Visiting Fellow, Fall 2018
Athanassia Zografou (BA in Classics, University of Thessaloniki, PhD in Ancient Greek Religion, EPHE, Paris) is Assοciate Professor of Ancient Greek Philology at the University of Ioannina. She has previously taught at EPHE (Paris) and at the Geneva University. 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.
The study of the Homeric elements found in Greek Magical Papyri suggests that their power reside not only in the utterance and the immediate meaning of words but also in the activation, through their original narrative context -infused with the aura of previous interpretations- of a mythical world endorsed by Homer’s religious and cultural authority.
This project aims to explore, in a wider range, the efficacy of the use of mythic elements in ritual texts/objects of the Late Roman period, mainly medico-magical recipes and incantations found in PGM collection, Kestoi of Julius Africanus, the first book of Kyranides and possibly actual amulets bearing mythological motifs. The focus on a number of case studies that interweave names of Greek gods and heroes, well known theogonic traditions, Homeric verses and formulas -or even Homeric episodes like the Nekuia and Chryses’ prayer to Apollo- with multicultural elements, at all levels of erudition, aims to illustrate the various aspects of the relation of ritual language to poetry and myth.