After its discovery at the end of the nineteenth century, the only direct fragment of Julius Africanus’ Kestoi (POxy 412, 228-231 AD) is often partly studied, either as false Homer or as an autonomous piece of magic. However, recent scholarship focusing on the cultural and religious preoccupations during the Second Sophistic period shed more light on this curious passage which playfully combines a unique version of the Nekyia completed with a late Roman syncretistic incantation in hexameter and, also, with some striking editorial comments in prose. This workshop wishes to contribute to the understanding of this excerpt as a whole, with a focus on both its Homeric and ritual features, to provide some parallels from magical papyri in Greek, and, also, to formulate questions about the purposes and the target readership of such a composition.

Athanassia Zografou (B.A., Classics, University of Thessaloniki; Ph.D., Ancient Greek Religion, EPHE, Paris) is Associate Professor of Ancient Greek Philology at the University of Ioannina. She has previously taught at EPHE and at the University of Geneva. Her research interests are mainly in the interdisciplinary area of ancient Greek religion and literature, and focus on hexametrical poetry, Greek polytheism, myth and ritual in the “magical papyri” and related literature. Her publications include Chemins d’Hécate (Liège, 2010), Papyrus Magiques Grecs: Le mot et le rite (Ioannina, 2013) and Des dieux maniables. Hécate et Cronos (Paris, 2016) as well as articles about the role of lighting devices in religion, sacrificial ritual, heroic relics, theogonic myths.

Respondent: Johannes Haubold, Classics