The concepts of miasma and purification are troubling especially when relate to magic and ghosts. Miasma, evidently, is a substance of iniquity, or matter of wrong doing which in fact explains the need of purification from magic. It is also evident that miasma is also been considered the dead matter including spirits of the dead or the dying or dead matter. There is, as a result, a needed separation in between the conditions of life and death, which are in fact part of dissimilar realms. If these realms meet under circumstance that can be addressed only as magical interference seems that in numerous occasions are harmful for its other. The generation of miasma is the result of such encounters as in effect are generated by malevolence actions such as magic. I do wish, therefore, to underline that the contact with magic and ghosts was an important issue for the civil religion. It is obvious that matters which Theophrastus called superstition was in fact an everyday concern for a great number of Greeks.
As a result there are a number of known lex carthatica (a very much rare term used for lex sacra that are mainly focus on purification rites and rituals) that deal with purification of haunted places and magic in general. I choose to use as a good example the Cyrene’s inscription of the late 4th c. BC. It is referred by Parker, Miasma, pp. 332-350, Burkert, The Orientalizing Revolution, pp. 68-74, and commented by Rhodes and Osborne, Greek Historical Inscriptions (GHI) pp. 496-505 and the newly published Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities; The Sacred Laws of Selinus and Cyrene, pp. 259-371 where the author offers an extensive analysis.
I do not wish to get into a great length discussing the inscription per se, however, I have to mention briefly a number of important facts; it has been discovered in two pieces in the Small Baths at Cyrene, first published by Ferri, 'La ‘lex cathartica’ di Cirene,' Notiziario Archeologico 4 pp. 91-145, it is attested that the inscription was initially situated in the sanctuary of Apollo which was shared with Artemis. The inscription, therefore, regulates certain purifications and public sacrifices required for Apollo’s oracle on the sanctuary’s boundaries. It also includes laws for worship outside the sanctuary that of Akamantes and Tritopateres as well as several notes of how a suppliant can be kept pure and the purification of a haunted house. Although, I consider a methodological mistake not to include an overall account of the inscription, which essentially will provide a background of its purpose and function, I am unable to compete with the excellent work of Rhodes and Osborne as well as the newly published magnificent commentary by Robertson. The sole purpose is to identify the first of the three purification rites in lines 110-121.
The rules included within the lex carthatica are effectively three suppliant’s purifications (the usual combination of the terms suppliant and purification is an interest issue to be discussed and is underlined in Robertson) and they are exceptionally different. The first purification is for a haunted house and more precisely haunted by ghosts that have been conjured by an occupant’s enemy. The purification reads as follows:
ἰκέσιος, ἐπακτός. αἴ κα ἐπιπεμφθῆι ἐπὶ τὰν
οἰκιαν, αἰ μέγ κα ἰσᾶι ἀφ' ὅτινός οἱ ἐπῆνθε, ὀ-
νυμαξεῖ αὐτόν προειπὼν τρὶς ἀμέρας. αἰ δ[ὲ]
κα τεθνάκηι ἔγγαιος ἢ ἄλλη πη ἀπολώλη[ι],
αἰ μέγ κα ἰσᾶι τὸ ὄνυμα, ὀνυμαστὶ προερεῖ. αἰ 115
δέ κα μὴ ἰσᾶι, ὦ ἄνθρωπε, αἴτε ἀνὴρ αἴτε γυνὰ
ἐσσί. κολοσὸς ποιήσαντα ἔρσενα καὶ θήλει[ν]
ἢ καλίνος ἢ γαΐνος, ὑποδεξάμενον παρτιθ̣[έ]-
μεν τὸ μέρος πάντων. ἐπεὶ δέ κα ποιῆσες τὰ
νομιζόμενα, φέροντα ἐς ὕλαν ἀεργὸν ἐρε- 120
[ῖ]σαι τὰς κολοσὸς καὶ τὰ μέρη.
The adjective ἐπακτός clearly states that the suppliant (ἰκέσιος) has been attacked by magic in his household (ἐπὶ τὰν οἰκιαν), therefore clarifies the certain reason that the purification is needed. If the occupant knows the responsible individual for such an action, he shall name him (publicly) for three days. In the occasion that the responsible individual has died τεθνάκηι ἔγγαιος ἢ ἄλλη πη ἀπολώληι, (in land or somewhere else), and his name is known that should also been named for three days. In the case that the name is unknown the suppliant should say “ὦ ἄνθρωπε, αἴτε ἀνὴρ αἴτε γυνὰ ἐσσί” (Oh you human, whether you are a man or a woman). Thus the ritual begins with the calling of the injurer and the spirits involved. The suppliant then has to create figurines, a male and a female, from wood or from clay, and give them ὑποδεξάμενον παρτιθ̣έμεν τὸ μέρος πάντων, a full hospitality that will include an offering of everything available within the household’s walls. This part of the ritual although it sounds peculiar is not unique. We have to remember that the Athenians gave their respects to Hekate every first of the month by offering meals in crossroads, with the hope to purify their city of malevolent spirits and magic. Hekate conjures against magic as Theophrastus’ superstitious man confirmed (Characters 16). After the performed customary rites the figurines and the portions of the meals should then be carried and deposited by the suppliant to a lying fallow wood.
Rhodes and Osborne suggest -and Robertson aggress- that this specific purification rite is similar with the rite available in Selinus’ lex sacra -the purification rite from elasteroi. Additionally they argued that most possible the figurines were treated with full meals and offerings similarly as the Theoxenia rite.