MAGIA

Magia nel mondo classico
Testimonianza di Apuleio

Nell’antichità le pratiche magiche furono fortemente influenzate dalla tradizione egizia, infatti, le forme rituali trovarono nei “papiri magici” un contesto preciso da cui trarre riti e formule adatte per ogni occasione.

Nel mondo greco e romano, invece, la magia era spesso un miscuglio di pratiche provenienti da culture diverse.

La cultura classica proponeva tutto una serie di figure tra realtà e mito, che erano parte integrante del substrato culturale sul quale poggiavano le varie forme di magia.

Secondo Plino il Vecchio, le pratiche magiche erano espressioni di una scienza perversa, un miscuglio di medicina, religione e astrologia.

Secondo lo storico romano la magia era un prodotto della cultura persiana diffusa in occidente dal mago Ostantes, al seguito di Serse durante le sue spedizioni in Grecia.

Al contrario, per Sant’Agostino, la magia era un’arte positiva praticata con l’intento di alleviare l’uomo da problemi e angosce.

Un’importante contributo sulla magia praticata nell’antichità ci giunge da Apuleio.

Nel 158 d.C. Apuleio fu accusato di magia e obbligato a comparire davanti al proconsole romano Claudio Massimo. Il filosofo era stato accusato di aver indotto una donna a sposarlo usando pratiche magiche, con il fine di potersi impossessare dell’ingente dote della sposa.

Un’accusa molto grave che prevedeva come punizione la morte. Apuleio si difese da sé: la sua arringa è nota come “Apologia sive de Magia”.

Quando gli fu imputato di aver utilizzato dei pesci per compiere le fatture, Apuleio confutò le accuse affermando che gli animali gli servivano per osservazioni scientifiche.

”Se io, per esempio, avessi comprato elleboro o cicuta o succo di papavero o altre simili sostanze, di cui l’uso moderato è benefico ma nocivo il miscuglio o l’eccesso, chi potrebbe supportare che tu m’accusassi di veneficio per la sola ragione che con queste sostanze si può uccidere un uomo”?

Apuleio considerava la sua difesa come la difesa della filosofia magica:
”Giacchè io non difendo solo la mia causa, ma quella della filosofia”.

Nel testo si possono isolare alcune imputazioni:

1) presunto utilizzo dei pesci per pratiche magiche.

2) una donna e un ragazzo furono colpiti dalla magia di Apuleio e caddero in estasi.

3) il filosofo avrebbe utilizzato degli strumenti magici per eseguire le sue pratiche.

4) Apuleio e alcuni suoi amici avrebbero celebrato dei riti notturni in cui si sarebbero svolte strane pratiche e sacrifici.

5) con una statuetta in forma di scheletro, l’accusato avrebbe effettuato magia nera per colpire i suoi nemici.

Apuleio confutò ogni punto, dimostrando come le accuse fossero principalmente frutto di un’errata interpretazione da parte di osservatori impreparati.

Per il filosofo la magia era un’arte gradita agli dei, ai quali sa rendere onore e venerazione, deve però trattarsi di una magia positiva che conduce alla conoscenza del rapporto tra uomo e forze superiori:

”Tuttavia credo, con Platone, che fra gli dei e gli uomini esistano alcune divine podestà, intermediarie per la loro natura e per lo spazio che occupano, le quali altresì governano tutte le divinazioni e i miracoli della magia”.

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