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From Zoroaster to Socrates: Ancient Philosophy and Magic in the 5 th and 4 th Centuries B.C. (I)

(Original title: Od Zoroastra k Sókratovi: vzťah antickej filozofie a mágie v 5. a 4. storočí pred Kr. (I))
Filozofia, 73 (2018), 2, 85-96.
Type of work: Articles
Publication language: Slovak

The first part of this study offers a contextual analysis of the terms mageia and goeteia in the Greek literature of the 5th century B. C. These terms have obviously oriental, namely Persian origin. Consequently, the magical terminology of some of presocratic philosophers is scrutinized. By textual analysis of Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen, Empedocles’ fragments, and various ancient reports on Pythagoras, an essential bond between „magic“ and „philosophy“ is established. These authors understood philosophy as a magical craft working primarily with verbal persuasion and alternation of emotions (Gorgias) that were part of a broader phenomenon including mysticism, eschatological beliefs (Empedocles) and oriental way of life (Pythagoras).


Empedocles, Gorgias, Magic, Persia, Philosophy, Pythagoras

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