Cuneiform tablets preserving rituals of erotic magic have been uncovered at Tell Inghara and Isin present day Iraq. These magical practices continued to influence private ritual in Gaul among Celtic peoples, in Roman Britain , and among Germanic peoples.
Christopher Faraone, a University of Chicago classics professor specializing in texts and practices pertaining to magic, distinguishes between the magic of eros , as practiced by men, and the magic of philia , practiced by women. Women used philia spells because they were dependent on their husbands.
Women were powerless and used any means necessary to keep their husbands around, since men were free to leave their wives whenever they wanted. Many women resorted to philia spells to maintain their beauty and keep a peace of mind. Philia magic was used by women to keep their male companion at bay and faithful.
The spells were not used by women to achieve sexual pleasure, but rather as a form of therapy or medicine. Women commonly used the philia spells in attempt to preserve their beauty and youth, which in effect would keep their beau faithful. Parallels can be drawn between philia spells and common medical practice by women.
A facelift will make a woman feel desirable and inject her with youth, at least in her mind. Many women in ancient Greece used the spells as a form of therapy. Regardless if the spells actually worked or not, they made the women feel more comfortable with their situation and feel as if they have some control over what is going on.
In that sense, magic functions the same way religions do. Spells and prayer share many of the same characteristics; both are used to bring peace of mind and they both invoke something spiritual to control something that is ultimately out of their hands. Eros spells were mainly practiced by men and prostitutes served a completely different function in Ancient Greece. Eros spells were used to instill lust and passion into women, leading them to fulfill the man who invoked the spells sexual desires.
Without freedom, women could only hope to make their situation better, which is why they aimed at affection producing spells. Men, on the other hand, had the freedom to do what they want. They were financially free, could live where they chose, and were not expected to serve just one man and home. These were the only noted women to use eros magic to fulfill their sexual needs. Love magic in the Renaissance[ edit ] Painting from the lower Rhine, —80, showing love magic During the later medieval period 14th to 17th century , marriage developed into a central institution for public life.
This is reflected in their love magic: Magic was expensive and could cause severe damage to the caster; therefore it was not taken lightly. Men and women of status and favor were more often the targets of love magic. Economic or social class restrictions would often inhibit a marriage , and love magic was seen as a way to break those barriers, leading to social advancement. However, if the victim realized that a spell was being cast upon them, believing in magic themselves, they would behave differently adding effectiveness to love magic.
With the dominance of Christianity and Catholicism in Europe during the Renaissance , elements of Christianity seeped its way into the magic rituals themselves. Often, clay dolls or written spell scrolls would be hidden in the altar at churches, or holy candles would be lit in the rituals.
The Host from a Catholic Mass would sometimes be taken and used in rituals to gain the desired result. Thus, love magic within the Renaissance period was both Christian and pagan.
One of the earliest manifestations of the theme in the Western world is the story of Heracles and Deianeira. A famous treatment of the subject is in Richard Wagner 's opera Tristan and Isolde , which in turn goes back to the same epic by Gottfried von Strassburg. This illustrates the common stereotype that men did not do magic. Faraone, love magic often was associated with prostitutes and courtesans.
Women in these professions often held psychological power over their partners, sometimes leading to dramatic measures such as witchcraft accusations. The view of women within the Renaissance can best be illustrated by the Malleus Maleficarum.
In the opening section of this text it discusses the sexuality of women in relation to the devil. Heinrich Kramer wrote within his book that, "All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which in women is insatiable.
They associated it with the devil, making witches out to be sexual partners with demons. Kramer makes the case that a witch received her powers by inviting the devil to enter into carnal relations. Through her sexuality she gains her power, and thus her sexuality is seen as evil and something to be feared.
In many of the witchcraft accusations brought before the Holy Office in the Roman Inquisition, men accused women of binding their passions and sexuality by the use of their own sexuality.
While within literature, females dominate the witch world, some scholars believe that reality was much different. Dickie, a prominent magic scholar, argues that men were the main casters of love magic.
There are a variety of explanations for why the literary world contrasted reality in this area, but a common interpretation is that men were trying to subtract themselves from association.