n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - The apprentice's sourcerer : Pancrates and his powers in context (Lucian, 33-36)

Volume 47, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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The figure of the sorcerer Pancrates in Lucian's tale of <I>The Sorcerer's Apprentice&lt;/I&gt; at &lt;I&gt;Philopseudes&lt;/I&gt; 33-36 alludes to the traditions relating to Hadrian's poet Pancrates Epicus and to those relating to his supposed magicial guru Pachrates. These traditions are argued to have had a common origin, and new arguments are advanced for this position. Lucian further exploits the significance of Pancrates' name ('All-powerful') in relation to that of a well-established character-type within his stock-in-trade, Eucrates ('Well-powerful'), who is accordingly cast in the role of his apprentice. Pancrates' focal spell, the animation of the pestle for domestic service, reflects the themes and concerns of contempary magical practice as documented in the papyri. Admonitory Cynic imagery, of a sort found elsewhere in the <I>Philopseudes</I>, may be latent both in the figure of Pancates and in his pestle.

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