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CL4419 Magic in Greco-Roman Literature and Life

SCOTCAT credits:30
Academic year(s):2017/8
SCQF Level 10
Planned timetable:2.00 pm - 4.00 pm Tue

This module examines magic and related phenomena in the Greco-Roman world. Attention will be paid both to the fascination with magic in literature and to magical beliefs and practices in real life, not just practices to which the ancient writers themselves apply the word 'magic' or similar terms, but also features of conventional religion, public and private, that some modern scholars have regarded as magical. This will require examination of the problems of defining magic, sorcery, witchcraft, and the like, and of distinguishing them from religion. Students will study - in English translation - both literary texts (from Homer to Apuleius and beyond) and documentary and archaeological evidence (including magical papyri and curse tablets).

Place in programme(s) and relationship to other modules


Optional for all Classical Studies Degrees, for Ancient History & Archaeology Single Honours, and for all Ancient History, Classics, Greek, and Latin (Single and Joint, but excluding Three subject) Degrees.

UG Pre-requisite(s):As stated in the School of Classics Undergraduate Handbook

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact:1 x 2-hour seminar and 1 coursework consultation hour.
Total module hours:
  • Scheduled learning: 20
  • Guided independent study: 280

Assessment pattern

UG As defined by QAA:
  • Written examinations: 50%
  • Practical examinations: 0%
  • Coursework: 50%
UG As used by St Andrews:3-hour Written Examination = 50%, Coursework = 50%
UG Re-assessment:3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module coordinator:Dr R T Anderson
Module teaching staff:Dr R T Anderson