The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 26.

deities than when a scene from Egyptian mythology involving several figures is reproduced upon the amulets. One of the best illustrations of this is the funeral of Osiris, which is represented on a green basalt intaglio of the Museo Borgiano, where we have Zoega's minute description.18 The mummy of Osiris lies upon the back of a lion which appears to be walking; but only the foreleg and hindleg nearest the observer are shown, and as Zoega rightly saw, the lion is only the lion couch so well known from dynastic monuments.19 Behind it stands the jackal-headed Anubis with his hands extended over the body of Osiris. At right and left of the couch stand two goddesses, doubtless Isis and Nephthys. Details differ slightly in various specimens, several of which show the lion as a real animal; but a glance at illustrations of dynastic paintings and reliefs indicates that the late gem cutters were following the ancient tradition as closely as their skill and the nature of their material allowed (D. 8, 9, 10, 11).

A similar fidelity, limited in the same manner, is shown in regard to the attributes of the Egyptian deities. Osiris carries the crook and the flail whip, other gods carry the was scepter and the ankh or a situla (pail-like vessel), and the various types of crown are fairly well shown, though the minute character of the work makes it hard to distinguish all details. Characteristic animals of the Nile valley are frequent on the amulets, and play the same parts as on the monuments of later dynastic times — baboons, Pharaonic hawks, crocodiles, cobras, etc.

A matter which deserves further study is the connection between the designs cut on magical stones and the coin types of Alexandria and the nomes; some examples will be discussed later.

Although almost all the inscriptions on our amulets are Greek, some Egyptian (Coptic) words in Greek letters have been recognized. ανοχ in the legend ανοχ Χνοῦβις is the Coptic pronoun “I”; the word Βαινχωωωχ probably represents the Coptic words for “soul of darkness.” An amulet in the Borgia collection deserves special mention here;20 as Zoega describes the strange design, it represents a monster with the torso and arms of a man, but in place of the head there are seven snakes, while in place of legs there are scorpion pincers. In the field there are three objects; the head of a ram over which the lapidary has cut σρω, evidently for the Coptic CΡΟ, “ram”; a lotus flower with the legend ερπωτ, almost certainly an error for σερπωτ (CΑΡΠΟΤ), “lotus”; and the head of an ox, with a mane (testa di bove giubato). The mane and the legend μουι (Coptic for “lion”) suggest that the animal was mistakenly interpreted, as it is easy to do with these small and often crudely executed designs.


Any alien group living next to a larger, dominant, population, or as an enclave in the midst of it, is liable to charges of antisocial behavior. Its

18 Museo Borgiano, p. 428, 24.

19 See Lanzone, Pls. 261, 29; 269; 271; 280; Budge, Gods, II, 132.

20 Museo Borgiano, p. 454, 19.

Last modified: 2012-11-05 09:42:20