- "Necromancer" redirects here. For the 1962 novel by Gordon R. Dickson, see Necromancer (novel).
Necromancy or nigromancy is a form of magic involving communication with the deceased—either by summoning their spirit as an apparition or raising them bodily—for the purpose of divination, imparting the means to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge, or to use the deceased as a weapon, as the term may sometimes be used in a more general sense to refer to black magic or witchcraft. The word "necromancy" is adapted from Late Latin necromantia, itself borrowed from post-Classical Greek νεκρομαντεία (nekromanteía), a compound of Ancient Greek νεκρός (nekrós), "dead body", and μαντεία (manteía), "prophecy or divination"; this compound form was first used by Origen of Alexandria in the 3rd century CE. The Classical Greek term was ἡ νέκυια (nekyia), from the episode of the Odyssey in which Odysseus visits the realm of the dead and νεκρομαντεία in Hellenistic Greek, rendered as necromantīa in Latin, and as necromancy in 17th-century English.
Quotes about Necromancy
- Stranger: What about the necromancer? Memory wipes don't work on his kind.
- Phantom Limb: True, but they take to hypnotic suggestion like cancer to a prostate.
- First came up the ghost of my comrade Elpenor, for he had not yet been buried under the earth of broad roads. We had left him unwept and unburied in Circe’s palace, since other concerns were pressing upon us. I wept on seeing him and felt pity in my heart. I gave voice and spoke to him: “Elpenor, how did you come under the dark of the west? You beat me on foot, while I came with my black ship.”
- “O Rivers, Earth and you who punish whoever of the dead is forsworn, be wit nesses and accomplish this spell for us. I have come to inquire how I may come to the land of Telemachus, whom I left on the bosom of his nurse, my child.” Such was his outstanding spell.
- Julius Africanus Kestoi 18 (PGM XXIII)
- She lifted her veil slowly. What a sight presented itself to my startled eyes! I beheld before me an animated corpse.
- The Monk by Matthew Lewis (1796)
- Take you up when you feeling down
When you're sick he will come around
Takes his cures from out the ground
He's the one who can hypnotize
And you'll never believe your eyes
He can cause the dead to rise.
- Oh glory of Haemonia, that hast the power to divulge the fates of men, or canst turn aside fate itself from its prescribed course, I pray thee to exercise thy gift in disclosing events to come. Not the meanest of the Roman race am I, the offspring of an illustrious chieftain, lord of the world in the one case, or in the other, the destined heir to my father's calamity. I stand on a tremendous and giffy height; snatch me from this posture of doubt; let me not blindly rush on, and blindly fall; exort this secret from the gods, or force the dead to confess what they know.
- Ye Furies, and dreadful Styx, ye sufferings of the damned, and Chaos for ever eager to destroy the fair harmony of words, and thou, Pluto, condemned to an eternity of ungrateful existence, Hell and Elysium, of which no Thessalian witch shall partake, Prosperine, for ever cut off from thy health-giving mother, and horrid Hecate, Cerberus, cursed with incessant hunger, ye Destinies, and Charon, endlessly murmuring at the task I impose of bringing back the dead again to the land of the living, hear me! -if I call on you with a voice sufficiently impious and abominable, if I have never sung this chant unsated with human gore, if I have frequently laid on your altars the fruit of the pregnant mother, bathing its contents with the reeking brain if I have placed on a dish before you the head and entrails of an infant on the point to be born-
I ask not of you a ghost, already a tenant of the Tartarian abodes, and long familiarized to the shades below, but one who has recently quitted the light of day, and who yet hovers over the mouth of hell: let him hear these incantations, and immediately after descent to his destined place! Let him articulate suitable omens to the son of his general, having so late been himself a soldier of the great Pompey! Do this, as you love the very sound and rumour of a civil war!
- Erichtho, Pharsalia as quoted by William Godwin in Lives of the Necromancers pg. 112-113
- He asked the boy who he was. He replied “I am the demon of your son.” And thus he offered him a small written tablet. He unrolled it and saw these three lines written on it:
Indeed the minds of men wander in folly. Euthynous lies in his destined death. It was not good for him himself to live, nor was it good for his parents.
- Plutarch, Moralia 109b–d