In this episode of the podcast, we are discussing Coptic pharmacological texts with Anne Grons, who is currently finishing her thesis on the topic. Pharmacological texts offer a window into ancient medical practices. The pharmacological prescriptions are aimed at healing various issues, often by applying remedies made of plants, animals, minerals or other substances, to the body. Coptic pharmacological texts are crucial for understanding Coptic magical prescriptions – often, the boundaries between the two genres are blurred, as they tend to use the same formulations or ingredients. Anne Grons has studied Egyptology and was the assistant/lexicographer at the project Dictionary and Database of Greek Loanwords in Coptic (DDGLC) (Freie Universität Berlin). Currently, she is a researcher at the Institute of the History of Pharmacy and Medicine (in formation) at Philipps-Universität Marburg led by Prof. Dr. Tanja Pommerening.
In this episode, Michael Zellmann-Rohrer introduced us to Byzantine magic. Michael Zellmann-Rohrer has an undergraduate degree in classical philology from Harvard University. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on late ancient and medieval Greek and Latin magical texts at the University of California. Between 2016 and 2021, he was a research associate on the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names at the University of Oxford. Currently, Michael Zellmann-Rohrer is part of the ERC project "Zodiac – Ancient Astral Science in Transformation", in which he is dealing with a corpus of texts and practices related to his earlier interest in magic. Astrology is another form of easily transmissible folk knowledge with a foundation in religious thought, which has survived on papyri thanks to the favorable climate in Egypt, allowing us to trace the details of its application by practitioners from different social classes. During his research, he has worked with various artifacts of manuscript cultures: Inscriptions on stone, jewelry, amulets made of precious stones and metal leaves, books and formulas on papri, and in parchment and paper codices.