The concept of superstition doesn’t seem to have changed too much, just the nature of specific superstitious beliefs. We all have certain beliefs or have heard of some being performed in order to have a particular sex for a child or to ward off evil energy surrounding a union. The ancient Greeks also had their own superstitions, too many to mention them all. The following are a selection of some of the more common superstitions.
          Menstruating women were feared, it was thought that they could taint the objects around them. It was said that a menstruating woman could make plants wither and pregnant mares miscarry. Menstruating women could tarnish mirrors by looking into them, dull razors, turn linens in the wash black and rust bronze. The most potent women were those menstruating for the first time or the first time after losing their virginity, these women were thought to have the power to break magical charms.
          To induce impotence, one had to introduce mouse dung or the plant called byra mixed with the urine of an ox to a man’s diet. There are also multiple remedies for the inability for couples to conceive children or to promote a healthy pregnancy. Popular remedies for a variety of ailments include urine, feces and a mother’s milk. These bodily by-products were thought to have healing qualities. If a married couple wanted a baby boy, the mother would have to eat the testicles or womb of a hare or the testicles of a cock.
         The ‘evil eye’ that is known in today’s culture was also present in ancient times. Many ways to avoid the gaze of the evil eye were created. The most popular superstitious method to avoid the negative repercussions of the evil eye is the public displaying of a phallus symbol. It was thought that the evil eye would avert its gaze out of embarrassment at the sight of the phallus. People erected statues, wore jewelry and creatively displayed the phallus symbol. The reason that male genitalia were thought to ward off the evil eye and not female genitalia was that males were thought to be the more powerful sex; therefore, female genitalia were not powerful enough to ward off the evil eye.


*Origin ally posted on December 29, 2011*