Greek Magical Papyri

By | 08.04.2017

Word List. Unit 7

  • An altar is a table used in churches.
    The altar had many lit candles on it.
  • Arthritis is an illness causing pain and swelling in a person’s joints.
    Agatha couldn’t play the piano anymore because of her arthritis.
  • Botany is the study of plants.
    Gardens are the best places for botany.
  • If something or someone is credible, they can be believed or trusted.
    Dick gave a credible reason for being late and didn’t get in any trouble.
  • If someone is deceased, they are dead.
    We visited the graves of our deceased grandparents.
  • Deception is the act of lying or tricking someone.
    The magic looked very real, but it was only deception.
  • To decipher writing is to figure out what it says.
    My teacher complained that she couldn’t decipher my essay.
  • Dung is solid waste material produced by animals.
    There was cow dung all over the field.
  • Dusk is the time in the evening when it begins to get dark.
    After dusk, Hannah would catch fireflies in the park.
  • To gratify someone means to please them.
    Bonnie was gratified after receiving her gift from her parents.
  • To hone something is to improve it and make it very good.
    Lisa honed her chess skills by hours and hours of practice.
  • To mash something is to crush it so that it is soft.
    We mashed the hard potatoes and served them for dinner.
  • If something is ornate, it is decorated with a lot of fancy things.
    Kim’s prom dress was very expensive since it was so ornate.
  • Pneumonia is a dangerous illness causing the lungs to fill with liquid.
    Elaine got pneumonia after playing outside in the rain without a coat.
  • When someone is psychic, they know what will happen orwhat people think.
    I think my grandmother has psychic abilities because she can predict anything.
  • If someone is psychotic, they have a very serious mental illness.
    The psychotic patient believed he saw things that weren’t real.
  • The scope of something is how many people or things it relates to.
    Modern history has a wide scope.
  • If something or someone is sinister, they are evil.
    Bad guys in most movies have sinister laughs.
  • Strife is disagreement or fighting between people or groups.
    There was a lot of strife between jim and Lisa about what TV show to watch.
  • If something is therapeutic, it helps to cure a disease or makes you healthier.
    After a stressful day of working, Phoebe would take a therapeutic bath.

Greek Magical Papyri

The Greek Magical Papyri is a collection of writing about magic. After it was found in the Egyptian desert, it took experts years to decipher it. The text was written in at least three different ancient languages. After many years, experts realized it contained a number of spells that varied greatly in scope. The most common types of magic in the collection dealt with healing illnesses like pneumonia. Some spells also gave advice for treating people with mental illnesses, such as those who became psychotic. Some spells asked for unusual things, like crocodile dung.

But botany was an important part of the magic. Many healing spells gave instructions on how to use herbs and plants that were believed to be therapeutic. For example, in order to cure arthritis, the book says that the magician should build an ornate altar. Then he should mash different types of herbs and place them on top of it. At dusk, he is supposed to say a spell, so the gods would be gratified. Other parts of the collection describe how to hone one’s psychic abilities and how to give credible descriptions of the future. Often, the book advised people how to use different objects to tell the future, including tea leaves. Also, one part of the book tells what different dreams might mean. It gives advice for using dreams to tell the future.

A small part of the book, however, is more sinister than the rest. It is meant to cause strife and deception. For example, one tells how to give someone warts, while another will make all of the victim’s farm animals die. However, if someone’s farm animals died as a result of a curse, he could ask a magician to perform magic that makes the deceased come back to life.

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