The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 106.

man, Mouterde is right in refusing to interpret it as Nemesis, because the characteristic attributes of this goddess are wanting. The possibility, suggested by Mouterde, that the figure is the Gnostic Σιγή, Silence, the companion of the first Aion in the cosmogony described by Irenaeus, may be allowed, assuming that such religious-philosophical abstractions were debased for the purposes of vulgar magic.12 The presence of an invocation to Sige in the so-called Mithras liturgy lends color to this view, but the gem amulets, in my opinion, show little direct influence of genuine Gnostic ideas. On the other hand, we may have here only a kind of female counterpart of Harpocrates-Horus, the relationship being marked by the gesture of hand to lips. If the head is actually that of a lion (or lioness), that interpretation gains some strength, for the relation of the masculine lion-headed figures to Horus seems to be beyond doubt.

The inscription on the reverse reads κατεχέσθω πᾶςsθυμὸς πρὸςsἐμὲ Κασισιανόν. The owner, then, was a man named Casisianus, unless this is a mistake for Cassianus, and the protection against anger for which he prays is general in character and has no reference, as in the British Museum stone, to a particular person.


When Theocritus' forsaken Simaitha prays to the moon-goddess that her faithless lover may forget his new favorite as utterly as Theseus forgot Ariadne, and performs a magical ceremony to enforce her prayer, she is using a type of spell — transformed, of course, by the poet — that must have been known to many jealous men and women.13 The magicians who came to the aid of unhappy lovers called such a spell a διάκοπος, or “divider,” and their books have handed down to us a few examples, of which the following is the most interesting. In one of the Leiden magical books the operator is instructed to take a bronze stylus and scratch a certain invocation on a pot-sherd, then lay it in some spot frequented by the person at whom he aims his spell, reciting the formula as he does so.14 It calls upon Set-Typhon, the great god “who smites the earth and shakes the world, who loves confusion and hates tranquillity,” invoking him by secret magical names, and beseeching him to rouse hatred and hostility between the two persons to be affected by the spell, even as there was hatred between Typhon and Osiris. The last clause is to be used if the two persons whom the operator wishes to divide are men; if they are man and woman, he must say “as between Isis and Typhon.” In a similar dividing charm later in the same papyrus, the operator clinches his prayer, or rather command, to the god by saying “Divide N from N because I am (such and such a demon named with magical words).”15 It was a common practice to enforce obedience upon demonic beings by chiming to be a more powerful god or demon. Another point is worth noting;

12 Iren. Adv. haer. 1, 1, 1.

13 Theocr. 2, 44–46.

14 PGM XII, 365–375.

15 PGM XII, 463.

Last modified: 2012-10-01 11:19:05