The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 245.

like an acclamation, νικᾷ ὁ δεῖνα, “the god X is victorious.”49 In another example a trophy and a thunderbolt, set opposite each other in the lower field, hint at the power of the strange composite demon that occupies the center of the design.50 Yet there are indications that the trophy may sometimes have been treated as a thing divine in itself, or at least partaking of the sacred character that pertained to a cult image. On a green jasper my collection the center of the field, a horizontal oval, is occupied by a figure of the pantheos with four wings and bird, the right by Osiris as a mummy, and the left — just as on a complete equality with the other two — by a trophy, the post of which seems to rest on, or to be thrust through, three snakes (D. 374). Reverse, bainchoooch Iao abrasax. A very small much-weathered lapis also my possession, shows nothing on the obverse but a trophy, and on the reverse the one word Iao (D. 376).

A more elaborate amulet in the British Museum shows at the foot of the trophy a lion, under which lies a man with his face down.51 On one side is Ιαω, on the other εμι (εἰμί?). There is also a long inscription round the margin, but it is unintelligible. On the reverse are the cock-headed anguipede, a Gorgon's head (?), and another inscription.

On a haematite in the Cabinet des Médailles a trophy is set over a thunderbolt, and a star rests upon the helmet; reverse, νειχαροπληξ.52 Another stone in the same collection shows a running lion at the foot of the trophy, and stars and apparently disconnected letters in the field (D. 375).53

It is possible that the uncouth trophy, an object foreign to Egyptian custom, may have been accepted by some ignorant people as a kind of outlandish idol or fetish, and so a thing full of magical power. Such a notion, when it had once taken root, would naturally lead to other developments of the symbol, tending to give it more human characteristics. In this way one may perhaps explain a strange chalcedony pendant in the British Museum (56192), which has on the obverse face what may be briefly described as a human-headed cross. Under this design is the word νιχαροπληξ, as on one of the Paris examples; above is a series of vowels, and an inscription of unknown meaning encircles the whole. Such a form may have evolved from a trophy, in which the upright post has a helmet on its top, and the crossbar holds an armless cuirass.54 Some Byzantine bronze pendants mentioned the previous chapter have as their reverse type a cross surmounted by a bust of Christ; but it is doubtful whether that type was developed early enough to account for the chalcedony in the British Museum.

49 Cabinet des Médailles, Chabouillet 2221. Illustration in Matter, Pl. 8, 7. D. 377.

50 De Ridder 3470.

52 Chabouillet 2222, where the object above the helmet is described as the letter X. Matter, Pl. 8, 12, shows it as a star.

53 I have not the number of this object, which seems to have been added to the collection after Chabouillet's catalogue was published.

54 The armless herms may also have contributed to the development of the type. The stone just described is illustrated in King, Gnostics, Pl. C 1.

Last modified: 2012-11-02 15:14:06