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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 3, 2015

An Anatomy of Tradition: The Case of the Charitêsion

Theodore S. de Bruyn


This paper traces continuity and change in the structure and formulation of Demotic, Greek, and Coptic charitêsia (“good luck charms”) in Roman Egypt. Drawing on the theoretical work of Roy Rappaport and Catherine Bell, it argues that the producers of these charms created a sense of tradition by echoing and modulating pre-established forms of incantation. The resulting products combined both elasticity and specificity so as to be at once recognizable in a broad cultural context and relevant to specific audiences.

Published Online: 2015-11-3
Published in Print: 2015-11-13

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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