Beyond Amarna: exorcists without borders in the Levant




Amarna Period, Levant, Epidemics, Exorcists, Interconnections


The Levant and the Eastern Mediterranean formed a special sphere of activity for diverse specialists who navigated from one side to the other through extensive networks of interconnections in the Late Bronze Age. During the Amarna Period (fourteenth century BCE), Akkadian and Hittite texts attest a lethal epidemic that originated in Egypt and later spread to Canaan, Syria, Alashiya (Cyprus), and the land of Hatti. References to pestilence, plague, epidemic, and death, as well as metaphoric expressions alluding to the crisis, such as the ‘hand of Nergal,’ are widespread in diplomatic correspondence, prayers, magic spells, and medical texts as well. Specialists (such as physicians, exorcists, and omen experts) traveled between courts to perform acts of healing and to practice divination. Also, statues of gods and goddesses were commonly sent between courts of Great Kings as symbols of fertility, healing, and alliances. This essay analyzes the role of exorcists traveling between courts in the framework of the cross-cultural discourse of alterity in the Amarna Age.


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Como Citar

Gestoso Singer, G. (2023). Beyond Amarna: exorcists without borders in the Levant. Diacrítica, 37(2), 51–70.



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