Ancient Eros

 Alexis, dwelling on the aphrodisiac properties of bulbs, says: “Pinnas, crayfish, bulbs, snails, buccina, eggs, extremities, and all that. FIf anyone in love with a girl shall find any drugs more useful than these . . .(Athen. 63F)
Aphrodisiacs…  
and pharmaka (drugs) and enchanting charms for passion (φίλτρα θελκτήρια έρωτος). 

And  spells to heighten the drama of eros, spells to dissolve the unhappy love and cure the pain. 
And antaphrodisiacs.
And poisons.

Oh  eros is so complicated!* 




Take wax [or clay] from a potter’s wheel and make two figures, a male and a female. Make the male in the form of Ares fully armed, holding a sword in his left hand and threatening to plunge it into the right side of her neck. And make her with arms  behind her back and down on her knees. And you are to fasten the magical material on  her head or neck. Write on the figure of the woman being attracted as follows: On the head: VM; on the right ear: VM; on the left ear: VM; on the face: VM; on the right eye: VM; on the other; VM; on the right shoulder: VM; on the right arm: VM; on the other: VM; on the hands: VM; on the breast: the name, on her mother’s side. Of the woman being attracted; on the heart: VM; and below the lower belly: VM; on the pudenda: VM; on the buttocks: VM; on the sole of the right foot: VM; on the other: VM. And take thirteen copper needles and stick one in the brain while saying “I am piercing your brain, NN”; and stick two in the ears and two in the eyes and one in the mouth and two in the midriff and one in the hands and two in the pudenda and two in the soles, saying each time, “I am piercing such and such a member of her, NN, so that she may remember no one but me, NN, alone.” PGM 4.296-466). 

*Eros in the context of ancient Greek culture was not flowers and happiness. It involved annoyance and pain on the body and soul.
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