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.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.