Cosmic Magic

Cosmic Magic: Astronomy, astrology,
and Graeco-Egyptian Cultural Interactions

Graeco-Aegyptiaca and Ourania Network joint workshop

The society of Egypt in the Hellenistic and Roman periods was a unique and fascinating melting-pot of Egyptian, Near Eastern and Greek influences. The astronomy and astrology of the period is an exciting area in which to study this rich cultural hybridity. Cosmology was an area where science, religion and magic met and cross-fertilized in a culture where the boundaries between these areas were differently defined. This international project, conceived and run by the established scholarly networks ‘Ourania: Network for Astronomical Cultures in the Ancient and Premodern Worlds’ and ‘Graeco-Aegyptiaca’ (Palladion-UCL), brings together participants from the UK, Europe and US to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration in the fields of Graeco-Egyptian history and the history of ancient astronomy and culture. Our two-day conference, held in London with the support of Palladion, UCL and its Institute of Advanced Studies, the University of Birmingham, the Past and Present Society and the Institute of Classical Studies (University of London IAS) will cast light on how Greek and Egyptian science, religion and magic interacted in the intellectual culture and social and religious practices of Hellenistic and Roman Egypt.


3rd–4th June 2024


The conference will be fully hybrid and can be attended in person or online. Attendance is free, but registration is kindly requested on the following Eventbrite page.


The workshop will be held at the UCL Faculty of Arts and Humanities School of Advanced Studies’ Common Ground seminar space: information on how to find it will be sent to you on registration.


Please direct any questions you may have to Peter Agócs at


Monday, 3rd June

9:20     Organisers’ opening remarks
Jess Lightfoot, Peter Agócs, Kata Endreffy and Árpád M. Nagy

9:30–10:40     Marina Escolano-Poveda (Liverpool) and Kim Ryholt (Copenhagen): ʽDemotic Insights on Hephaistion of Thebes’ (in person)

10:40–11:00     Break

11:00–12:10    Alessandra Rochetti (Oxford): ʽThe Cartography of Magic in the Magical Papyri’ (in person)

12:10–13:30     Break for lunch

13:30–14:40    Joachim Quack (Heidelberg): ʽMagic of the Decans’ (via Zoom)

14:40     Visit to the British Museum


Tuesday, June 4th

9:30–10:40     M. Zellmann-Rohrer and A. Winkler (Sydney and Berlin): ʽEgyptian Astrological Manuals in Demotic and Greek’ (presented by Winkler in person)

10:40–11:00     Break

11:00–12:10     Véronique Dasen: TBA (via Zoom)

12:10–12:40     Sandwich lunch provided

12:40–13:50     Fabio Spadini (Fribourg): ʽAstro-magical gemstones: some case studies’ (in person)

13:50–15:00     Free discussion about the possibilities of research collaboration in this area

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