The Ancient Library

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the days when black magic comes to the fore in the classical world that necromancy assumes its most repellent forms and excites the maximum of horror and interest. It figures repeatedly in the Roman poets, whose accounts, though influenced by Homer, contain also elements derived from the practices or alleged practices of the witches and magicians of their day.1 In the Middle Ages nigromancy or negromancy came to be little more than a synonym for the Black Art, a result due in part to mistaken etymology,2 but in great measure to the late classical belief in the effectiveness of repellent rites of divination said to be practised by the professors of witch­craft.

The chief practitioners of the art of divining by the dead were said to be the Magi, whom Nero employed to evoke the dead ; 3 the Egyptians and Etruscans, to whose veKvopavrela Clement refers;4 the Thessalians, to which race, according to Plutarch, the •^•uj^wyoi who laid

1 See Fahz, De poetarum Romanorum doctrina magica, cap. i.

2 " Manila, Graece divinalio dicitur, et nigro, quasi nigra, unde Nigromanlia, nigra divinatio, quia ad atra daemoniorum vincula utentes se adducit."

3 Suetonius, Nero 34. 4; cf. Pliny, N.H. xxx. i (5). 14; Herodian iv. 12. 8. Further examples of necromancy in imperial times, Tac. Annals ii. 28 ; Dio Cassius Ixxvii. 15.

4 Clem. Alex. Protrept. i. u.

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