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A Greek Magical Gemstone from the Black Sea

Amulet or Miniature Handbook?*
Christopher A. Faraone
p. 91-114

Résumés

Une gemme en agate peu étudiée provenant d’Anapa, datée de la période impériale, présente un grand intérêt, dans la mesure où elle diffère de la plupart des gemmes magiques par sa forme sphérique, sa grande taille et son contenu : elle commence par une référence aux rituels traditionnels grecs d’expulsion et se termine par une liste des parties de la tête humaine semblable à celle que l’on trouve dans un manuel médical hippocratique. La gemme ne serait pas une amulette, comme les éditeurs précédents l’ont supposé, mais plutôt un manuel miniature contenant des instructions pour la fabrication d’amulettes.

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Texte intégral

  • *  I presented different versions of this paper at the Ancient History Seminar of the Institute for A (...)
  • 1  Inv. 835. The photographs in Figures 1 and 2 are from Blavatskaja (1958), p. 231. For brief discus (...)
  • 2 Gorgippia was founded in the 6th century BCE as a Greek emporium, grew to a prosperous city by the (...)

1Nearly thirty years ago Oleg Neverov republished an agate gemstone from the Historical Museum of Anapa,1 a Russian city that lies on the north coast of the Black Sea, about fifty miles east of the entrance to the Sea of Azov. The gem dates to the Roman imperial period and was presumably found among the nearby ruins of ancient Gorgippia, a Greek city that flourished for more than half a millennium between the third century BCE and the third century CE.2 The gem is of great interest, as it differs from most magical gems in its spherical shape (see Fig. 1-2), its large size (3.5 cm in diameter) and its contents: it begins with a reference to traditional Greek expulsion rituals and ends with a list of the parts of the human head similar to that found in a Hippocratic medical handbook.

2Because the text on the gem includes a prayer for healing and health, there is a good possibility that the gem was designed as an amulet, but I shall argue below that it was most probably used by a professional magician as a miniature handbook and a model for making a variety of amulets for healing the diseases of the head.

The Text

  • 3  I give the text of Blavatskaja and Neverov, who disagree only at the points noted in the apparatus (...)

3Despite the unusual spherical shape of the stone, which is inscribed at every point on its surface, the inscriptions can be divided sensibly into two coherent groups, each twelve lines long:3

Obverse:

πρὸς φαρμάκων ἀποπομπάς

φραμφερεινλελαμε

Δαμναμενεύς

αμναμενεύς

5

μναμενεύς

ναμενεύς

αμενεύς

μενεύς

ενεύς

10

νεύς

εύς

ύς

  • 4  Blavatskaja (1958) prints ὑγειῆ followed (after a space) by a symbol that looks like an enlarged g (...)
  • 5  If we assume that in this line the engraver mistakenly carved a Roman A instead of an alpha (see a (...)
  • 6  This group of Greek letters bunched at the end of line 18 probably constitute a magical nonsense n (...)
  • 7  According to Blavatskaja (1958) the last three letters of this line (αια) are placed between lines (...)
  • 8  This symbol is an oversized Roman A.

Reverse:`

κύριε δέομαί σου πο<ί>η{ι}σο[ν]

τὴμ μάθην ἀκὴν ὑγείηγ4

15

περὶ τῆς κορυφῆς. ἐνκεφάλ[ου]

ὤτων

μήνινγος

σταφύλη[ς]

τραχήλου

[5 magicalsymbols]

[6 magical symbols]

[4 magical symbols]5

[3 magical symbols] πρμηρυμα6

λαχμαληλ

20

μετώπου

μυκτῆρος

πολύπου

ὀδόντων

στόματος

λαροιμαια7

κηρεα

σαηηι

[magicalsymbol]8

2 φραμγερειν Blavatskaja  3 τοῦ κορυφησεν κεφαλ[αίου] Blavatskaja et Neverov  14 ὑγειῆ Blavatskaja  21 λαχμλαλαηλ Blavatskaja  22 πολύπον Nemerov

Obverse:

For the sendings-away of φάρμακα:

phramphereinlelame

Damnameneus

amnameneus

5

mnameneus

nameneus

ameneus

meneus

eneus

10

neus

eus

us

  • 9  Roy Kotansky suggests to me privately that given the syntax here (ποίησον rather than δός), we sho (...)
  • 10  If we assume that in this line the engraver mistakenly carved a Roman A instead of an alpha (see a (...)
  • 11  This symbol is an oversized Roman A.

Reverse:

Lord, I beg of you, grant

the knowledge, healing, health,9

15

concerning the head. For the brain

For the ears

For the eardrum

For the uvula

For the throat

[5 magicalsymbols]

[6 magical symbols]

[4 magical symbols]10

[3 magical symbols] Prmêruma

Lachmalêl

20

For the forehead

For the nostril

For the polyp

For the teeth

For the mouth

Laroimaia

Kêrea

Saêêi

[magicalsymbol]11

The rubric and the solar name

  • 12 Jordan (2002), p. 6, for example, discusses another Russian gem, which also begins with instruction (...)
  • 13  See, e.g., GMA 36.15-16 and 52.12, with Kotansky’s comments ad locc, for amulets against poison; t (...)
  • 14 PGM XXXVI, p. 256-264.
  • 15  For recent bibliography on the latter, see Faraone (2004a). For the former, see Parker (1983), p.  (...)

4The first line of the Obverse, which I translate somewhat awkwardly above as “For the sendings-away of φάρμακα,” seems to be a rubric copied from a magical handbook, a feature that is common enough on gemstones, amulets and other kinds of applied magic.12 There is, however, no exact parallel in extant magical texts for such a rubric. The word φάρμακον is ambiguous. In magical texts of this period it can refer to both a “poison” and a “(hostile) incantation.” And we do, in fact, have evidence that the Greeks used amulets to protect themselves against both.13 The closest parallel comes from a fourth-century CE magical handbook: “For the loosening of spells (πρὸς λύσιν φαρμάκων),” an idea that we also find at the start of a short incantation to be inscribed on a three-cornered ostracon: “Asstraelos Chrae­los, loosen every spell (πᾶν φάρμακον) against me, so-and-so, …”14 The verb “to loosen” (λύειν) in this text and the cognate noun “loosening” (λύσις) in the previous one both seem to imagine the undoing of some kind of binding spell or curse. The real oddity, then, is the use of ἀποπομπή, a noun derived from the verb ἀποπέμπειν, “to send away,” which usually refers to purification rituals during which polluted materials (often called φάρμακα) are carried away, or to scapegoat rituals, during which polluted animals or people (often called φαρμακοί) are driven out of a town or household.15

  • 16 DT 15. The curse is fragmentary, but since the stipulation is repeated twice in lines 3-7, the text (...)
  • 17  The use of the imperatives λύσατε and ἀπολύσατε strengthens this impression, since (as we saw earl (...)
  • 18  See Faraone (2004b) for numerous examples of the verb ἀποτρέπειν on amulets.
  • 19  Pollux, Onomasticon V, 131. A magical recipe in a late-antique papyrus handbook uses the verb ἀποπ (...)

5We find, in fact, references in some magical texts to the defensive use of such rituals against the curses or malicious magic of others. The most explicit is a stipulation in a long curse from Apamea in Syria, which attempts to bind a charioteer named Hyperechius: “… if anyone made rites of expulsion or rites of aversion on his behalf (ἀποπομπὰς ἠδὲ ἀποτροπὰς ἐποίησεν ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ), loosen, loosen completely all aid (λύσατε, ἀπολύσατε πᾶσαν βοήθιαν) made on behalf of Hyperechius, son of Remmachus, of the Blue team.”16 Since this stipulation is designed to undo any possible help (βοήθια) that the intended victim Hyperechius may have used to protect himself against curses, it seems best to understand ἀποπομπὰς ἠδὲ ἀποτροπάς as repeated rituals of escort and aversion (note the plural here, as in the Anapa gem) aimed at shielding him from precisely the kind of malevolent magic that is illustrated by this lead tablet itself, which is a curse that aims at preventing Hyperechius from winning a chariot race.17 The fact that the author of this curse uses the plural nouns ἀποπομπαί and ἀποτροπαί in tandem further strengthens the case, since the latter (“rites of aversion”) are always protective or defensive in nature.18 We find a similar pairing in the late Greek lexicographer Pollux, who tells us that the δαίμονες who loosen curses (οἱ λύοντες τὰς ἀράς) are called ἀλεξίκακοι, ἀποπομπαῖοι and ἀποτρόπαιοι.19 Thus, it would seem that the rubric πρὸς φαρμάκων ἀποπομπάς at the start of the Russian gemstone is best paraphrased as “For the sake of sending away (dangerous or hostile) spells.”

  • 20  Ann Hanson suggests privately that these words could be rendered “I have been committed to carry/b (...)
  • 21  For all of these voces magicae, see Brashear (1995), p. 3601. The word φρα is admittedly less comm (...)
  • 22  See GMA 57.3, with Kotansky’s comments. Although I can find no precise parallel for λελαμε, the ra (...)

6The long word in the second line on the gemstone (φραμφερεινλελαμε) is probably not Greek, although at first glance the last two-thirds of it seem vaguely intelligible as a Greek phrase, e.g. φέρεινλέλα<μ>μαι.20 The first four letters of the line, φραμ or φραν, are surely not Greek, but are close in form to the common way for Greeks to represent the name of the Egyptian sun-god, alone as Re (Φρε or Φρη), as well as in compound names like Re-Thoth (Φρη-θωουθ) or Re the Great (Φρεω). And if we take φραμφερειν together as a compound name, it resembles, at least in the sequence of its consonants, φραινφιρι, a vox magica inscribed on an Argive magical relief, which also seems to be a compound derived from Φρε.21 The remainder of line 2 (λελαμε) is probably a magical word and may well be a variant of the word λαιλαμ, popular on Greek amulets and thought to be a transliteration of a Hebrew word that means “forever.”22 It would seem, therefore, that all of line 2 is a vox magica that in some way or other invokes or acclaims an immortal solar being.

The Damnameneus triangle

  • 23  Naveh, Shaked (1993), p. 192 (text), 199 (English translation quoted here) with Plate 18 (= no. 18 (...)

7The rest of the obverse of this gem is filled with a curious triangular formation formed by the name Damnameneus. The triangle is produced by writing out the name in full in the first line and then writing it again on the line beneath, but leaving off the initial letter. The process is repeated line-by-line until all of the letters are gone. There is one other example of the name Damnameneus in a wing-formation on a headache amulet. It appears in truncated form in a magical recipe for an amulet (in an early medieval Aramaic handbook from the Cairo Genizah) that, like the Russian gem, heals the head:23

[3 magical symbols]

You holy symbols

and holy charactêres

by the mercy of the Father of Mercy

heal the head of such-and-such

amnameneus

mnameneus

nameneus

ameneus

meneus

eneus

neus

eus

us

s

  • 24  Faraone (forthcoming 1) Chapter 1, note 15 and note 46 below. It is clear, moreover, that the layo (...)

8Here, although the first iteration of the disappearing name has been lost, I agree with the editors that the word should have been Damnameneus, and indeed we do find other examples in the Greek corpus of disappearing names missing their first iteration.24

  • 25  Faraone (forthcoming 1).
  • 26  See e.g. Heim (1892) ad no. 97 and Dornseiff (1925), p. 58-59 and 63-67. For full bibliographic su (...)

9In Roman times such triangular formations seem to serve two diametrically opposed purposes.25 If they are decipherable names and appear alone on curative amulets, they are usually thought to work according to the process of deletio morbi: as the name of the disease or demon disappears, the disease vanishes as well.26 Similar triangular shapes on curses and erotic magical spells, on the other hand, seem to work according to a radically different principle: they are usually incomprehensible or non-Greek names and they seem to work as especially powerful instantiations of names which invoke or represent the owners of the names rather than inhibit or drive them away. On the Anapa gem and in the Aramaic amulet-recipe the focus is clearly curative. Damnameneus, moreover, is (as we shall see) a comprehensible Greek name with a very old mythological pedigree, so one would expect that on the Anapa and Aramaic amulets he is a hostile figure who causes diseases of the head and that his name and power are thus erased simultaneously.

  • 27 FGrH 3 F 47 (Jacoby). The term γόητες is a general word for magician or sorcerer, but here, since t (...)
  • 28  Bernabé (2003), frag. 2.3.

10But who is Damnameneus and why is he associated on both the Aramaic and Anapa amulets with diseases of the head? The fifth-century BCE writer Pherecydes identifies Damnameneus as one of the Idaean Dactyls (literally “Fingers”), a group which he divides into two “hands,” those on the left, who were male and cast magic spells (γόητες), and those on the right, who were female and loosened magical spells (ἀναλύοντες). This scheme, of course, places the male Damnameneus among the sinister casters of spells, presumably those of a hostile nature.27 The female group who loosen spells may, on the other hand, perform a protective function like Photius’ δαίμονες, who “loosen curses” and are called, among other names, ἀποπομπαῖοι, “those who send away (i.e. curses).” Similarly dangerous and chthonian connections reappear in our scanty evidence for Damnameneus in archaic epic poetry: in a fragment from the 7th or 6th century BCE Phoronis (a poem of unknown authorship)28 we hear that “great Damnameneus” was a wizard (γόης), a co-discoverer of iron and a servant of Adrasteia, a goddess whose name means “Inescapable” and who was herself assimilated in the classical period to Nemesis and then in the Roman-period to Ananke and Fate. Thus it would seem that a ritual ἀποπομπή could well be an antidote for Damnameneus and the other male Dactyls of the left hand as early as the classical period.

  • 29  For the most recent treatment with a full citation of all Greek texts, see Bernabé (2003).
  • 30  See the ongoing work of Jordan (1988), (1992) and (2000).

11The word Damnameneus was also included as one of the six Ephesia grammata, powerful magical words that were used throughout the Roman Empire in oral incantations and on inscribed amulets to protect people and places: ἄσκιον κατάσκιον λίξ τετράξ δαμναμενεύς αἴσια.29 Recently we have learned that some of the Ephesia grammata are corruptions of what were originally comprehensible Greek words on lead amulets from late-classical Crete, Sicily and Magna Graecia.30 The first two words ἄσκιον κατάσκιον, for example, now appear to be a corruption of ἔσκε κατὰ σκιερῶν, the first three words of a grim hexametrical narrative about Demeter and her daughter:

  • 31 Line 7 of the fourth-century BCE tablet from Phalasarna, Crete, and line 8 of the fourth-century BC (...)
  • 32  See Judge (1987) for the similar use of incipits of psalms and gospels in magical texts as a promp (...)
  • 33  A third-century BCE Athenian binding spell (DTA 88).

12Two of these amulets preserve an additional hexameter of great interest: Δαμναμενεῦ· δάμασον δὲ κακῶς ἀέκοντας ἀνάγκα[ις] (“… O Damnameneus [= Subduer], brutally subdue the unwilling ones with constraints!”).31 Here, too, the name Damnameneus (one of the Ephesia grammata) appears at the start of a verse, suggesting perhaps that the famous grammata may have originally served as incipits designed to help sorcerers recall the first verse of each section.32 If, as seems probable, this verse belongs to the same narrative as the one about Demeter and Persephone in a dark land, it seems likely that here, too, Damnameneus is a character connected with curses or other forms of chthonic constraint. Indeed, the figura etymologica (“O Subduer … subdue!”) recalls a similar appeal to another traditionally compulsive force of the underworld, who sometimes appears on curse tablets: “O Hermes Restrainer, restrain the wits, the tongue of Kallias” (Ἑρμῆ κάτοχε, κάτεχε φρένας, γλῶτταν τοῦ Καλλίου).33 Such a role fits well, of course, with Damnameneus’ membership as one of the sinister Dactyls: a γόης who casts harmful spells.

  • 34 Stromata, 5, 8, 45. For discussion of the solar Damnameneus, see Bonner (1950), p. 201 and Blakely (...)
  • 35  His name shows up, for example, as the name of the sun in the fourth hour, when it takes the form (...)
  • 36 PGM IV 2775-2790.
  • 37 PGM III 80 and 101.
  • 38  His name appears, for example, in the nominative on the reverse of a gem of yellow jasper that has (...)

13The ancients plausibly derived his name from the Greek verb “to subdue” (δάμνειν), and Clement of Alexandria claimed, on the testimony of an obscure Pythagorean named Androkydes, that the name means “the conquering sun” (ὁ ἥλιος ὁ δαμάζων).34 Some of the appearances of Damnameneus in the magical papyri clearly support Clement’s solar explanation,35 but Bonner was correct to stress as well Damnameneus’ underworld connections in Roman-era curses and hostile erotic-compulsion spells, for example, at the end of a long erotic spell addressed to Hekate-Ereschigal, where we find an invocation of Ζεῦ δη Δαμναμενεῦ,36 or in an elaborate curse against charioteers, where Damnameneus appears in a string of names that begins with Helios-Mithras and ends with Zeus Chthonius (Hades): μέγιστε Μίθρα ναμαζαρ αναμαρια Δαμναμενεῦ Ζεῦ Χθώνιε.37 Damnameneus has the same ambiguous status on magical gemstones.38

  • 39  Faraone (2004c).
  • 40  Hekate-Selene in her role as Damnamenê is a lunar goddess with powers to control the cosmos, but s (...)

14All this suggests, then, that Damnameneus began his long career in Greek magical spells as an underworld punisher, who “subdues” the unwilling dead and presumably – given his role in curses – the living as well. Not surprisingly, he often appears together with Adrasteia, Ananke and the Fates. At some point in the Roman period, however, he probably takes on new solar powers and his name is understood to mean “the subduing sun.” The evolution of Damnameneus from underworld subduer to solar deity could occur only in the Roman period, after Helios has been equated with or assimilated to the sun gods of Mesopotamia (Shamash) and Egypt (Re), who made nightly trips through the underworld and thus were themselves important underworld powers, who could for example be called upon to send up a corpse for necromantic ses­sions.39 A related feminine form of the name, Δαμνομένη, designates Hekate-Selene, who seems to have a similarly diverse range of chthonic and cosmic associations in magical texts.40

Expulsive rituals

  • 41 GMA 52, lines 12-13.
  • 42  Maltomini (2008) Appendix no. 10 dates the text itself “not before 6th CE,” but the rubrics in the (...)

15Let us return, then, to a problem raised earlier: why does the author of the Anapa gem refer to his charm or recipe with the rubric “For the sendings-away of (hostile) charms” instead of the more common “For the loosening of (hostile) charms”? How will this heal the head of the sufferer? And how can the Damnameneus triangle accomplish either? There seems, in fact, to be slippage here between the head-diseases to be cured, the magical actions (the hostile spells that must be escorted away) and the agent of these spells (the demonic γόητες who must likewise be sent away). We see the same slippage in a long silver amulet from Beirut (4th CE), where an exorcism begins with a plea to protect the owner of the amulet “from all spells (φάρμακα) and binding curses (καταδέσματα),” but ends with the command that “all you male demons (ἀρσενικά) and all you frightening binding spells (καταδέσματα) flee from Alexandra, whom Zoe bore (89-92) … so you do not bewitch (φαρμακοῦν) her (96-97).”41 Here the use of the verb “to flee” (φεύγειν) is appropriate to a demon, who is anthropomorphically or theriomorphically imagined, but not to the καταδέσματα. Note, too, that it is the male demons, like those Dactyls of the “left hand,” who are told to flee along with the hostile spells. A similar kind of confusion or ambiguity is revealed in the rubrics of an amulet used to protect a grove of trees in Sicily: it refers to itself as a “loosener and pursuer against every sorcery” (lines 15-18: ἀναλυτικὸν καὶ ἀποδιωκτικὸν πρὸς πᾶσαν φαρμακίαν) and on the reverse “a phylacterion against all sorcery (πρὸς πᾶσαν φαρμακίαν).”42 This is an amulet that both unties curses (ἀναλύειν), but also chases them away (ἀποδιώκειν)! Here, too, the first verb is appropriate for curses, but the second only for the agents of the curse.

  • 43  Lead amulet from Phalasarna, Crete: φεῦ[γ᾿], ἅμα φεῦγε, λύκαινα, φεῦγε, κύων ἅμα σύ, …. μαινόμενοι (...)
  • 44  Aristotle, fr. 496 (Rose): “Aristotle relates how when a plague gripped (Boeotia) and many crows c (...)
  • 45  Pliny, Naturalis historia XXVII, 75, 100; for the best text, see Edmonds (1959), p. 542-544 no. 38 (...)
  • 46 Heim, no. 59 and 60. I give the traditional translation here, but as Prentice (1906), p. 139 notes, (...)

16The language of flight and pursuit is, in fact, quite common on Greek amulets and from quite early on. A fourth-century BCE lead amulet from Crete, for example, commands: “Flee at once, flee, she-wolf, flee, dog, at once … Raving let them run, each to his own home.” The Augustan-era “Philinna Papyrus” assimilates “pain of the head” to wolf- and horse-demons and bids them to flee as well: “Flee pain of the head! [Lion] flees under a rock and wolves flee and single-hooved horses flee propelled by the blows of my perfect charm!”43 Both charms, moreover, command the theriomorphic demon to go back “each to his own home” or “under a rock,” that is, to the wild and uninhabited places where demons should be living. I have argued elsewhere that these formulae were originally orally performed and accompanied by some expulsive ritual or gesture, as we can see in a fragment of Aristotle, who describes a scapegoat ritual in which the plague is commanded to flee to some crows as they themselves are flying away.44 In the Roman period we find a pursuer added to the flee-formula as an additional threat. The earliest is in a cure for impetigo preserved in transliterated Greek by Pliny, in which the disease is (in this case) assimilated to beetles and told: “Flee (φεύγετε) beetles, a fierce wolf pursues (διώκει) you!”45 In two cases the flee-formula is accompanied by an image. On a gemstone depicting Perseus holding the head of Medusa, for example, one reads: “Flee gout, Perseus (διώκει) pursues you!,” and on another with Herakles strangling the Nemean Lion we find: “Withdraw (ἀναχώρει) bile, the divinity(?) pursues (διώκει) you!”46 In all of these cases, then, the addressee of the command is either the disease itself (“gout” or “bile”) or an animal or theriomorphic demon that is assimilated to the illness, for example, the beetles in Pliny’s charm or the wild animals in the Philinna papyrus.

17A similar scenario of pursuit and flight is implicit in a silver amulet for migraine:

  • 48  The two other versions quoted in full by Kotansky end as follows: “Go off to Mt. Ararat … flee (φε (...)

18As in the case of the Anapa gemstone, this text begins with a rubric. In the dramatic scene that follows the goddess confronts Antaura, a demon whose name means something like “contrary breeze.” The rest of the text is a short dialogue in which Artemis questions the demon and then commands her not to enter the head of the owner of the amulet. The silver tablet breaks off here, but a series of Greek recipes of Byzantine date preserve full versions of the same dialogue, in which Jesus assumes Artemis’ role; all these later Christian versions end with him ordering the demon to leave, e.g.: “Look here! Do not go into my servant, but flee (φεύγετε) and be off (ὑπάγετε) to the wild mountain!”48

  • 49  What follows is an abridged and simplified version of Faraone (2009), p. 159-165.

19In all of these “flee-formulas” the incantation itself either commands the demon to flee or quotes an authority figure (Artemis of Ephesus/Christ) in the act of doing so. The Anapa gem calls itself an ἀποπομπή, but does not, in fact, enact such a ritual in an easily recognizable manner. There are, for example, no commands to Damnameneus to flee. As it turns out, we find the same equation of disappearing name and fleeing demon in a recipe for an ivy-leaf amulet designed to cure the pain of a sore-throat.49 It appears in Chapter 18 of the Testament of Solomon, a text in which protective and curative recipes are presented as confessions that the legendary King Solomon elicits from a variety of disease-causing demons. At 18.37 the text quotes the confession of the demon responsible for sore throat and his words survive in two different versions:

  • 50  I follow the brilliant reconstruction and discussion of Daniel (1983), who uses as his guide frag. (...)

20Papyrus Version:50

  • 51  For this text, see McCown (1922). The word ἀναχωρίςis in half-brackets because it only appears in (...)

21Manuscript Version:51

  • 52  Another manuscript (N) has a version that is missing the first two iterations: κουργος, ουργος, υρ (...)

22After the adverb βοτρυδόν (‘in grape cluster shape’) one of the manuscripts (P) adds an illustrative explanation:52

λυκουργος

υκουργος

κουργος

ουργος

υργος

ργος

γος

ος

ς

23In both versions of this recipe, then, the act of inscribing the disappearing name (“If you write ….”) results in the flight of the demon, using the same vocabulary that we saw in the other expulsion rituals: “… then I flee (φεύγω)” and “immediately I withdraw (εὐθὺς ἀναχωρῶ).” The disappearing names, then, on both the Anapa gem and in the Testament recipe are designed to force two demons to flee and both of them have names known from earlier Greek sources.

24There seems, moreover, to be a consistent connection between illnesses of the head, demons and expulsion rites. The Augustan-era charm in the “Philinna Papyrus,” as we saw, is filed under the rubric “for headache” (πρὸς κεφαλαργίαν) and it begins with an imperative – “Flee, pain of the head!” – and then quickly assimilates this headache to wolf- and horse-demons, who flee under the blows of the speaker’s incantation. The Antaura amulet, inscribed about a century later, has the rubric “for migraine” and likewise imagines a cure that is quite like an expulsive ritual: the demon who is about to enter the head of the patient is forced to flee instead to the head of a bull grazing far away on a mountain. The demoness Antaura is, moreover, assimilated to animals, when she is described as shouting “like a hind” and crying “like a cow.” Damnameneus and Lycurgus, on the other hand, seem to be imagined anthropomorphically: both have a former life in Greek myth, where they performed hostile acts, and in the Roman period both are thought to be the cause of specific human pathologies, the former for the head and the latter for the throat. Both, moreover, are escorted away or otherwise forced to flee by making their name vanish.

The reverse side of the gem

25The reverse side of the gemstone begins with three lines of deferential prayer: “Lord I beg of you: grant knowledge, healing and health concerning the head.” The second half of line 3 and then the remaining nine lines divide down the middle, with a different part of the head named in the genitive case on the left side and then magical symbols or magical names on the right (in the final line the word στόματος apparently lacks its corresponding symbols or word):

15

ἐνκεφάλ[ου]

ὤτων

μήνινγος

σταφύλη[ς]

τραχήλου

[5 magical symbols]

[6 magical symbols]

[4 magical symbols]

[3 magical symbols] πρμηρυμα

λαχμαληλ

20

μετώπου

μυκτῆρος

πολύπου

ὀδόντων

στόματος

λαροιμαια

κηρεα

σαηηι

[magicalsymbol]

26This part of the inscription seems to be some sort of key or code-book, that tells us which magical name or symbol we must use to cure a pain or problem in the corresponding body part. Thus, for example, if we have a patient with a sore throat, we run our finger down the left side until we reach “throat” and then we discover that the appropriate magical word is “Lachmalêl.”

  • 53  The word λαχμαληλ (20: for the throat) sounds like some kind of angel name or Hebraized word, for (...)

27The magical symbols and names that appear in the right column are, unfortunately, all unknown in other extant magical texts, although there are a few near parallels.53 The order in which these ten parts of the head are listed, however, is a bit odd, and therefore significant:

  • 54  Much of the discussion that follows previously appeared in Faraone (forthcoming 2), where I argue (...)

1: brain

2: ears

3: eardrum

4: “grape-cluster

5: throat

6: forehead

7: nostril

8: “octopus”

9: teeth

10: mouth

(orifice)

(smaller part within)

(smaller [pathological] part within)

(orifice)

(orifice)

(smaller [pathological] part within)

(smaller parts within)

(orifice)54

28The list is apparently composed of two parallel sequences of five items, each beginning at a position on the upper part of the head (nos. 1 and 6) and then moving downwards to include two pairs of body parts. Note also that the author of this text repeatedly pairs an orifice (ear, throat, nose, and mouth) with one of its internal parts (eardrum, “grape-cluster,” “octopus” and teeth), and that two of these smaller internal parts have metaphorical names that refer solely to pathological conditions. The word “grape cluster” (σταφυλή) in no. 4 refers to the uvula, which when it is swollen from infection during a sore throat resembles a tiny purple grape-cluster at the back of the throat. Likewise, the word “octopus” (πολύπος) in no. 8 describes a malignant growth in the nostril.

  • 55  Versnel (1998).
  • 56 DT 135a.

29We sometimes get similar lists of body parts on curse tablets, which specify – often in great detail – the extent of the binding or paralysis intended for the victim. None of the extant examples, however, seem to follow the pattern found on this gemstone. Of those thoroughly surveyed by Versnel, only three even come close, but their differences are as telling as the similarities.55 A first-century BCE Latin curse, for example, lists the “neck, mouth, cheek, teeth, lips, chin, eyes, forehead and eyebrows”56 and another the “head, forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, pupils, nostrils, lips, ears, nose, tongue and teeth.” An earlier, second-century BCE, Greek curse likewise has an eclectic list: “hair, face, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, eyelids, nostrils, mouth, teeth, ears, throat and shoulders.” None of these three examples, however, offer a good parallel for the Russian amulet and the prominence of the eyes or parts of the eyes on all three highlights the fact that our gemstone neglects the eyes entirely.

  • 57  Potter (1988), p. 4-5.
  • 58  Many thanks to Lesley Dean-Jones for bringing this text to my attention.

30There is, however, a list with fairly close parallels in the Hippocratic treatise De affectionibus, which offers an eclectic survey of the parts of the human body and suggestions about what to do if the patient feels pain in a particular part57 or if that part swells up. It functions, in short, just like the Russian gemstone, except that it offers brief medical explanations and advice for treatment (both based on Hippocratic humoral theory), instead of magical symbols or names. The treatise begins with a chapter on the head (2-5), which is divided into seven sections, each devoted to a different part of the head or face. Each section begins with a somewhat formulaic conditional sentence, for example: “If pains fall upon part X, it is beneficial to do Y.” The chapter is organized as follows (I give the protasis of the first sentence of each section in the chapter):58

31The parallels between the Hippocratic list and the magical one are significant. Both, for example, generally focus on the parts of the head that may be subjected to a pathology, but both break this pattern by listing the same two terms for pathological growths in the throat and nose: the “grape-cluster” and the “octopus.” Both lists, moreover, seem interested in healing the same areas and start out, at least, in a similar order:

Gemstone:

De affectionibus, 2-5:

1: brain

2: ears and eardrum

3: “grape-cluster” and throat

4: forehead

5: nostril and “octopus”

6: teeth and mouth

1: head

2: ears

3: throat

4: gums and tongue

5: “grape-cluster”

6: teeth

7: “octopus in the nose”

  • 59  I am grateful to Ann Hanson for the reference to this text. For a more thorough discussion of the (...)

32The list on the gemstone, as we saw, makes one trip down the sides of the head, and then returns to the top again (forehead) for a second descent down the middle of the face ending with the mouth. The list in De affectionibus 2-5, on the other hand, makes an identical first trip down the sides of the head, but then reverses direction and goes up the middle of the face and stops at the nose. Both, moreover, ignore the eyes entirely, a lapse that makes sense once we read the final line of the chapter on the head in the De affectionibus, which explains that the diseases of the eyes will be treated separately.59

Amulet or miniature handbook

33Finally, how can we connect the complicated list on the “medical” side of this amulet with its “ritual” side? At first glance there does not seem to be any connection at all. But here the parallel text from the Cairo Genizah (discussed earlier) is quite helpful, because in the Aramaic recipe an amulet inscribed with the disappearing name of Damnameneus also contains a prayer to some magical symbols “to heal the head” of the patient. It is probably not, therefore, a coincidence that the prayer on the reverse of the Anapa gem is also concerned with the head, and that the list of the body parts is limited to places on the head and face. The implication here is, of course, that diseases of the head are caused by Damnameneus, who has presumably been sent as an agent by the curses (φάρμακα) of others. This is, I suggest, the only way we can connect the healing prayer on the reverse of the Anapa gem with the rubric on the front, which states that the gemstone is designed “for the sendings-away of (hostile) incantations.” We should also ask, finally, to what genre of magical text does the Anapa gem belong? It begins and ends as if it were a handbook recipe: it starts with a rather elaborate rubric and closes with a coded list specifying body parts and pathologies to be healed. But if the author of the list on the reverse of the Anapa gemstone intended for it to be a miniature handbook, why did he reduce it to such a small size? And why did he inscribe it on a gem? I think that both questions have the same answer.

  • 60  See note 10 above.
  • 61  There are many examples of magical recipe-books that include a drawing as a model for an amulet or (...)

34As was mentioned earlier, it is usually the case that, when handbook rubrics and short instructions show up on a gemstone or a silver amulet, we assume that they are inscribed by mistake,60 but it is surely not the case that a scribe accidentally copied nearly the whole reverse side of the Anapa gem from a handbook. What is more, to judge from other handbook recipes for amulets, the text on the gemstone strategically leaves out some important information. It does not tell us, for instance, how to use the symbols and names that appear on the list. Since the symbols, at least, are unpronounceable, we must assume that they were not spoken aloud, but rather that all were to be inscribed on some medium, and indeed Greek magical handbooks almost always specify the kind of medium – a specific type of gem, leaf, or metal tablet – on which the name or charm should be inscribed. I suggest that the author of the Anapa stone left this information out, because he has, in fact, signaled to us precisely what the medium is and precisely how it is to be inscribed: in each case we are to take an agate gemstone (i.e. the medium of the Anapa stone itself) inscribe the obverse with the solar name Phramphereinlelame followed by the Damnameneus triangle, and then inscribe the reverse with the prayer for healing. This is the all-purpose head cure. The only part of the recipe that will vary is the special set of symbols or the special magical word – e.g. for the ears or the throat or the nostrils – that will be added on the reverse of the gem to cure a specific ailment of the head. The Anapa gem is, in short, both a handbook and a model for a series of agate amulets for healing various parts of the head.61

35We find similar patterns in some of the omnibus-recipes in the later papyrus handbooks. Such recipes often prescribe a primary object or text, which can then be slightly augmented or altered for different purposes. The recipe entitled “Divine Assistance from Three Homeric Verses” is a good example of the type: it starts off by directing us to inscribe three hexameters onto a tablet of iron, to speak a formula over the tablet and then to consecrate it with a special ritual. This inscribed and consecrated tablet then becomes the core of a series of different magical spells that I summarize here, highlighting the appearance of the iron tablet in each variation:

36The shared item in all of these different recipes is the iron tablet inscribed with the three Homeric verses that in every variation is worn or carried about, or used to consecrate other inscribed objects by its touch. Note also that the iron tablet, although magically potent, is never used to perform a specific spell by itself: it needs to be enhanced by some other object and incantation that directs or focuses its power toward a specific goal. These five additional and interchangeable objects – tin or gold tablets, leaves of myrrh or laurel, or a seashell – are in each case inscribed with a different, specialized incantation that is concerned with the specific goal mentioned in the rubric, for example “oracles” or “wrecking chariots.” In some cases we can easily understand the logic of the variations, for example, inscribing the “name that reveals all things” on the leaf of Apollo’s favorite tree (laurel) for an oracular spell.

  • 63  One might argue that the short prayer at the start of the reverse (“I beg you lord…”) might also h (...)

37I suspect that a similar concept lies behind the text inscribed on the Anapa gem, although this is not made explicit: every amulet produced by this recipe will share a number of fixed features: the stone must be an agate and it must have the solar name Phramphereinlelame followed by the Damnameneus triangle on the obverse and the prayer for healing on the reverse: these four features comprise, I suggest, the core of the spell that never changes, like the iron tablet with the three Homeric verses. The scribe must, however, fine-tune this basic head amulet for more specific complaints by adding to the back of the new amulet one of the magical words or symbols that appear in the list on the back of the Anapa-gem. Thus if someone came to the magician-scribe complaining of a swollen polyp in the nose, the scribe would select a blank gemstone of the same material as his model (agate) and engrave the solar name and the disappearing Damnameneus on the obverse and the prayer on the top of the reverse. Then he would consult the Anapa sphere by running his finger down along the left side of the list until he comes to “octopus,” and thereby finds the matching magical name or symbols that would direct the power of the amulet to the specific job at hand – in this case the magical word saêêi. He would then presumably inscribe this word on the back of the amulet.63 If he were a clever scribe, moreover, he would avoid copying the rubric onto the front of the stone and the word “octopus” on the reverse.

38Let me close by saying that the Anapa gemstone seems to illustrate nicely some of the processes that occur when – in the frenzied epigraphic habit of the Roman period – amulets become repositories of miniaturized rituals and handbooks. We have indeed seen three different strategies for reducing elaborate expulsion rituals so they can fit on a small pendent. The first and simplest preserves only the flee-formula shouted at the disease by the sorcerer, for example: “Flee gout! For Perseus pursues you!” The second records a dramatic dialogue between Antaura and Artemis of Ephesus, the latter of whom eventually sends this headache demon away to the wild regions of the mountain. This amulet seems to contain what we might call a libretto for a ritual drama, which includes at the very end the standard flee-formula. In the third case, the ivy-leaf amulet for parts of the throat and the Anapa gemstone for parts of the head encapsulate expulsion rituals most concisely and abstractly by equating continued rituals of expulsion (the ἀποπομπαί in the Anapa rubric) to the vanishing names of Lycurgus and Damnameneus.

  • 64  Bonner (1950), p. 51-60.

39The anatomical codebook on the reverse of the gem displays a different kind of miniaturization, whereby the author strips the typical omnibus recipe down to its bare essentials, focusing narrowly on a list of body parts and a parallel list of curative names or symbols. Here the medium of the gem itself and the distribution of text on its surface serve as silent models for the replication of agate gemstones that likewise display the disappearing demon-name Damnameneus on one side, but a different individualized word or sign on the reverse, depending on the precise part of the head. I suspect, moreover, that the absence of the eyes on this gem is significant and suggests that the author of this miniature handbook may have also created others like it, presumably on different types of gems for other areas of the body. We know, for example, that green jasper was a frequent medium for amulets used for problems in the oesophagus and stomach,64 so perhaps there lies buried in the ruins of ancient Gorgippia a small sphere of green jasper of the same diameter inscribed with similarly condensed instructions for healing the various parts of the upper digestive system, and indeed possibly a whole set of miniature handbook gems, enough to account for the entire human body and all of its manifold diseases.

Abbreviations for Corpora of Magical Texts

GMA

R. Kotansky, Greek Magical Amulets, vol. 1, Opladen, 1994 (Papyrologica Coloniensia, 22.1).

Heim

R. Heim, Incantamenta Magica Graeca-Latina, Leipzig, 1892 (Jahrbücher für classische Philologie Suppl. 10).

BM

S. Michel, Die magischen Gemmen im Britischen Museum, 2 vols., London, 2001.

D&D

A. Delatte, P. Derchain, Les intailles magiques gréco-égyptiennes de la Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1964.

DMG

S. Michel, Die magischen Gemmen: Eine Studie zu Zauberformeln und magischen Bilderen auf geschnitten Steinen der Antike und Neuzeit, Geissen, 1997.

DT

A. Audollent, Defixionum Tabellae, Paris, 1904.

DTA

R. Wünsch, Defixionum Tabellae Atticae, 1897 (IG III 3).

FGrH

F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, Berlin/Leiden, 1923-58.

LIMC

Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Zürich/Münich.

PGM

K. Preisendanz, [A. Henrichs], Papyri Graecae Magicae. Die griechischen Zauber­papyri, 2 vols., Stuttgart, 1973-74².

SM

R. Daniel, F. Maltomini, Supplementum Magicum, 2 vols., Opladen, 1990-91 (Papyrologica Coloniensia, 16.1 and 2).

SMA

C. Bonner, Studies in Magical Amulets Chiefly Graeco-Egyptian, Ann Arbor, 1950 (University of Michigan Studies, Humanistic Series 4).

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Bibliographie

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A. Bernabé, “La Ephesia Grammata. Génesis de una fórmula mágica,” MHNH 3 (2003), p. 5-28.

S. Blakely, “Pherekydes’ Daktyloi. Ritual, Technology and the Presocratic Perspective,” Kernos 20 (2007), p. 43-67.

T. Blavatskaja, “Ein Amulet aus der Umgebung von Gorgippia,” in Studia in honorem D. Decev, Moscow, 1958, p. 231-39 (in Russian with German summary).

C. Bonner, Studies in Magical Amulets Chiefly Graeco-Egyptian, Ann Arbor, 1950 (University of Michigan Studies, Humanistic Series, 4).

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Chicago
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C. Bonner, H.C. Youtie, “A Magical Inscription on a Chalcedony,” TAPhA 84 (1953), p. 60-66.
DOI : 10.2307/283398

W.M. Brashear, “The Greek Magical Papyri. An Introduction and Survey; Annotated Bibliography,” ANRW II, 18.5 (1995), p. 3381-3364.

R. Daniel, “Testament of Solomon XVIII 27-28, 33-40,” in Papyrus Erzherzog Rainer (P. Rainer Cent.): Festschrift zum 100-jährigen Bestehen der Papyrussammlung der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, 1983, p. 294-304, no. 39.

A. Delatte, “Études sur la magie grecque II : un bas-relief gnostique,” Le Musée Belge 17 (1913), p. 321-37.

F. Dornseiff, Das Alphabet in Mystik und Magie, Leipzig, 1925².

K.M.C. Dunbabin, M.W. Dickie, “Invidia rumpantur pectora. The Iconography of Phthonos/ Invidia in Graeco-Roman Art,” JAC 26 (1983), p. 7-37.

J.M. Edmonds, Lyra Graeca, vol. 3, Cambridge, MA, 1959.

C.A. Faraone, Talismans and Trojan Horses. Guardian Statues in Ancient Greek Myth and Ritual, Oxford, 1992.

—, “Hipponax Frag. 128W: Epic Parody or Expulsive Incantation?,” ClAnt 23 (2004a), p. 209-45.

—, “Twisting and Turning in the Prayer of the Samothracian Initiates (Aristophanes Peace 276-79),” MH 61 (2004b), p. 30-50.

—, “The Collapse of Celestial and Chthonic Realms in a Late Antique ‘Apollonian Invocation’ (PGM I 262-347),” in R. Abusch, A.Y. Reed, P. Schäfer (eds.), Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions, Cambridge, 2004c, p. 213-32.

—, “A Socratic Leaf-Charm for Headache (Charmides 155b-157c), Orphic Gold Leaves and the Ancient Greek Tradition of Leaf Amulets,” in J. Dijkstra, J. Kroesen, Y. Kuiper (eds.), Myths, Martyrs, and Modernity. Studies in the History of Religions in Honour of Jan N. Bremmer, Leiden, 2009, p. 145-166.

—, Vanishing Acts in Ancient Greek Healing Magic. From Oral Performance to Visual Design, forthcoming 1.

—, “Magic and Medicine in the Roman Imperial Period: Two Case Studies,” in G. Bohak, S. Shaked, I. J. Yuval (eds.), Continuity and Innovation in the Magical Tradition, Leiden, forthcoming 2.

R. Heim, Incantamenta Magica Graeca-Latina, Leipzig, 1892 (Jahrbücher für classische Philologie Suppl. 10).

H.M. Jackson, “Notes on the Testament of Solomon,” JSJ 19 (1988), p. 19-60.

C. Johns, T. Potter, The Thetford Treasure: Roman Jewelry and Silver, London, 1983.

S.I. Johnston, Restless Dead. Encounters between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece, Berkeley, 1999.

D.R. Jordan, “A Love Charm with Verses,” ZPE 72 (1988), p. 245-59.

—, “The Inscribed Lead Tablet from Phalasarna,” ZPE 94 (1992), p. 191-194.

—, “Three Texts from Lokroi Epizephyrioi,” ZPE 130 (2000), p. 96-101.

—, “Il testo greco di una gemma magica dall’ Afghanistan (?) nel Museo Pushkin, Mosca,” in A. Mastrocinque (ed.), Atti dell’incontro di studio. Gemme gnostiche e cultura ellenistica, Verona 22-23 Ottobre 1999, Bologna, 2002, p. 61-68.

E.A. Judge, “The Magical Use of Scripture in the Papyri,” in E. Conrad, E. Newing (eds.), Perspectives on Language and Test. Essays and Poems in Honor of Francis I. Andersen’s Sixtieth Birthday, Winona Lake, 1987, p. 339-349.

G. Libertini, “Laminetta plumbea iscritta da S. Giovanni Galermo (Catania),” Rivista Indo-Greco-Italica di Filologia-Lingua-Antichità 11 (1927), p. 105-109.

C.C. McCown, The Testament of Solomon, Leipzig, 1922 (UNT 9).

P. Maas, “The Philinna Papyrus,” JHS 62 (1942), p. 33-38.

F. Maltomini, “Due nuovi testi di magia rurale,” ZPE 164 (2008), p. 159-179.

A. Mastrocinque, “Les formations géométriques de mots dans la magie ancienne,” Kernos 21 (2008), p. 89-100.

J. Naveh, S. Shaked, Magic Spells and Formulae. Aramaic Incantations of Late Antiquity, Jerusalem, 1993.

O.Y. Neverov, “Gemmes, bagues et amulettes magiques du Sud de l’URSS,” in Hommages à M.J. Vermaseren, Leiden, 1978, p. 833-48 (EPRO, 68.2).

A. Önnerfors, “Magische Formeln in Dienste römischer Medizin,” ANRW II, 37.1 (1993), p. 157-224.

R. Parker, Miasma. Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion, Oxford, 1983.

P. Potter, Hippocrates, vol. 5, Cambridge, MA, 1988.

W.E. Prentice, “Magical Formulae on Lintels of the Christian Period in Syria,” AJA 10 (1906), p. 137-150.

P.J. Sijpesteijn, “Four Magical Gems,” BABesch 50 (1975), p. 272.

H.S. Versnel, “And Any Other Part of the Entire Body There May Be… An Essay on Ana­tomical Curses,” in F. Graf (ed.), Ansichten griechischer Rituale. Geburtstags-Symposium für Walter Burkert, Stuttgart, 1998, p. 217-67.

L. Zgusta, Die Personennamen griechischer Städte der nördlichen Schwarzmeerkuste, Prague, 1955.

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Notes

*  I presented different versions of this paper at the Ancient History Seminar of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in November 2008 and at the Workshop for Ancient Societies at the University of Chicago in January 2009 and I am grateful to the audiences and colleagues in both places for their comments and questions. All of the flaws that remain are, of course, my own. I began this essay at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton on a fellowship supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as the Hetty Goldman Membership Fund and I completed it as a Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Malibu, California. I am extremely grateful to these institutions for my support and to the dedicated staff, librarians and curators who made my work especially fruitful and pleasant. – I would like to thank Dr. Melnikova Irina Nikolaevna, the Director of the Anapa Historical Museum, for the new photographs of the gem and for permission to use them, and to Prof. Vladimir F. Stolba for his crucial help in contacting the museum and arranging for the photographs to be taken and sent.

1  Inv. 835. The photographs in Figures 1 and 2 are from Blavatskaja (1958), p. 231. For brief discussion see Neverov (1978), vol. 2., p. 833-48, no. 50, plate clxxvi, who dates the text to 2nd-3rd century CE.

2 Gorgippia was founded in the 6th century BCE as a Greek emporium, grew to a prosperous city by the 3rd century BCE, and was eventually destroyed by the Goths in 3rd century CE.

3  I give the text of Blavatskaja and Neverov, who disagree only at the points noted in the apparatus criticus. Blavatskaja’s πολύπου (line 22) can be verified by the photograph. The form πολύπου (and not πολύποδος) is listed in some lexica as a “poetic” form. For lines 16-24, I have inserted a vertical space to indicate the division between two columns of text. On the stone, however, these columns are differentiated not by space, but by a change in the direction of the writing, as one can see in figure 2.

4  Blavatskaja (1958) prints ὑγειῆ followed (after a space) by a symbol that looks like an enlarged gamma with a line coming up from the top.

5  If we assume that in this line the engraver mistakenly carved a Roman A instead of an alpha (see also note 8 below), then the four symbols here might be interpreted as another magical name ψαηφ, albeit inscribed in a format larger than that of the surrounding text.

6  This group of Greek letters bunched at the end of line 18 probably constitute a magical nonsense name, but some have suggested to me per letteras that there may be a real Greek rubric buried here, e.g. πρ(ὸς) μὴ ῥύμα (“for the sake of no flux”) Dean Jones or πρ(ὸς) μήρυ<σ>μα (“for a fracture”) Kotansky. All of these suggestions would, however, break the consistent pattern of body part in the genitive followed by magical names or symbols.

7  According to Blavatskaja (1958) the last three letters of this line (αια) are placed between lines 20 and 21, beyond the end of both lines.

8  This symbol is an oversized Roman A.

9  Roy Kotansky suggests to me privately that given the syntax here (ποίησον rather than δός), we should rather expect an expression such as we find on D&D 80: φύλαξον ὑγιῆ στόμαχον Πρόκλου (“Keep the stomach of Proclus healthy!”) and that the very odd τὴμ μάθην ἀκὴν may hide an accusative feminine personal name with the article (τὴμ Μαθανακην). In this case, ὑγείηγ would presumably be a form of the adjective (Blavatskaja, in fact, prints ὑγειῆ followed by a magical symbol). In that case the first three lines of the Reverse would read: “Lord, I beg you, make Mathênakê(?) healthy with regard to her head!” Jaime Curbera informs me privately that the suffix -ακος / -ακη is common in personal names and suggests that Mathênakê may be related to the name Mathanos documented in Olbia; see Zgusta (1955), p. 195, § 306. Kotansky's suggestion does not, however, explain the use of the article with the name. In what follows I take up an alternate idea that the stone is a miniature handbook for which the combined plea for “knowledge” (for the healer) and “healing and health” (for the patient) makes complete sense.

10  If we assume that in this line the engraver mistakenly carved a Roman A instead of an alpha (see also note 8 below), then the four symbols here might be interpreted as another magical name ψαηφ, albeit inscribed in a format larger than that of the surrounding text.

11  This symbol is an oversized Roman A.

12 Jordan (2002), p. 6, for example, discusses another Russian gem, which also begins with instructions copied mistakenly from a handbook (“This is the logos”) and he cites another example in the Louvre: Bonner, Youtie (1953).

13  See, e.g., GMA 36.15-16 and 52.12, with Kotansky’s comments ad locc, for amulets against poison; those against curses and hostile incantations are treated below. There is a small possibility that the word φαρμάκων is (with a change of accent) φαρμακῶν, the genitive plural of the word φαρμακός “scapegoat,” and that the phrase refers to “the sending away of scapegoats” – which is, of course, precisely what one does with scapegoats (see note 13). The word is rare, however, in the Roman period and does not appear at all in magical texts, so it seems imprudent to interject it here, although (as we shall see below) scapegoat rituals are close kin to the ritual imagined by the creator of the Anapa gem.

14 PGM XXXVI, p. 256-264.

15  For recent bibliography on the latter, see Faraone (2004a). For the former, see Parker (1983), p. 257-80.

16 DT 15. The curse is fragmentary, but since the stipulation is repeated twice in lines 3-7, the text is secure.

17  The use of the imperatives λύσατε and ἀπολύσατε strengthens this impression, since (as we saw earlier) λύειν is often used in the sense of “loosening” magical spells or “releasing” someone from them. See also a silver amulet from Syria (GMA 46.8-12), which urges λύσατε τὴν Ἰουλιανὴν ἀπὸ πάσης φαρμακίας (“Release Juliana from all witchcraft!”).

18  See Faraone (2004b) for numerous examples of the verb ἀποτρέπειν on amulets.

19  Pollux, Onomasticon V, 131. A magical recipe in a late-antique papyrus handbook uses the verb ἀποπέμπειν in a similar way, boasting how an iron tablet inscribed with three Homeric verses (PGM IV 2170): “sends away both demons and wild beasts (καὶ δαίμονας καὶ θῆρας ἀποπέμπει).” Here one might be tempted to say that the verb is being used in a more general way – like ἀποτρέπειν sometimes is – to mean “to ward off” or “to protect from,” but we have ample enough evidence that the Greeks performed escort rituals of this sort, for example, to deal with ghosts and haunted houses. See Faraone (1992), p. 82-83.

20  Ann Hanson suggests privately that these words could be rendered “I have been committed to carry/bear” or “I have committed myself to carry/bear.” If φραμ or φραν is (see my discussion further on) in fact the accusative form of the name of the sun-god Phre or Re, then the god may be the direct object: “I have been committed to carry/bear Re.” My colleague Robert Ritner informs me by e-mail that if the Anapa gem were in scarab form or had a scarab on it, then the statement that I (= scarab) carry Re would make excellent sense, since the scarab is a solar vehicle. The same would be possible if there were an image of a boat (solar bark) or a cow (sky).

21  For all of these voces magicae, see Brashear (1995), p. 3601. The word φρα is admittedly less common, but it does, in fact, appear at the end of a long list of magical names in a prayer to the sun (PGM IV 284), and we find φραφεων on a gold lamellae from Heliopolis in Lebanon (GMA 50.3).

22  See GMA 57.3, with Kotansky’s comments. Although I can find no precise parallel for λελαμε, the range of variants of λαιλαμ found in other magical texts suggests a fairly fluid tradition into which λελαμε on the Anapa gemstone fits comfortably, e.g.: λαιλαμψ (PGM II 117); λαινλιμμ (III 414); λεωλαμ (GMA 14-15); λελαμ (GMA 44 and 289); and λελαμψ (Michel 286).

23  Naveh, Shaked (1993), p. 192 (text), 199 (English translation quoted here) with Plate 18 (= no. 18. 9. 6-13a).

24  Faraone (forthcoming 1) Chapter 1, note 15 and note 46 below. It is clear, moreover, that the layout and content of this amulet is drawn from the same Greek tradition as, for instance, a papyrus amulet from Egypt (SM 21, 4th-5th CE), which has a similar triangle and three charaktêres (albeit different from the ones in the Aramaic papyrus) and contains a similar prayer: “Holy charaktêres heal Tiron!” (ἄγιοι χαρακτῆρες θεραπεύσατε Τείρονα).

25  Faraone (forthcoming 1).

26  See e.g. Heim (1892) ad no. 97 and Dornseiff (1925), p. 58-59 and 63-67. For full bibliographic survey, see Önnerfors (1993), p. 162-67.

27 FGrH 3 F 47 (Jacoby). The term γόητες is a general word for magician or sorcerer, but here, since the γόητες are diametrically opposed to the ἀναλύοντες, we must imagine that they cast hostile spells. For recent discussions, see Johnston (1999), p. 105 and Blakely (2007), p. 47-50. Clement, Stromata, 5, 15, 132 says that the Daktyloi invented incantations (ἐπῳδαί).

28  Bernabé (2003), frag. 2.3.

29  For the most recent treatment with a full citation of all Greek texts, see Bernabé (2003).

30  See the ongoing work of Jordan (1988), (1992) and (2000).

31 Line 7 of the fourth-century BCE tablet from Phalasarna, Crete, and line 8 of the fourth-century BCE tablet from Epizepherian Locri; for text and discussion, see Bernabé (2003), p. 13-14.

32  See Judge (1987) for the similar use of incipits of psalms and gospels in magical texts as a prompt to recite the whole.

33  A third-century BCE Athenian binding spell (DTA 88).

34 Stromata, 5, 8, 45. For discussion of the solar Damnameneus, see Bonner (1950), p. 201 and Blakely (2007), p. 52-53.

35  His name shows up, for example, as the name of the sun in the fourth hour, when it takes the form of a bull (PGM III 510), and in a recipe for a magical ring we are told to hold the ring up to the rising sun and recite a long invocation that again addresses the sun by all of its names (PGM XII 270-350).

36 PGM IV 2775-2790.

37 PGM III 80 and 101.

38  His name appears, for example, in the nominative on the reverse of a gem of yellow jasper that has solar motifs on the obverse (BM 251), but also in the vocative on a dark-green jasper that depicts the Osiris-mummy with other chthonic symbols (BM 9). It is used most consistently, however, on gemstones connected with hostile erotic magic, appearing, for instance, twice in combination with the magical name νικαροπληξ (D&D 325 and 327) on the back of gemstones of Eros, one of which depicts him burning Psyche in the form of a butterfly. Gems of this type often include in their design a statue of Nemesis, her famous wheel, or the adverb δικαίως (“justly”) all of which seem to suggest the inexorable and punitive nature of the spell. This, too, is a type of gemstone used by men to launch erotic attacks on women. See LIMC, s.v. “Adrasteia” and “Nemesis.”

39  Faraone (2004c).

40  Hekate-Selene in her role as Damnamenê is a lunar goddess with powers to control the cosmos, but she is also a powerful underworld deity to whom binding curses and compulsive erotic spells are addressed. The parallels with Damnameneus are striking: see, for example, her role in an erotic curse tablet (SM 49), which ends with a series of powerful names of “Lady Hekate-Artemis” (39-54): Δαμνὼ Δαμνολυκαίνα, Δαμνίππη, Δαμνομενία, Δαμνοβαθιρα, Δαμνο­βαθιρι, Δαμνομενία, Δαμηαμωνη, and Δαμηαμωνηι. The string ends with: [Νειχαρ]οπληξ ἔντινόν σου [τό] τόξον εἰς τὴν καρ[δίαν Ματ]ρῶνας (“[Neichar]oplêx, aim your bow against the heart of Matrôna”). See also a hymn to the goddess, where Kronos himself, in order that all the things in the cosmos remain steadfast, is said to have inscribed the scepter of Hekate with the following words (PGM Hymn 18.39-41): Δαμνὼ Δαμνομένη Δαμασάνδρα Δαμνοδαμία. The related feminine noun δαμναμένη is, moreover, a synonym for κατανάγκη and refers to a magical spell or plant used in hostile magic to subdue or constrain its victims (see LSJ s.v.).

41 GMA 52, lines 12-13.

42  Maltomini (2008) Appendix no. 10 dates the text itself “not before 6th CE,” but the rubrics in the text itself suggest that it descends from an earlier tradition; indeed, the drawing in Libertini (1927), p. 105, shows that the first rubric is indented and separated from the text in such a way as to suggest it was copied directly from a handbook.

43  Lead amulet from Phalasarna, Crete: φεῦ[γ᾿], ἅμα φεῦγε, λύκαινα, φεῦγε, κύων ἅμα σύ, …. μαινόμενοι δ<ρ>άντων πρὸς δώματα αὑτοῦ ἕκαστος; see Jordan (1992) for the best text and discussion. “Philinna Papyrus” (PGM XX and Suppl. Hellenisticum no. 900): φεῦγ᾿ ὀδύν[η] κεφαλῆς, φεύγει δὲ [λέων] ὑπὸ πέτ[ρα]ν φεύγουσιν δὲ [λύ]κοι, φεύγ[ουσι] δὲ μώνυχες [ἵπ]ποι [ἱέμενοι] πληγαῖς ὑπ᾿ [ἐμῆς τελέας ἐπαοιδῆς]. For discussion, see Maas (1942).

44  Aristotle, fr. 496 (Rose): “Aristotle relates how when a plague gripped (Boeotia) and many crows came, the people hunted them down and after they had purified them with incantations (περικαθαίροντας ἐπαοιδαῖς) they released them alive and uttered a spell against (ὲπιλέγειν) the plague: φεῦγ᾿ ἐς κόρακας (Flee to (the) crows! = Go away with the crows!).” For full discussion see Faraone (2004a), p. 219.

45  Pliny, Naturalis historia XXVII, 75, 100; for the best text, see Edmonds (1959), p. 542-544 no. 38a: φεύγετε κανθερίδες· λύκος ἄγριος ὕμμε διώκει. Other examples include (Heim nos. 57 and 58): “Flee, flee, o bile of poison, the crested lark pursues you!” and “Flee, flee, a stronger one (i.e. a god) pursues you!”

46 Heim, no. 59 and 60. I give the traditional translation here, but as Prentice (1906), p. 139 notes, the word θεῖον (if that is the right restoration) is oddly neuter here and might actually refer to “sulfur,” a material that was thought to make demons flee. Amulet cases have, in fact, been found filled with sulfur, see e.g. Johns, Potter (1983), p. 99 no. 30 (a gold example from the “Thetford Treasure”), who cite another example in the British Museum. Dunbabin, Dickie (1983), p. 23 discuss hollow gold foil figures of Pthonos used as pendants and mention in passing one that contained sulfur (also in the British Museum).

47 GMA 13.

48  The two other versions quoted in full by Kotansky end as follows: “Go off to Mt. Ararat … flee (φεῦγε), migraine … from the servant of the Lord” and “Depart (ἀναχώρησον) from the limbs and bones of God’s servant.”

49  What follows is an abridged and simplified version of Faraone (2009), p. 159-165.

50  I follow the brilliant reconstruction and discussion of Daniel (1983), who uses as his guide frag. c-d, lines 15-18. A papyrus version of the spell was part of a rotulus (a vertical scroll) that contained only chapter 18 of the Testament and apparently circulated independently as a magical handbook.

51  For this text, see McCown (1922). The word ἀναχωρίςis in half-brackets because it only appears in Recension A. My translation follows Jackson (1988), p. 55-56, who says of ἀναχωρίς: “although no such word is attested for any stage of the Greek language” ἀναχωρίς is somehow “meant to describe the process of ‘withdrawing’ one letter or syllable at a time from the magical word λυκοῦργος and in this manner sympathetically to effect the demon’s ‘withdrawal’ from his host.” Mastrocinque (2008), p. 98-99 suggests less convincingly that the word is a mistake for ἀναχωρεῖς and that whole phrase Λυκοῦργος ἀναχωρεῖς (“Lycurgus, you will go away!”) was supposed to vanish.

52  Another manuscript (N) has a version that is missing the first two iterations: κουργος, ουργος, υργος, ργος, γος, ος, ς.

53  The word λαχμαληλ (20: for the throat) sounds like some kind of angel name or Hebraized word, for which there are a few parallels, for instance, the word λαχαμιμαλιαλι inscribed twice within a tabula ansata in the field of picture of a lion-headed man gazing back at a decapitated head that he holds in his right hand (D&D 308).See also Sijpesteijn (1975), p. 272 no. 3, for a black obsidian gemstone inscribed with λαχμιλη[ ] and Testament of Solomon, 8.5 for the protective angel “Lamechial.” The magical word λαροιμαια (21: for the forehead), is as far as I know, completely unparalleled and the only magical word similar to κηρεα (22: for the nostril) is κηριδευ, which appears as part of a logos on gemstones: σημεα καντευ κοντευ κεντευ κηριδευ δαρυνγο λυκυνξ (see DMG p. 520 s.v.). The final magical word (23: for a polyp in the nostril) is σαηηι. One possible parallel is a portion of the famous 100-lettered αθηζεφωι-logos: σαησι.

54  Much of the discussion that follows previously appeared in Faraone (forthcoming 2), where I argue that this gem and a series of wandering-womb amulets show how doctors and sorcerers shared many common ideas and techniques in the Roman period.

55  Versnel (1998).

56 DT 135a.

57  Potter (1988), p. 4-5.

58  Many thanks to Lesley Dean-Jones for bringing this text to my attention.

59  I am grateful to Ann Hanson for the reference to this text. For a more thorough discussion of the medical parallels and more examples, see Faraone (forthcoming 2).

60  See note 10 above.

61  There are many examples of magical recipe-books that include a drawing as a model for an amulet or curse, but I know of only one other example of a three-dimensional model of this sort: a bronze model found in the goldsmith’s shop in Alexandria, Egypt, that was apparently used to make hollow gold foil phthonos amulets; see Dunbabin, Dickie (1983), p. 23.

62  The instructions here are a bit confused. Judging from the other sections, in this section the sorcerer is probably supposed to carry both the iron tablet and/or the other inscribed item (e.g. the tin tablet).

63  One might argue that the short prayer at the start of the reverse (“I beg you lord…”) might also have been inscribed on back of the individual amulets, but this seems unlikely. Rather, it seems to be a prayer that was spoken aloud by sorcerer over the stone, especially since it asks the god for learning, something that in this context is more suitable for the healer than the patient.

64  Bonner (1950), p. 51-60.

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Christopher A. Faraone, « A Greek Magical Gemstone from the Black Sea », Kernos [En ligne], 23 | 2010, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2013, consulté le 23 octobre 2014. URL : http://kernos.revues.org/1569 ; DOI : 10.4000/kernos.1569

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Christopher A. Faraone

The University of Chicago
Department of Classics
1115 E. 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

cf12@uchicago.edu

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