The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 237.

It may be worth noting that there is a considerable space between the crocodile on which the throne of Sarapis rests and the lion-borne mummy below; in the other specimens the crocodile seems to rest on the mummy. The outer inscription consists only of the vowels, each seven times repeated. Behind the throne is a meaningless arrangement of letters, not all vowels, in an inverted triangle. On the reverse the place of Harpocrates is taken by the groups of animals in threes that often appear with the young god; in descending order, scarabs, birds, goats, crocodiles, snakes. It is curious that the “goats” of this stone seem actually to be sheep of the old Egyptian type with horizontally spreading horns, which the artists of earlier periods showed, by a naturaI convention, one projecting forward, the other backward.27 Yet this variety of sheep was extinct in Egypt long before Roman times.

There is another stone in the Brummer collection with this same obverse design, but the reverse is completely occupied by a long inscription which runs over and ends on the beveled edge (D. 357). It consists of unintelligible magical words. Two of its elements are well known — the word or name sesengenpharanges, perhaps oftenest seen with representations of Chnoubis, and the Chabrach formula with the numerical value 9999, which commonest with Harpocrates and the animal triads.

Considered as a deposit of Egyptian religious ideas in the province of magic, the designs of these amulets seem to indicate a close connection between the cults of Sarapis and Harpocrates. The point is noteworthy, because in some places, as at Delos, Harpocrates seems to have been less closely attached to Sarapis and Isis than Anubis was.28 They also emphasize the derivation of the Sarapis religion from that of Osiris; for as we have seen earlier in these studies, the mummy on the lion's back is simply a version of the Funeral of Osiris, in which the dead god rests upon a lion-footed couch.

To researchers who consult the older illustrations of magical amulets it is instructive to contrast the photographic reproductions of these Sarapis gems with an engraving in Montfaucon, which seems to be the only illustration of the design hitherto published.29 The engraver has made of the scarab a zoned globe with wings attached and enclosed in a frame. The ibis resting on the scepter has become an object like the figure 4, with a little curved projection at the apex — the bird's bill and neck. The head and neck of the

27 On the confusion of the old Egyptian sheep with the goat see Müller, note 14 on Chap. 9 (p. 413); and Th. Hopfner, Der Tierkult der alten Aegypter, pp. 89, 174 (n. 33 a), in Denkschr. Wien. Akad., 57, 2 (1914). The subject has been reëxamined recently by L. Keimer, “Remarques sur quelques représentations de divinités-béliers” (Ann. du serv., 38 [1938], 297–331, 690–697). This writer states that the old Egyptian sheep (Ovis longipes palaeoaegyptiacus) disappeared from Egypt towards the end of the Middle Kingdom. In the temple of Chnum at Mendes the old sheep was replaced by a goat (p. 313), because the curved horns of the later race of sheep were less like the ancient type than were those of a goat. Even at a late period certain sculptures show a divine ram with the straight horns of the ancient sheep in addition to the curved horns of the later breed (figs. 32, 39, Pl. 43, 1; see, further, p. 695). The Metropolitan amulet is unusual in showing not the divine ram, but ordinary sheep, with the horizontal horns of the extinct type, and that at a time which we can scarcely place earlier than A.D. 200.

28 P. Roussel, Les Cultes égyptiens à Délos, p. 278.

29 Montfaucon, Suppl. II, Pl. 55, 1.

Last modified: 2012-11-02 14:23:56