Magic and Cognition

A Brief Introduction


  • Esther Eidinow University of Bristol
  • Irene Salvo University of Verona



magic, cognition, methodology, introduction


A short introduction to the special issue.

Author Biographies

  • Esther Eidinow, University of Bristol

    Esther Eidinow is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Bristol. She works on ancient Greek culture and literature, especially religion and magic. Alongside numerous articles and edited volumes, she has published three monographs: Oracles, Curses, and Risk among the Ancient Greeks (Oxford 2007), Fate, Luck and Fortune: Antiquity and its Legacy (London 2011) and Envy, Poison and Death: Women on Trial in Classical Athens (Oxford 2016). Most recently, she designed and led the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Virtual Reality Oracle project, which imagines, in VR, the experience of visiting the oracle of Zeus at Dodona in 465 BCE. The app. is available on the Meta Store or Google Play Store; for more information see

  • Irene Salvo, University of Verona

    Irene Salvo is Lecturer in Ancient Greek History at the University of Verona, Dipartimento di Culture e Civiltà. Her research explores the social and cultural history of the ancient Greek world, with a focus on religion and rituals, emotion, cognition, and gender. She is also an expert in contemplative pedagogies and bibliotherapy (IG: @mindful_classics).


Bendlin, Andreas. 2001. “Rituals or Beliefs? ‘Religion’ and the Religious Life of Rome.” Scripta Classica Israelica 20: 191–208.

Bowden, Hugh. 2011. Mystery Cults of the Ancient World. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

Eidinow, Esther, Armin Geertz, and John North. 2022. Cognitive Approaches to Ancient Religious Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eidinow, Esther. 2016. Envy, Poison and Death: Women on Trial in Classical Athens. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Eidinow, Esther. 2019. “The (Ancient Greek) Subject Supposed to Believe.” Numen 66: 56–88.

Kindt, Julia. 2012. Rethinking Greek Religion, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Larson, Jennifer. 2016. Understanding Greek Religion: A Cognitive Approach. London and New York: Routledge.

Mackey, Jacob L. 2022. Belief and Cult: Rethinking Roman Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Nikki, Nina, and Kirsi M. J. Valkama. 2021. Magic in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean: Cognitive, Historical, and Material Perspectives on the Bible and Its Contexts. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Petrovic, Andrej, and Ivana Petrovic. 2016. Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion: Early Greek Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rüpke, Jörg. 2011. “Lived Ancient Religion: Questioning Cults and Polis Religion.” Mythos: Rivista di storia delle religioni 5: 191–204.

Salvo, Irene. 2020. “Experiencing Curses: Neurobehavioral Traits of Ritual and Spatiality in the Roman Empire.” In Lived Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World: Approaching Religious Transformations from Archaeology, History and Classics, edited by Valentino Gasparini, Maik Patzelt, Rubina Raja, Anna-Katharina Rieger, Jörg Rüpke and Emiliano Urciuoli Rubens, 157–180. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.

Salvo, Irene. 2021. “Uterine Bleeding, Knowledge, and Emotion in Ancient Greek Medical and Magical Representations.” In Bodily Fluids in Antiquity, edited by Laurence Totelin, Victoria Leonard, and Mark Bradley, 57–74. London and New York: Routledge.




How to Cite

Eidinow, E., & Salvo, I. (2024). Magic and Cognition: A Brief Introduction. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 8(1-2), 8-12.