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ANAHITA  September 1997

ANAHITA September 1997

Subject:

Witches

From:

Karen Barrett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 17 Sep 1997 15:17:08 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (60 lines)

On Sat, 13 Sep 1997, Max Dashu wrote:

> However! Looks like the names are also yielding interesting info. I would
> love to know more about
> <a woman named Theodoris who was destroyed as a witch and is
> reported by one of the orators>
> as I am writing a history of the witch hunts.


The Transformation of Lucius, called the Golden Ass, by Lucius Apuleius and
the The Ass by Lucian are the best  stories of witchcraft.  Ovid also
mentions the hags or old women (anus) who practiced magic, as do other
Roman poets.  See the Fasti for February, 18-21, during the Feralia, where
he speaks of the rites of Tacita.  See also LaBadie's  WEB site, under
February in the Roman Calendar.
<http://members.aol.com/hlabadjr>.  Also June, where he speaks of Carna or
Crane, a nymph or goddess who protects children from the "screech-owl".
Lilith comes in at this point, she being identified with the "screech-owl".

 Obviously, there is some common element in the Oriental-Semitic and the
Greco-Roman traditions.  (See the above WEB site for June).  The Sibylls
were also witches of a type.  An old woman sold the Sibylline Books to
Tarquin.
 The Germans and Gauls particularly revered their female seers or
soothsayers, who practised hydromancy, the art of divination by watching
and listening to flowing water.  The Germans would not fight a battle
unless these women saw favorable omens.  (See Tacitus and Caesar).  The
story from Livy about the Matrons who poisoned their husbands also is
pertinent, since they claimed that the poisons were  actually medicines,
the difference between an herbalist and a poisoner being very finely drawn.
 The woman who made poisons for the
Julio-Claudians, Locusta, was infamous as a venefica (witch and
poisoner), being implicated in the deaths of Germanicus, Claudius,
Britannicus, and in the plot by Nero to murder Agrippina.  It was rumored
also that Livia poisoned Augustus in the end using one of Locusta's
concoctions.

Hope this is of some help.


Karen Barrett
[log in to unmask]
U.N.E. student
Brisbane
Australia

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