Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae

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ISSN / EISSN : 0044-5975 / 1588-2543
Published by: Akademiai Kiado Zrt. (10.1556)
Total articles ≅ 756
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Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 293-302;

This paper will focus on magic rituals aimed at causing maleficia in a specific area: Sardinia. Although difficult to retrace, there is some evidence, on the island, of the existence of forms of both necromancy and oracular divination that refer, with their own forms, to the culture spread in the Roman empire. Among the most significant documents, there are the tabellae defixionum, some epigraphic texts widely documented in the Roman world, and even earlier in the Punic world. The evidence, in this case, is quite interesting, also, because it reflects the combination of different cultures in Sardinia, whose results are “original”, also in the world of magic.
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 303-317;

In the glyptic repertoire of roman-republican age, numerous subjects that must be recognized as amulets with probaskanica function. These objects are designed to protect the owner from the negative effects of the evil eye. The ridiculous and caricatural aspect often seen in these engraved gems characterized the grotesque and/or deformed beings such as hunchbacks, bald, dwarfs, pygmies. A further common typical element is the sexual hypertrophy, another characteristic that, in literature, has always been associated with a clear apotropaic function. From a functional perspective, all these features would contribute to identify these characters as useful expedients to ward off the charm. Instead, from a perspective of antithetical analogy, they communicate positive symbolic concepts, such as the fullness of life, fertility, rebirth and victory over death. Thanks to the analytical study of some pictures engraved in gems conducted by the authors, it has been possible to define a singular set similar for style, subject and type of material, produced between the second and first century BC in the Italian peninsula. The paper intends to explain the figurative and material elements, both constant or variable, that contribute to reinforce the symbolic and amuletic meaning of these gems.
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 209-218;

A careful methodology can enable us to be confident in the idea, largely neglected by historiography, that Socrates understood the relationships between men, the gods and wealth, in a very different manner to that of the large majority of his contemporaries. While the latter thought that the rites could lead the gods to bring them prosperity, that wealth was a blessing, Socrates was convinced of the opposite: wealth was not, in his view, a blessing, and had nothing to do with the gods. This was able to draw a few Athenians to think that philosophy could threaten the practice of religious rituals.
Michaela Kellová
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 353-362;

Curse tablets are artefacts of a very specific nature. They are generally interpreted as material expression of a particular magic action, usually performed by an individual. Such finds are especially interesting for the study because they represent an epigraphic monument, on the one hand, as well as a standard archaeological find with its specific context on the other hand. A particularly interesting phenomenon is visible on curse tablets throughout the Mediterranean – the presence of mother's name to identify the victim of the curse. The “boom” of this phenomenon occurs in the 2nd century AD, but there also are much older examples, particularly from the 4th and 3rd century BC. In the 2nd century AD, the identification of the mother spread to Italy and the African provinces, where this kind of targeting became dominant. In my paper, I will focus on the later, Latin and Greek curse tablets in the Roman Empire. Mothers' names were assigned to identify a particular person: This is interesting because patronyms were usually used in the Greco-Roman world as the identifier. The purposes of the curse tablets bearing the mother's name were thus different: the tablets were used in cases of private action in competition, love or trials linked to family affairs – all within a ritual framework. For this reason, this paper aims to observe the curse tablets as an important medium of the ritual practice which should enable us to answer the questions: Why should the name of the father, which is usually used, be replaced by the name of the mother? Could the reason for such replacement be the recognition of the mother as a mediator for targeting her child? Is this the most precise identification, as the mother is more accurately identifiable than the father? What does it tell us about the care-giving function of the mother within the family and about the authors of the curse tablets?
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 469-479;

The aim of this paper is to underline some cultic features of the cult of the Great Gods of Samothrace, in its development between Hellenistic and Roman Age. In this regard, we analyze the mythological background of this cult, with particular reference to Trojan war and Aeneas saga and the influences on the cultic performances and ideology in Roman age. Our main goal is to show, through an analysis of the different syncretic cults (Dioskuroi, Penates, Lares) and the archaeological data, how the metaphors of sea and sailing influenced the transmission of this soteriological cult in Rome and how these cultural changes represent a weighty argument to demonstrate the very important revolution introduced by the Samothracian cult in the religious thought of classical world.
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 229-240;

This work focuses on the analysis of a series of famous episodes that underline the prodigious birth and the exceptional destiny of Alexander the Great. First, the article examines the accounts of the Macedonian king's conception, due to the union of his mother Olympias with the king/magician Nectanebo, or with a snake, or with the god Ammon – depending on the different versions. Subsequently, the stories of the oracles foretelling Alexander's domination over the world and the premonitions that mark his rise to power are analyzed. Finally, the death omens are also taken into account. Summing up, this study deals with the elements related to Alexander's mythology and the reasons why the literary sources of the classical world present him as a being halfway between human and divine.
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 417-427;

This discussion examines the religious conflict between the cult and oracle of Glykon and its Epicurean opponents recorded in the second century CE satire, Alexander the False Prophet, by Lucian of Samosata. Following the market theory of religion approach, these groups can be understood to have been engaged in an intense and escalating struggle over followers, financial support, status, and, ultimately, for survival. For the oracle and Glykon's prophet, Alexander of Abonouteichos, this effort included the use of magical curses, which were deployed against their adversaries. As such, these circumstances represent an as-yet unrecognized agonistic context for cursing to take place in the Graeco-Roman world. Alexander's use of cursing also highlights previously overlooked aspects of his own connections to the practice of magic in Graeco-Roman antiquity.
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 219-228;

According to Durkheim, the notion of ‘sacred’ is per se ambivalent, because it includes antinomic notions such as the pure and the impure. This theory would be justified by the original ambiguity of the Latin sacer. Only one case is always quoted: the peculiar condition of the homo sacer, a criminal consecrated to the gods. But the ambiguity of the sacer is not a problem for the Romans. The uncertainties of modern interpretation stem from the fact that this consecratio of a criminal is often explained as a sacrifice, but the destiny of the homo sacer is more analogous to the fate reserved for the violators of international treaties: on the profane side, the culprit is deprived of his citizenship and becomes a foreigner. Nor, however, is he accepted by enemies. In the same way, from an anthropological point of view, the consecrated person stays on a liminal stage: he remains forever in an uncertain gap between the sphere of men and the world of the gods. There is no ambiguity of the sacred because the homo sacer could not really reach the gods or pollute them.
Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Volume 60, pp 241-247;

Some Roman rituals with political value ware provided with the power of a curse whose mechanics was similar to that of Greek defixiones. Those who injured a plebeian tribune were consecrated to the gods or to the gods of the dead. The consecratio of a man was sometimes enacted when the blood of a citizen or the tears of a parent were poured. Blood was particularly efficacious in unleashing a curse on the person responsible for something wrong and offensive to the gods and the Roman people.
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