The Etruscans are one of history's great mysteries -- a sophisticated society that flourished at the heart of the Classical world and then vanished, leaving relatively few archaeological remains and few records of their culture. The Etruscans were adept at magic, and Etruscan books of spells were common among the Romans but they have not survived. While greatly influenced by the Greeks, the Etruscans retained elements of an ancient non-Western culture, and these archaic traits contributed greatly to the civilization once thought of as purely Roman (gladiators, for example, and many kinds of divination). Leland retrieves elements of Etruscan culture from the living popular traditions of remote areas of the Italian countryside where belief in "the old religion" survives to an astonishing degree. Recorded when many of these secret beliefs and practices were fading away, this remarkable volume deals with ancient gods, spirits, witches, incantations, prophecy, medicine, spells, and amulets, giving full descriptions, illustrations, and instructions for practice.
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