with the three-kappa name was held to be effective against colic also; but beyond the possibility that Κοκ may represent Egyptian kk, “
darkness,” nothing has been suggested that could help to identify him.53
Finally, it is possible that the three kappas served not as a reminder of a cryptic name or formula, but to call to mind the kappa words in an intelligible Greek charm. One of Marcellus' numerous prescriptions for colic directs that a gold ring made in a special manner54
— the metal is to be obtained by melting down the ashes of a tunic made of gold-woven cloth — have its bezel engraved with the figure of a fish or a dolphin, and its hoop inscribed inside and outside with the legend θεὸς κελεύει μὴ κύειν κόλον πόνους; imitating the alliteration, we may render this roughly, “God bids bowels breed no banes.” This charm, with certain variations, was read by Drexler on a gold ring previously published by Schlumberger;55
if his ingenious but somewhat conjectural reading is right, the inscription should have been as follows: μήτρα ἔπασχε θεὸς κελεύω μὴ κύειν κόλον πόνους. The decoration of the ring, a long serpent and stars, a crescent and characters, does not conform to that prescribed by Marcellus, and it is probable that the legend was engraved on amulets of various forms and designs. This ring was intended to alleviate the pains, not of intestinal colic, but of cramps originating in the female organs.
Before leaving the Herakles amulets it may be worth while to mention another example of a type used for more than one purpose. A red jasper in the British Museum has on the obverse the familiar type of Herakles struggling with the lion, but the reverse shows a nude woman in a position which may indicate that the stone is a childbirth amulet. The design will be discussed in detail in Chapter VI
A very curious type of colic amulet is represented by two specimens, one in the National Museum at Copenhagen, the other in the collection at the University of Michigan.56
The Michigan stone, a haematite, originally rectangular, has lost about a third of its breadth, and after this piece had broken away from the left side, the bottom of the remaining fragment was rounded, perhaps to fit it into a new setting. The design, however, is almost intact. At the right a human figure, apparently male, nude or else clothed in a very close-fitting tunic, stands on a pedestal or small altar. The figure is in a stooping position, and holds a bag over the left shoulder.57
The right hand is raised, palm outward, in what looks like a gesture of protest or entreaty. On the ground, before the pedestal, is an eagle with his wings raised. In the field, over the eagle, is a triangle or some solid object of triangular outline, with a small vertical finial at the apex. A star over the human figure seems
53 See the authorities cited in PGM, as in the preceding note.
55 See Drexler's article in Philol., 58 (1899), 608 ff. Schlumberger published the ring in REG 5 (1892), 85 f. (repeated in his Mélanges d'archéologie byzantine, p. 131). Under a misapprehension of its character Cumont listed the ring as Mithraic (Monuments, II, 452, fig. 406).
56 See Eitrem, Symb. Oslo., 19, 76; Bonner, HTR 35, 87–93; 37, 333–334.
57 Eitrem, who had not the advantage of comparing the two stones, supposed the figure to be female and winged.