The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 249.



In general, the descriptions of the amulets illustrated follow the plan adopted, with slight differences, in various catalogues of ancient gems and jewels; but in connection with elaborate or unusual designs they have been expanded to include some comment and to call attention to similar objects published elsewhere. Βecause of the special character of magical amulets it is proper to explain how certain terms will be used, and to mention certain points in which these descriptions may depart from the ordinary method of catalogues.

By “obverse” is meant, as usual, the side of an amulet that bears the principal design; in atones width bevelled edges it is generally the larger face, and exceptions are expressly noted. When, as often happens, there are designs of equal importance on both faces, “obverse” always means the larger face. Since the great majority of the stones examined are flat on both faces and have beveled edges, it is to be assumed that such is the case with every piece described unless it is stated to be of a different form. The words “right” and “left” are used from the observer's point of view except when the description makes it clear that they refer to the parts of a figure represented in the design, as when a god is said to hold “scepter in his right hand, situla in his left.”

Modern archaeologists seem to favor “calathus” as more accurate than “modius” to describe the head emblem worn by Sarapis and some other divinities. I have used the latter word as a rule, and make no distinction between the two in their archaeological application. I have also used “flail” and “flail whip” as convenient terms to describe the object carried by Osiris and Harpocrates, although I am aware that they are not quite appropriate, and that the origin of the object in question may have been different from that suggested by the Εnglish words. But “ladanisterion,” though correctly formed and descriptive of the probable purpose of the implement, is unfamiliar to many archaeologists and is also a cumbersome word. Υet I confess to making frequent use of the heavy “anguipede” from sheer weariness of writing “snake-footed” or “serpent-legged.”

The amulet makers tried to indicate the various crowns and headdresses worn by the divinities, but their attempts were often so unskilful as to leave their intentions in doubt. Because of the small size of the designs the hieroglyphic signs for the different crowns are better suited to show what the lapidary had in mind than larger works of art. The reader is therefore referred to the Sign-list in Gardiner's Εgyptian Grammar, S 1–9, particularly Νos. 5, 8, and 9. In the same division S 34 shows the ankh, S 40 the was scepter. For all these objects the most convenient names are adapted from Εgyptian words; but in referring to them I have used forms with arbitrarily

Last modified: 2012-11-05 11:49:20