Honors Bachelor of Arts

Document Type


Faculty Advisor

Thesis Director: Dr. David Everson; Thesis Reader: Dr. Thomas Strunk ; Thesis Reader: Dr. David Mengel




This paper will look at the history of magic from the time of the ancient Greeks, to its development and integration into the culture of the Romans, and finally its evolution, downfall, and outlawing in the Medieval and Early Modern Europe. More specifically, this paper intends to focus upon the gender of practitioners of magic. There is a discrepancy between classical literature and non-literary sources of who actually were practitioners of magic. Women prevail as practitioners in Greek and Roman literature but non-literary sources say that men too were practitioners of magic. Glimpses of misogynistic thoughts can be found in the writings of classical sources. When the non-literary sources are compared to literary sources, a different picture is formed as to who the practitioners of magic were in antiquity. In late Medieval Europe and the Early Modern Era of Europe, women were persecuted more so than men as practitioners of magic. Of all the witch trials that occurred in Europe, it is estimated by historians that eighty percent of the defendants were women.2 Michael Bailey says, “The history of magic is incredibly complex, and the associations drawn between gender and magic are perhaps the most complicated aspect of that history.”

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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