Author:
Fritz Graf
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Abstract

This chapter explores the term mágos and its cognates – and to what degree such terms signified “ambiguous or unsanctioned ritual.” Before the end of the 4th century BCE mágos and mágeia shifted from mostly ambiguous terms for itinerant religious entrepreneurs to designations with either positive philosophical or negative moral connotations. But a wider array of terms applied to religious specialists in ancient Greece, including mantis, agúrtēs, and góēs, associated with three forms of ambiguous rituals: thusiai, epōidē, and pharmaka. The transformation of these categories that began in the 4th century BCE continued with the outlawing of these rituals in Christian imperial laws.

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