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H 290 x W 205 mm

280 pages

Colour illustrations throughout

Published May 2024

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781803277493

Digital: 9781803277509

DOI 10.32028/9781803277493

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Apotropaia; Phylakteria; Prophylactic practices; Apotropaic practices; Evil Eye; Amulets; Magical Gems; Greek Religion; Classical Archaeology; Greek Cults

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Apotropaia and Phylakteria: Confronting Evil in Ancient Greece

Edited by Maria G. Spathi, Maria Chidiroglou, Jenny Wallensten

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The belief in the existence of evil forces was part of ancient everyday life and a phenomenon deeply embedded in popular thought of the Greek world. Stemming from a conference held in Athens in June 2021, this volume addresses the apotropaia and phylakteria from different perspectives: via literary sources, archaeological material, and iconography.





Confronting Evil at the Boundaries of the City, the House, and the Human Body – Christopher A. Faraone


Women’s Choral Apotropaic Songs in Tragic Contexts of Domestic and Civic Disharmony – Vasiliki Kousoulini


Apotropaic and Prophylactic Practices at Troizen and Methana – Maria Giannopoulou


Some Thoughts on Apotropaic Devices in Greek Pottery Production – Oliver Pilz


Archaic Anthropomorphic Figurines from the Argolid Potentially Associated with Ritual Activity of an Apotropaic Character – Anna Philippa-Touchais


Terracotta Figurines of Apotropaic and/or Prophylactic Character in the National Archaeological
Museum, Athens – Maria Chidiroglou


Clay Figurines from Smyrna in the I. Misthos Collection at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens: A Study in Deformity and Apotropaic Character – Eirini Peppa Papaioannou


The Interpretation of Clay Gorgoneion-Roundels in Sacral Contexts: Evidence from the Sanctuary of Artemis Limnatis at Ancient Messene – Maria G. Spathi

Magic-Related(?) Graffiti on Pottery from Piraeus – Daphne Koletti


Reliefs from Ancient Messene: The Motif of the Open Hand – Eugenia Lambropoulou


Fearing the Evil Eye in Graeco-Roman Religion and Magic: Remarks on an Apotropaic Bas-Relief from Actia Nicopolis (Epirus, Greece) – Evangelos Pavlidis and Anastasia Giovanopoulou


Sacred Transitions: Protecting City Gates in Sicily and Magna Graecia – Valentina Garaffa


Some Evidence for Amulets in the Demeter and Kore Greek Sanctuary at Ancient Corinth – Sonia Klinger


Tracing the Possible Prophylactic Attributes of Parthenos at Ancient Neapolis (Kavala) – Amalia Avramidou


Things Jingling from the Beyond: Tracking the Amuletic Function of Bells in Roman Greece – Dimitris Grigoropoulos


An Etruscan Silver Ring Depicting a Scorpion from a Deposit in an Archaic House in Philia (Karditsa) – Dimitris Paleothodoros and Christos Karagiannopoulos


Apotropaic and Prophylactic Jewellery from Abdera – Constantina Kallintzi and Kyriaki Chatziprokopiou


Technical Phylactery in Graeco-Egyptian Ritual Practice – Barbara Takács


Reflections on Some Cases of interpretatio aegyptiaca on Magical Gems – Dominique Barcat


A Gem to Counter the Empousa – Anastasia Maravela


Chnoubis, Glykon, Agathodaimon, and the Strange Story of the Swamps of Central Macedonia: Notes on Magical Gems Depicting Snakes – Eleni Tsatsou


‘Against a Demon and Fears.’ A Phylactery in the Archaeological Museum of Perugia – Paolo Vitellozzi

About the Author

Maria Spathi is a classical field archaeologist. She held a Stanley J. Seeger fellowship at Princeton for autumn 2023 and is currently a Margo Tytus fellow at Cincinnati. Her research focuses on the material culture of the Greek world. She works mainly with archaeological sources, and, within this vast field, specialises in material from ancient sacred sites, discussing its interpretation in relation to archaeological context, specific rituals and textual evidence.


Maria Chidiroglou studied History and Archaeology at the University of Athens and holds a PhD degree in Classical Archaeology from the same University. After joining the Greek Archaeological Service, she has worked in the Ephorate of Antiquities of Euboea as a field archaeologist and curator of the Archaeological Museum of Karystos. As of 2010 she is a curator of the Collection of Vases and Minor Arts of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and is in charge of its photographic archive.


Jenny Wallensten is the director of the Swedish Institute at Athens and affiliated Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Lund University. Her special fields of interest are to be found in the study of ancient Greek religion and epigraphy, with a focus on communication between gods and humans.