As Gulliver learned in Glubbdubdrib, the only certain historian of an tiquity is the necromancer who calls up the dead and compels them disgorge their secrets. If those who continue to research an cient history by conventional methods have avoided the subject of necromancy, it is presumably for fear of exposing the inferiority of their own craft. How does one hear from, communicate with, and come to terms with lost loved ones and odier dead people? Questions of this sort weigh heavily upon most of us, even in our largely secular Western societies in which the culture and representation of death have been marginalized, and even though we mostly assume that death brings oblivion. Such questions were all the more pressing for the peoples of antiquity, for whom death was all around and everywhere represented. The most direct and tangible manifestation of such communication was necromancy, which, accordingly, cries out for an investigation. The subject also offers more immediate attractions. The following pages are populated by the stock-in-trade of modern horror movies: ghosts, of course, but also demons, witches, magicians, mummies, and zombies, and occasionally even werewolves and the antecedents of vampires.


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Greek and Roman Necromancy