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A History of Magic - notes, part 10

Updated: Apr 6



This time, a bit on ancient good luck charms.


In Greece, gorgons were carved with tusks and terrifying facial expressions to frighten evil spirits away. A simple method for home protection was to write above the door, "Hercules lives here," which made me laugh 'cause it's like, "my god can beat up your god, go away or he'll punch you."


(A quick note: the book says this was a Greek method but uses the Roman name Hercules instead of the Greek name Heracles. Not sure if this is a mistake by the author or simply use of a somewhat more familiar name.)


Amulets were often used to protect against medical issues. One trick against ophthalmia (inflammation of the eye) was to carry a live fly wrapped in white linen. A less gross charm for the same thing was to wear as a necklace the Greek letters rho and alpha, written down and wrapped in white linen. Thankfully, many of us have easy access to eye doctors now.


I'm sure the book will likely have more good luck charms in a later section, but that's it for this week. Next time, we'll start chapter two: Christianity and the Middle Ages.


Stay safe!

- me

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