The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 76.

described by Koehler in 1836.38 The obverse represents Perseus flying towards the right. He wears a chlamys and Phrygian cap, and the wings attached to his boots are slightly indicated. In his left hand he holds the head of Medusa, in the right the harpe, or scimitar, which is his regular attribute. The reverse is inscribed φύγε ποδάγρα, Περσεύς σε διώχι (l. διώκει). It is a useful example of an amulet containing no non-Greek elements.

A stone in my possession, formerly in the Wyndham Cook collection, illustrates the previously noted tendency to apply a proved amulet type to new uses for which it was not intended.39 It is properly a uterine amulet, belonging to a large class which will be treated in a later division of these medical stones. It differs from most of the specimens in its material, which is a deep red jasper instead of the usual haematite; otherwise it is rather ordinary. On the obverse an ouroboros encloses the uterine symbol, which resembles a round pot turned mouth down, with three deities above it. In the center, on the vessel itself, is a crudely executed mummy, doubtless intended for Osiris, with a flail whip over each elbow. On the curving appendages that extend outward to each side from the top of the “vessel” stand two goddesses facing the mummy, probably Isis and Nephthys. Round the rim, outside the ouroboros, is the word Ororiouth followed by a character IMG (four times) and several combinations of the vowels. The reverse bears the inscription ἐπὶ ποδία,40 which shows that the stone was expected to relieve pains in the feet.41 There is no reason to doubt that the reverse inscription is contemporary with the work on the obverse, else we might surmise that it was cut by a much later owner, knowing nothing about the original purpose of the design, who sought to turn an old and mysterious amulet to his own use.

An amulet in the form of a bronze prism, now in the Antioch Museum, was intended to keep the wearer free from some sort of lameness, the cause

38 H. Koehler, “Über ein Schreiben Rubens' an Peiresc,” Mém. Acad. St.-Petersbourg, Ser. 6, 3, 1836, 21 f., No. 27 on the folding plate. See R. Heir, Incantamenta magica, pp. 479–452, for further examples of formulas containing threats against disease and other dangers.

39 Wyndham Cook 252; some points in the description are to be corrected. The editors' suggestion that επιποδια is equivalent to ἐμπόδια is unacceptable.

40 The diminutive ποδίον is rare in classical Greek. LSJ cites it from Epicharmus (fr. 57), who uses it of the feet of a crawfish or some similar crustacean, and from (Hippocr.) Epid. 7, 52, where it is used of an infant's feet. In both cases the word is a true diminutive. In Modern Greek it has lost the diminutive force, and, in the form ποδί, has become the ordinary word for foot. The gem inscription shows that this extended use of the diminutive form must have begun in popular speech at a much earlier period.

41 41 A red jasper in the Southesk Collection (N 51) has on the obverse a solar deity (Horus as Helios, according to the catalogue) in a chariot drawn by four galloping horses preceded by Phosphorus carrying a torch. The reverse has a brief magical formula followed by the prayer, “Keep me ageless and full of favor”; the words might be those of an aging hetaira. On the bevel is αυξονιεηιποδια. The latter part is perhaps to be read ἐπὶ ποδία (Η for Π). αυξονι is probably to be connected with the acclamation αὔξει, αὖξε, αὐξέτω (Peterson, Heis Theos, pp. 181–182, 319). αὐξάνει is not to be recommended because the short form of the verb is preferred in these acclamations. αὖξον seems to be a hybrid imperative form. As such it may be taken as an interjection, without syntactic connection with the next words. The prepositional phrase may indicate that the woman's fear of oncoming age was pointed by twinges of arthritis.

Last modified: 2012-09-20 14:29:41