Sorcerers Mages Beggarpriests And Orphic Initiators

A series of important texts in the classical period, the ideas of which are reflected in later sources too, string together series of terms around the notion of a variety of male professional: sorcerer (goes), mage (magos), beggar-priest (agurtes), diviner (mantis), (Orphic) initiator, and charlatan. Such men are in particular attributed with manipulations of souls, purifications, the use of incantations, and the manufacture of binding spells. Most of the allusions to them are ostensibly "external" and hostile, although some may, on closer scrutiny, be less "external" than they would like to think (see 13, 14, with commentaries). But the one obviously "internal" text in this series, the Orphic commentary (18), is evidently making similar connections, albeit without the negative connotations. These texts focus on the Greek world. It is unclear, already from the time of Heraclitus, whether the term "mage" need carry a specifically Oriental significance, but it does not obviously do so in the texts collected here. Texts in which this term does carry a clear Oriental significance are collected chiefly at 36-48. The term agurtes, originally denoting a beggar-priest specifically of Cybele, may also have carried some Oriental connotations.

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