- UW Libraries
2017 Undergraduate Research Day Award Winner
Category: Award for Excellence in the Liberal Arts
The Roman civilization was incredibly dynamic as it grew and accepted new citizens over the years of its rule. Through the diversity of the culture Romans integrated superstition, and magic use into their society. Roman society put value on the ability to produce viable offspring, and be a competent sexual partner in marriage. Through the stress of this value, Romans who fell short sexually turned to magical practices to help heal them. This idea was so prominent in the society that Gaius Petronius wrote Satyricon a novel about a man and his journey of magical sexual healing. The goal of this project is to investigate the different magical practices that the Romans utilized to cure them of sexual dysfunction. Primary texts in translation from the Roman Empire were used as well as secondary scholarly articles to gain a better understanding of the practices used by the Romans. Magical use through spells and potions were examined, as well as the social aspects of magical use to increase sexual performance.