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In the last chapter of my book I argue that courtesans and prostitutes were, in fact, perceived as masculine--aggressively masculine--or that they represented themselves as being aggressively masculine in the Greek world. It's clear to many historians that gender is socially constructed.

There are a few basic physical differences between males and females, but every culture adds a great deal of extra baggage on top of that, by saying that this is "normally feminine" and this is "normally masculine"--like the traditional idea pink is a color that girl babies should wear and blue is what male babies should wear.

If you actually track it down, melting wax, sticking pins into an image, and a lot of the language in the surviving erotic charms are all used in cursing rituals.

Thus half of the repertoire of love magic is curses, whereas the philia-producing spells uses amulets, knotted cords, and potions, which aren't technologies you find in curses--you find them in healing magic.

And they educated their adopted daughters in a way that the daughters of citizens were never educated: the girls learned to read and write, compose poetry, and they were given a fairly wise education, so they could talk intelligently with men.

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Y." The assumption of the users of these spells is that these women are not going to make love to them or even look their way unless some supernatural torture is applied to them to force them to come.

But in my book, I show that the women who perform erotic magic all seem to be courtesans and prostitutes, and almost never wives and daughters of citizen men.

The question then arises: why do only this select women perform erotic magic or are accused of doing so?

That's the sociological frame, but when you're working in the ancient world there are no certainties because we don't have a lot of good evidence even for this kind of marriage.

Faraone: Yes, we do have a handful of examples of actual spells, and quite a few literary descriptions, such as Theocritus' second Idyll, a poem imitated most famously by Vergil in his seventh Eclogue.

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