voces magicae

Drawing of a bronze tablet found at Pergamon. It depicts three crowned goddesses labeled as ΔΙΟΝΗ (Dione), ΦΟΙΒΙΗ (Phoibie or Phoebe), and ΝΥΧΙΗ (Nychie), each surrounded by dense inscriptions, mostly untranslatable syllables for incantation (voces magicae). The inscription around Phoebe invokes Persephone, Melinoë, and Leucophryne. The lettering dates the inscription to the first half of the 3rd century AD. Esoteric symbols are inscribed along the edges. The center hole suggests that the tablet was suspended over a surface and used for divination.

Magical papyrus: Amulet against fever (P. Gaál)

“Complete on all sides. The writing runs against the fibers, and the back is blank. The papyrus was folded three times horizontally and twice vertically. Mirror images of the writing are visible, mainly in the upper and lower margins.” (from Daniel - Maltomini 1990, I, 33.) φηγ γη βαλοχρα θαμρα Ζαραχθω ξορκίδω μς κατ τς πικρς νάκης Μασκελι Μασκελω Φνουκενταβαωθ ορεοβαζαγαρ ηζίχθω ππόχθων πυριπηγανυξ· πάλαξον μμων το -χον ατν πυρετν κα ίγους, δη δη, ταχ, ταχύ, ν τ σήμερον.

PHĒG GĒ … BALOCHRA THAMRA ZARACHTHŌ, I conjure you all by the bitter compulsion: MASKELI MASKELŌ PHNOUKENTABAŌTH OREOBAZAGAR RHĒZICHTHŌN HIPPICHTHŌN / PYRIPĒGANYX. Deliver Ammon from the fever and shivering fit that restrains him, immediately, immediately; quickly, quickly; today!”

Magical gem: Phoenix on column surrounded by animals (A) πέπτε (B)

Iconographical elements: animal: crocodile; bird: swallows (2); Chnoubis-sign; column; gesture, protective; globus; nimbus; phoenix; rays (6); scarab, with outstreched wings; scorpions (2); snakes (2)

A: Phoenix (Horus) with nimbus and six rays around the head, standing to left on a globe (Osiris) placed upon a column. Below, a crocodile, to right; above, a scarab with outstretched wings. These elements represent the Egyptian sun god in his different forms. On the two sides, pairs of animals: swallows facing inwards, scorpions crawling to top, and snakes with ‘hands’ raised in protection, standing for Isis and Nephthys. Beside the phoenix, a pair of S-shaped characteres (Bonner: worms?). B: Inscription in three lines: πε|πτ|ε. → πέπτε. 'Digest!’. Beneath: Chnoubis-sign. The magos - the gem - commands the client’s stomach in the name of the deity invoked by the images to do what it has to: digest!