Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review of Stratton et al. (eds.), Daughters of Hecate

Kimberly B. Stratton, Dayna S. Kalleres (ed.), Daughters of Hecate: Women and Magic in the Ancient World. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. xv, 533. ISBN 9780195342710. $39.95.

Reviewed by Maxwell Teitel Paule, Earlham College (


An edited collection of fifteen articles, Daughters of Hecate: Women in Magic in the Ancient World follows in the footsteps of Brian Levack’s (1992) Articles on Witchcraft, Magic and Demonology series, Marvin Meyer and Paul Mirecki’s two volumes, Ancient Magic and Ritual Power (1995) and Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World (2002), and Gordon and Simón’s Magical Practice in the Latin West (2010). This particular volume – which is not a conference proceedings – focuses on women and magic and helps narrow the scope of a potentially broad field by purposefully avoiding treatments of the by-now familiar characters of Apuleius, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Chresimus, Zatchlas, and the like, in favor of exploring the roles of lesser-known, often anonymous women. (Circe and Medea, for example, are discussed at length in only one article [p. 42-52].) The result is a thorough collection that offers diverse perspectives on the roles of women and magic supported by evidence from the written and material records of numerous cultures.

I noted the publication of the book here.