The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 62.

indicated as female, lying on the ground. My memoranda are unfortunately defective; but I think the stone was haematite, and the obverse bore the usual inscription, “Solomon.” The purpose of such amulets is to give general protection; the inscription gives this one a special application.

B. M. 56497: στόμαχε πέπτε, on the reverse of a very strange type, a standing figure wearing a kilt or apron, with three wings projecting from each thigh; the hands are held over the head, which is crudely executed and indistinct, but resembles the head and neck of a snake more than anything else.

Collection De Clercq (De Ridder No. 3456): στομάχου on the reverse; obverse a lion-headed deity wearing kilt, arms raised. From each side of the trunk there project three scorpion legs (De Ridder thought they represented flames).

Seyrig collection No. 16: στομάχου on the reverse of a snake-legged demon carrying whip and shield like the common cock-headed anguipede; but in this specimen the head is more like that of a dog or jackal (D. 183).

Michigan No. 26155: πέπτε (for πέπτε) on the reverse of a similar anguipede; here also the head is doubtful. From Syria (D. 182).

Michigan No. 26059: πεσε πεσε at the end of a long palindrome (the Iaeo formula) which often occurs on magical amulets; following it are the symbol and the name of Chnoubis. The inscription is on the reverse of the stone; the obverse shows a demon with two heads, one of an ibis, the other a snake. From Egypt (D. 264).

Drexler cites from Gruter an inscription ἀπάλλαξον τὸ περὶ τὸ‹ν› στόμαχον πάθος τοῦ πάσχοντος.42 Gruter's publication is not accessible to me, but it appears that he did not describe the accompanying design. However, some magical words that accompany the sentence just cited belong to the formulas that usually go with the Chnoubis design.


We have now seen that amulets inscribed πέσσε, εὐϖέπτει, στόμαχου provide for the cure of various stomach ailments, and that certain types, such as the Chnoubis snake and the ibis at the altar, have the same purpose, whether they are so inscribed as to indicate it or not. Another painful disorder of the digestive tract, colic, seems to have been common, and amulet makers did not fail to offer a remedy for it. Our principal authority here is Alexander of Tralles, a sixth-century physician, who naively confesses that he has found himself obliged to recommend amulets to some patients who would not follow a strict regimen or endure drugs.43 For colic his prescription is as follows:

“On a Median stone engrave Herakles standing upright and throttling a lion; set it in a gold ring and give it to the patient to wear.”44

Abraham Gorlaeus seems to have been the first modern writer to recognize that many gems showing Herakles and the lion were medicomagical and corresponded to Alexander's prescription.45 Yet the agreement may not be complete, for we do not know just what “Median stone” meant to Alexander. In the work on stones attributed to Damigeron we find, “Medius lapis niger

42 Drexler, Mythologische Beiträge, note on pp. 64–65; he cites Gruter, Inscr., 1047, 5; see also Kopp, Pal. Crit., IV, 264.

43 II, 579 (ed. Puschmann).

44 II, 377.

45 In the preface to his Dactyliotheca (p. 13, ed. of 1695; the original edition appeared in 1601). He was corrected in one detail by Chiflet, p. 127.

Last modified: 2012-11-05 10:43:52