The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 244.

glio Bianchini,” a small hoard of magical objects, show the thumb merely resting upright against the closed first finger.47

A curious little figure of a seated Egyptian goddess, perhaps Maat, may be classed among amulets of unusual form because it has on its back a garbled magical spell in Greek letters (D. 373). This was probably added long after the statuette was made, though that date is uncertain; the late dynastic or the Ptolemaic period has been suggested. The little figure was probably made for an amulet; its power was merely reinforced in Roman times by adding the hackneyed Chuch Bachuch formula. The object, which is made of green feldspar, belongs to the Brooklyn Museum, and was brought to my attention by Mrs. Riefstahl.


More than once in the foregoing chapters it has been observed that the designs used on the reverse side of certain coins contributed something to developing the types of magical amulets. Of course, the coin types were often derived from cult statues, and the same source could have been exploited by the engravers who designed amulets. Yet in view of the popularity of amulets and the probability that many of them were made by second-rate lapidaries in small towns and villages, it is likely that coins served as immediate patterns oftener than temple images. Thus we have seen that the so-called Rider Saint owed something to coin types showing a victorious emperor on horseback; the “reaper” amulets, though not derived exclusively from coin types, were probably influenced by them; the “Aeolus” stones of the Copenhagen and Michigan collections represent a special interpretation and application of the Marsyas of the Forum, which was proudly exhibited on the coinage of privileged cities. It is hardly necessary to add that, when the amulet represents one of the widely worshiped divinities of Alexandria, the engraver could scarcely escape the influence of the current coinage. Sarapis, Isis-Tyche, and Harpocrates in particular appear on both coins and amulets with similar attributes and in similar attitudes.

It is likely that the common occurrence of the trophy on certain imperial coins accounts, at least partly, for its prominence on a few amulets. The Romans had borrowed the τρόπαιον from the Greeks, but without the definite implications that belonged to it in Hellenic times. In the imperial period it was merely a symbol of victory, and appropriate for coins minted soon after an important success of the imperial arms. For examples it is enough to refer to various issues, ranging from Nero to Gallienus, that are illustrated in easily accessible publications.48

Prayer for victory (in a broad sense) as well as for favor common in magic, and would seem adequately to explain certain uses of the trophy on amulets. When a small trophy crowns the head of an unnamed god, it is

47 See G. Q. Giglioli, Bull. della Comm. arch. comun. di Roma, 56 (1928), 23, and Pl. 2, 9–12.

48 Eight examples are shown in B. M. Cat. Alex., Pl. 31. See also J. Vogt, Alex. Münzen, I, Pl. 3, 12.

Last modified: 2012-11-02 15:09:31