The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 149.



each other. The god's right hand is raised in the gesture of benediction, the left holds a whip over his shoulder. Six stars surround the design. On the reverse a winged Victory, facing left, holds out a garland, while a palm leaf rests against her left shoulder. The inscriptions, Μιχαηλ Σαβαωθ Ραφαηλ on the obverse, Ραχαηλ (for Ραφαηλ) Αβρασαξ on the reverse, illustrate the common tendency to use Jewish angel names in magical formulas. The presence of the Victory on the reverse does not, in the absence of other signs, warrant us in calling this amulet Mithraic, for the notion of the sun as invictus was not confined to Mithraic circles.4 A gem published by King, now in the Metropolitan Museum, has been called Mithraic because, on the reverse of a Helios, it has a figure, apparently female, wearing a Phrygian cap and in the act of sacrificing a bull.5 The analogy of the Ruthven stone suggests that this may be only a Victory (here, as rarely elsewhere, represented without wings),6 for Victories are often shown in this act of immolation. But it must be allowed that the figure bears a certain superficial resemblance to Mithras Tauroktonos, even though the person stands beside the bull and does not, like Mithras and many of the Victories, rest a knee on the animal's shoulder.7

The second group, in which the god is shown standing, is represented by many gems that bear no mark of magical character, as well as in other forms of art.8 An excellent illustration of a wall painting of this sort is the Helios of the Casa di Apolline in Pompeii.9 The youthful god has a nimbus and seven rays round his head, and wears only a chlamys, which waves behind his right shoulder and hip as if blown by the wind. His right hand holds the whip, which belongs to him as charioteer, his left a globe. With this design one may compare a gem published by Chiflet, in which the positions of globe and whip are just reversed;10 the stone seems to have had no inscription or other mark of magical use. On most of the specimens that are clearly magical amulets the right hand of the god is raised in the familiar gesture, the left holds the whip or the globe, sometimes both, less frequently a torch.11

A stone in the Royal Museum of Archaeology in Toronto is exceptional in some respects.12 The radiate god holds his right hand to his lips, like Harpocrates, and the whip held over the left shoulder is more like the flail



4 Cumont, Monuments, I, 47–49.

5 King, Gnostics, p. 157, fig. 6; D. 71.

6 E.g. Furtwängler, Beschreibung, Pl. 16, 1476.

7 Ibid., 6250–6251; Antike Gemmen, I, Pl. 36, 29, 31; B. M. Cat. Gems, 3033–3036; Metropolitan Museum, Cat. Gems, 189.

8 E.g. B. M. Cat. Gems, 1657, Pl. 22.

9 A good and conveniently accessible reproduction of this painting may be seen in an article by Doro Levi in Hesperia, 13, 303, fig. 21.

10 Chiflet, 14. 1, 4.

11 Among the examples previously published with illustrations the following may be mentioned: D. 223, formerly Wyndham Cook 255 (the published description does not mention the globe, which is present); Pieper, Mitt. des deutschen Inst. Kairo, 5, 141, No. 11928, Pl. 22 a; De Ridder 3457–3458.

12 D. 176.




Last modified: 2012-10-30 11:00:09
Link: classics.mfab.hu/talismans/pandecta/1594