A team of German university professors has set up a specialized center dedicated to researching and understanding ancient magic and magical texts, with a focus on the spread of that knowledge across ancient Egypt, the ancient Near East, and surrounding regions.
Dubbed “Magic between Entanglement, Interaction, and Analogy,” or MagEIA, the new center will spend at least four years and 3.5 million euros analyzing ancient magic and magical tests to determine how the texts and the ancient knowledge they contain originated and how they could spread from the Eastern Mediterranean to Egypt and Central Asia several thousand years ago.
Previous Research on Ancient magic Exists, but New Effort is the First of Its Kind
While previous attempts to understand how belief in ancient magic used by practitioners to cast spells, protect against enemies, or even find a mate have been undertaken, the new well-funded effort by the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) will be the first to look at the roots, documentation in texts, and eventual spread of magical knowledge across the region.
“Such texts, which are referred to as ‘magical’ in modern research, are prominent in the written traditions of all ancient cultures of West Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean and represent an important source for the history of religion and ideas in antiquity,” says Professor Daniel Schwemer, a professor of Near Eastern Studies and one of the three professors headlining the unique study effort.
With the establishment of MagEIA, Schwemer and his colleagues Daniel Kölligan, professor of Comparative Linguistics, and Martin Andreas Stadler, professor of Egyptology, hope to understand the extremely ancient roots of such magic, and according to the press release announcing the effort, “provide new insights into how texts – and thus knowledge – could spread in an area from the Eastern Mediterranean to Central Asia several thousand years…