The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 116.

thinking of me always as she eats, drinks, works, talks, rests, sleeps, dreams, until scourged by thee she comes to me with full hands, freely giving me herself and what is hers,” etc. The end of the charm couched in very plain-spoken language, which is used in some other papyri, and is not worth translating. The right-hand half of the leaf is taken up by two common magical words, ablanathanalba and akrammachamari, treated in a fashion that is known from many other examples on papyrus, lead tablets, and gem stones. The two words are written at full length, with a slight break between them, at the middle of the space, then, above and below, each word is repeated, but diminished by one letter; ablanathanalba by successive dropping of one letter at a time from the beginning, akrammachamari by successive curtailment at the end. This process being continued until only a single α remains at top and bottom, the result is a lozenge-shaped figure composed of two equilateral triangles with their bases opposed to each other in the vertical dimension. Thus the original words form not only the axes, but also the sloping sides, of their respective triangles. Such tricks with letters are extremely common in all magical writings; they remind one of the carmina figurata which became popular in the Alexandrian period.

There are love charms that are much longer than the one just described, and it is evident that no ἀγωγή reaching even the length of the Strasbourg papyrus could have been inscribed in the space afforded by an ordinary amulet stone. The few gem stones that we can safely call love charms present only much abbreviated formulas. Of them the most important by far is a stone of unique interest that belonged to Edward T. Newell.51 It is a rather large stone (44 X 32 X 4 mm.) meant to be set as a pendant. The material is a dark-brown ironstone, probably limonite.

The obverse presents a front view of a standing goddess wearing a modius on her head and holding in her right hand a whip, in the left a torch.52 At the left side of the face, projecting from behind the head, there are the head and neck of a goose, at the right the head of a bird that cannot be positively identified. The build of the head and the hooked beak suggest an eagle or a vulture, but there seems to be a crest, which belongs to neither of those birds. We cannot exclude the possibility, in view of the poor workmanship, that both these “birds” may really be cobras with their hoods expanded. The indistinct face of the goddess is curiously skull-like; but that is probably because the lapidary was unable to produce delicate lines. The attribute of the goose (if such it is), which was considered a favorite of Isis, would indicate that the figure is Isis combined with Hecate, who often carries a torch. On magical stones she also often carries a whip, which, however, is a common symbol of power, and as such is held by various Egyptian deities as well as by the kings in the dynastic period.

51 D. 156.

52 Representations of Isis wearing the modius are not common; examples may be found in Reinach, Répertoire de la statuaire, II, 422, 7, and Koehler, Mém. Acad. St.-Petersbourg, Ser. 6, 3, Pl. 1 (opposite p. 34), Nos. 13, 19.

Last modified: 2012-11-05 11:14:53