It’s interesting to see how mating rituals have developed throughout time. These days, courtship is a mixture of being straightforward about one’s feelings, while also playing hard to get. But in antiquity, falling in love was so much easier– all you had to do was poison your crush with love potions, or conduct other types of magic, whether through amulets, charms, or love songs.
Kerill O’Neill’s lecture, Human/Nature in Antiquity, focused on human dominion over nature and over sexuality. He illustrates how the Greeks, Romans, and other ancient civilizations utilized magic to demonstrate power over nature. From this discussion, I kept thinking about the ways in which love takes control, influencing your actions, moods, and thoughts. When in love, we do anything we can to be noticed, admired, and adored by the subject of our interest, especially if those feelings are unrequited. O’Neill’s lecture demonstrated the history of manipulating the natural course of human connection — in this case, love– through the use of magic. This relationship to human nature, the manipulation of nature, and trying to change the course of nature is an interesting way to think about how humans desire control of the natural world and human nature.