Divination, Medicine and Talismans: Ethiopian Magic


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An insight into the British Library’s Ethiopic manuscripts collection

Ethiopian magic, divination and magical recipe books are a striking and very distinctive form of Ethiopian Christian material culture, yet they remain a relatively poorly understood and understudied topic.
As well containing spells, these manuscripts are adorned with rich illustrations. These drawings were created for spiritual edification and the protection of clients from real or imagined harm. Ethiopian magical art consists of visual representations of the world of demons and evil spirits, exposing the invisible for the client to understand. 
Who were these works produced for? What is Ethiopian ‘magic’? Why do the scrolls contain extensive quotations of styles and motifs found in early Babylonian, Hebrew and Greek magic images, and what do these quotations signify? What was the relationship between Debtras (practitioners) and the clients?
In this illustrated talk, second year doctoral student at SOAS University of London Eyob Derillo will discuss the background of Ethiopic magic and explore the wider British Library Ethiopic manuscript collection, from divination manuals to amulet talismans and handbooks used by magic practitioners.


Name: Divination, Medicine and Talismans: Ethiopian Magic
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £5.00
Member: £5.00
Senior 60+: £4.50
Student: £4.00
Registered Unemployed: £4.00
Under 18: £4.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546