The Ancient Library
 

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xi NECROMANCY 243

vagances of magical ritual, when the most powerful spell for coercing the presence of the dead is held to demand the sacrifice of an unborn babe, ripped untimely from its mother's body.1 And another theory, which we have already noticed,2 doubtless assisted to cement the connection of human sacrifice with necro­mancy, the belief that in articulo mortis the spirit of the dying man hovered between the worlds of the living and the dead, and was able to give tidings of the future because it stood on the threshold of the next world. To the instances of this belief already cited may be added the story of Antinous and Hadrian.3

The spells and sacrifices of witches and wizards give them power to raise the dead from the tomb, and to learn of the future from the summoned ghosts. In the magical practice of late and post-classical periods an instrument is sometimes provided through which the ghost speaks. The ghost is summoned into a corpse, either that of the victim of the horrid sacrifice or one selected, as in the scene in Lucan's Pharsalia, from the graveyard in which the

1 Lucan, Pharsalia vi. 556 ; Ammianus Marcellinus xxix. 2. 17; Pap. Par. vs. 2579. 2 See above, p. 202.

3 Dio Cassius Ixix. u. According to Dio, Antinous was a victim of a necromantic sacrifice, and was said by some willingly to have devoted himself to death in the interests of his imperial lover.

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