Ancient Sorcery Secrets

In ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome, practitioners of magic exploited symbolic words, images, and rituals to achieve desired outcomes through supernatural means. Using magical acts, they attempted to control supernatural powers— gods, demons, spirits, or ghosts—to accomplish something beyond the scope of human capabilities. The exhibition Magic in the Ancient World, now at the Penn Museum, illuminates how different cultures used magic as a way of managing or understanding the present, controlling supernatural agencies, and seeing the future. This exhibition features objects from the Museum’s rich collections of the Near East, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Mediterranean sections.

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