DAY ONE: Cult Practices in Ancient Literatures: Egyptian, Near Eastern and Graeco-Roman Narratives in a Cross-Cultural Perspective

Workshop organized by Franziska Naether (ISAW Visiting Research Scholar)

Heroic stories and novels, tales, travel fictions and wisdom texts in the ancient world, from Egypt to Greece, from Anatolia to Rome, they contained rituals, magic and divination. In this two-day workshop on May 16-17, 2016, we will discuss phenomena of such cult practices and their functions in regard to ritual and literary studies. Topics include secret knowledge, presentations of the divine and of fate, sacred justice and practitioners of cult practices as protagonists in the narratives.

Chair, Morning Sessions: Beate Pongratz-Leisten, ISAW

10:00am - Franziska Naether, ISAW Visiting Research Scholar
Welcome, Introduction, Methodology and Case Studies from Egypt

10:30am - Gina Konstantopoulos, ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor
Wise Women and Benevolent Magic in Old Babylonian Literary Texts

11:00am - Ainsley Hawthorn, Yale University
The Fish and the Tamarisk: Symbolism and Ritual Instruction in “Lugalbanda and the Anzu Bird”

11:30am - Coffee Break

12:00pm - Rita Lucarelli, University of California, Berkeley
The Magician as a Literary Figure in Ancient Egyptian Texts

12:30pm - Lunch Break

Chair, Afternoon Sessions: Franziska Naether, ISAW Visiting Research Scholar

2:00pm - Gil Renberg, Harvard University
Incubation in Egyptian Literary Texts

2:30pm - Edward Love, University of Oxford and University of Heidelberg
Ritual Reality or Fictitious Fantasy? The Conceptualisation and Narration of Magical Practice in Setne I and II and Their Relationship to the Practices of the Demotic and Greek Magical Papyri

3:00pm - Philippe Matthey, Université de Liège and Université de Genève
A wizard’s Spell, a Priest’s Ritual, a Pharaoh’s Duty? Deciphering Pharaoh Nectanebo’s “lekanomanteia” and Other Spells in the Alexander’s Romance

3:30pm - Coffee Break

4:00pm - Lucas LivingstonThe Art Institute of Chicago
Alcohol's Magic in Antiquity or How to Be the Ass of Athens

Please check for event updates.

Registration is required at

Please note that separate registration is required for each day of the workshop: May 16th (10:00am-4:30pm) and May 17th (9:30-11:30am).