clear indications of its provenance, but in any case, its composer emulates a paean as a gender of fixed stylistic features. Magical Hymn XII is, maybe, the most extreme example, but also the most interesting for the use of literary sources in magic. As Graf 1991, 196
In some late Imperial sources (very lacking) the Apollinean oracular field spreads over this oracular sanctuary. The most ancient source for Apollo as god of Dodona is Strabo, 7.1.1a and Schol. Ael. Arist. 11.17 (vetera). In spite of our testimony it isnt an isolated example, there wasnt a real tradidition in this way. Maybe, there was an individual phenomenon linked with the cultural instruction of each author.

Miriam Blanco


stated, the magicians used verses and formulas that came from a common stock of tradition, a stock that both magicians and no-magicians, could use. In this case, we could also add poetic models. The main distinction between magic and religion, in many cases, lies more in the ritual and in the intention of the person who pronounces the lgos than in the spoken parts of the practice.

Works Cited
Adami, F. 1900. De poetis scaenicis Graecis hymnorum sacrorum imitatoribus. Lipsiae: Teubner. Ausfeld, C. 1903. De graecorum precationibus quaestiones. Lipsiae: Teubner. Bremer, J.M. 1981. Greek Hymns, In Faith, Hope and Worship, ed. H.S. Versnel, 193-215. Leiden: Brill. Clodd, E. 1921. Magic in Names and in Other Things. New York: Dutton Frankfurter, D. 1994. The Magic of Writing and the Writing of Magic: The Power of the Word in Egyptian and Greek Traditions. Helios 21: 189-221. Furley, W.D., and J.M. Bremer, 2001. Greek Hymns. Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck. Graf, F. 1991. Prayer in Magic and Religious Ritual. In Magica Hiera. ed. C. Faraone, and D. Obbink, 189-213. New York: Oxford University Press. Heitsch, E. 1964. Die griechischen Dichterfragmente der rmischen Kaiserzeit II. Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Poccetti, P. 1993. Forma e tradizioni dell'inno magico nel mondo classico. In L'inno tra rituale e letteratura nel mondo antico, ed. A. Cassio, and G. Cerri, 179-204. Roma: GEI. Preisendanz, K. 1974. Papyri Graecae Magicae. Die griechischen Zauberpapyri II. 2nd. ed. Stuttgart: Teubner. Pulleyn, S. 1997. Prayer in Greek Religion. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Surez de la Torre, E. 2013. The Library of the Magician. In Mapping Magic, ed. Marco F. and G. Bison. Roma: in print. Szepes, E. 1976. Magic Elements in the Prayers of the Hellenistic Magic Papyri. AantHung 24: 205-225. Versnel, H. S. 2001. The Poetics of the Magical Charm. In Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World, ed. P. Mirecki, and M. Meyer, 105-158. Leiden: Brill. Ziegler, K. 1905. De precationum apud Graecos formis quaestiones selectae. Vratislaviae: Barth.