Necromancy, divine encounters, and erotic magic in cupid and psyche

Britta Ager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


While Apuleius' Metamorphoses contains many depictions of witchcraft, necromancy, and other magical practices, the story of Cupid and Psyche offers no overt instances of magic or magic workers. However, magical tropes inform several key episodes of the story: Psyche's discovery of Cupid's identity echoes spells to produce a divine encounter in the Greek magical papyri, Psyche's sisters resemble necromancers summoning a ghost, and Venus' behavior mimics spells of erotic attraction. Apuleius deploys magical motifs in ways which reinforce characterization and the way control of the narrative constantly shifts between Cupid, Psyche, and Venus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-343
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Journal of Philology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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