Daily Ancient Magic #4: The Role of the Magicians

Yesterday was about „magic in everyday life“ and the fact that people in ancient times hoped to be able to meet everyday problems and challenges with the help of magic. This included, for example, advice on important decisions, protection against and help with illnesses and success at work.

What, then, was the role of the magicians?

A much broader – and likely different – one than we might imagine today. Ancient magicians and witches were a combination of a doctor, life counselor, matchmaker, lawyer, protector and also an avenger. And they could bring gods and demons under their control.

No wonder, then, that secrecy played such a crucial role!

tasks-magicians-ancient-times

Ritual instruction in Coptic. Papyrus P.CtYBR inv. 1791, 7th century AD.
(C) Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Link to the papyrus on the website of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University