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Sara Chiarini

Abstract

The formulary of ancient magic features an expression, which is object of analysis in the present paper. It consists of the predicate ἐγώ εἰμι followed by the name of one or more gods or daemons. By this, the person reciting the magical spell identified him- or herself with a supernatural entity. A detailed overview of its stylistic and semantic features reveals how the formula is to be counted among those rhetorical devices of the magic act that enhanced its dramatic force. Rather than believing to be actually possessed by some divinity, the speaker-actor of the formula played the role of that divinity, thereby staging the magic ritual as a dialogic performance.

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