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ANAHITA  September 1997

ANAHITA September 1997

Subject:

Re: Terms for Witches

From:

Jim Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 14 Sep 1997 20:32:56 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (30 lines)

   This isn't my field, but maybe these will get you started.
   The most common term I find used for "witches" is pharmakon and terms
based on this term.  In the Odyssey Circe is called polypharmakon (10.276),
and Apllodorus called Medea pharmakis (Libr 1.9.23).  The term refers to
herbs and such, so a possible neutral translation would be "herbalist".
 However, some practicioners were specialists in poisons.
   Elsewhere Medea is known simply as a priestess of Hectate, as if this
designation alone indicates some knowledge of witchcraft.
   Another pair of adjectives are engastrimython and engastrimantis--those
with a story (mythos) or ecstatic utterance (mantis) in their belly.  It is
usually used of women, e.g. the necromancer of Endor in the LXX translation
of 1 Samuel 28:7.
   A less positive term is based on the verb baskaino, to slander or bewitch.
   I hope these terms help some
Jim Miller

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