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Take old urine and slag iron

Simon Goldhill: Magic in the ancient world

3 September 1998
Magic in the Ancient World 
by Fritz Graf.
Harvard, 318 pp., £23.50, February 1998, 0 674 54151 0
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... Should astrology be included in a synoptic account? (It gets only the barest of mentions in Graf.) Should sophisticated literary games about witchcraft, spells and mystery be allowed space as formulating the discourse of magic, or excluded because of their tenuous connection with any actual ritual behaviour? (...
30 January 1992
A Cultural History of Gestures: From Antiquity to the Present 
edited by Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg.
Polity, 220 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 7456 0786 1
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The New Oxford Book of 17th-Century Verse 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 830 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 19 214164 3
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... or inclined his head to one side, was quite likely to be classified as a passive homosexual. Fritz Graf finds Quintilian in Rumpole of the Bailey mood, denouncing orators who gesticulate so wildly that it is scarcely safe to stand behind them. Robert Muchembled discovers almost the same degree of formality among Breton peasants as Maria Bogucka does ...

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