Daily Ancient Magic #24: Ancient Magic Books

We know over 100 ancient magic books, written in Greek, -> Demotic, and -> Coptic. They date between the first century BCE and the seventh century CE. Many of them are only preserved in fragments, others are almost complete.

The majority of the ancient magic books is dated to the 3rd and 4th century.

But we need to take into consideration, that the archaeological record shows only what we have discovered so far, and that is just about a few percent of the  ancient sources that actually existed.

Another problem is ancient book burnings, some of the especially addressing magic books. Even the New Testament mentions one in Ephesus (Acts 19:19):

A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.

I compiled over 100 ancient magic books for my PhD theses. 87 contain ritual instructions to control higher powers. Many of them are fragmentary, some consist only of one or two rituals, and others contain dozens of instructions, accompanied by astrological data, information about plants and minerals, recipes for ink, oracle instructions, and hymns to gods.

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