The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 66.

was also used as a reverse type for some coins of Neapolis, generally accompanied by an eagle seeming to support with his extended wings a representation of Mount Gerizim, which was near the town.63 The coincidence between this type and the two amulets is too close to be accidental. We have the slightly stooping figure with a bag on his shoulder, and on the Michigan stone this figure stands on a pedestal, like a statue; we have also the eagle with spread wings, which probably appears on the amulets because it was a part of the coin type that served as their model. Further, the triangle or pyramid on the Michigan stone and the curious two-pointed object on the Copenhagen amulet may be, as Mr. Seyrig suggests, simplified, schematic representations of the sacred mountain. It has two peaks, which may account for the bizarre form of its symbol on the Copenhagen stone. Even the stars on the amulets may be explained by the coin type; for one coin, which has a small Nike in place of the eagle, has a star in the field.

Mr. Seyrig and I agree in the opinion that this account of the amulet type does not invalidate the explanation of its purpose which was previously advanced. The ignorant amulet makers, along with others of their compatriots — for they must have been Syrians — may have believed that the Neapolis statue actually represented Aeolus with the winds in a bag. In any case the type could be so interpreted, and if it were so understood, its use as a colic amulet was natural. It is certain that art types were sometimes used with a meaning quite different from that intended by the designer. A good example of this is the Mithraic tessera made from a denarius of Augustus; its reverse design, Tarpeia half buried under shields, was obviously employed to represent the child Mithra born of the rock (p. 39).

This discussion of amulets intended as aids to digestion or cures for diseases of the alimentary tract may be closed with a reminder of the previously mentioned liver amulet in the British Museum, a haematite representing Ares wearing helmet, cape, tunic, and high boots.64 He is standing facing left, holding in his right hand a spear with the point resting on the ground. There is an uncertain object in his left hand, where a chip has injured the surface. The illustration in King's Gnostics shows his hand touching the rim of a shield, which rests upon the ground; and although the cut is a poor one, it is possible that the chip flaked off after King saw the stone. The figure is encircled by the inscription Ἄρης ἔτεμεν τοῦ ἥπατος τὸν  πόνον. There are some magical characters on the reverse. In conclusion, it is perhaps worthy of mention that we have just dealt with three types that seem to owe nothing to Egypt — Herakles and the lion, Ares, and Aeolus (though historically Silenus) with the bag. The makers of the last type found their pattern in Syria, it is true; but the mythological element is Greek.

63 B. M. Cat. Palestine, p. 67, 132.

64 B. M. 56112; King, Gnostics, Pl. M 7.

Last modified: 2012-10-14 17:22:08