Chapter

Kronos and the Titans as Powerful Ancestors: A Case Study of the Greek Gods in Later Magical Spells

Jan N. Bremmer and Andrew Erskine

in The Gods of Ancient Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748637980
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670758 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748637980.003.0021
Kronos and the Titans as Powerful Ancestors: A Case Study of the Greek Gods in Later Magical Spells

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There are several ways in which the Greek gods are transformed in late-antiquity in the handbooks and charms of itinerant magicians. One method involves expropriating and shrinking a god’s public cult (e.g. Apollo at Delphi) to the size of household shrine for personal rather than public use. Christian magical spells take another tactic: they demonize gods (e.g. Aphrodite or Artemis) so that they aligned solely with evil. A third process is simple persistence: chthonic gods like Persephone and Hekate, whom the Greeks in the classical period invoke in curses, persist throughout late antiquity in this same role. This chapter examines Kronos and Titans as a special and difficult case: although they were originally powerful free-ranging gods, because they take up an ultimate and permanent position in Tartarus, they are assimilated to other underworld entities and eventually become agents of oaths, curses and necromancy – roles that they borrow from ghosts and other chthonic demons.

Keywords: Magic; Titans; Christianity; Chthonic gods; Kronos; Tartarus; Necromancy; Curses; Spells

Chapter.  7957 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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