Apotropaia and Phylakteria

Conference Paper

Archaeological evidence: 3c. Apotropaic qualities of objects: Amulets, Gems
Friday 2021-06-25
13:35 | 17:05
Place: Swedish Institute at Athens & Zoom

“Against a Daemon and Fear.” A Phylactery in the Archaeological Museum of Perugia

Paolo Vitellozzi, 2021-06-25

Abstract

The proposed paper aims to provide further comment on a recently published magical gem housed in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale dell’Umbria (Perugia, Italy). The gem, showing Hermanubis blessing a corpse which is probably that of the dead Osiris, can be clearly recognised as a phylactery against possession thanks to the inscription on its rim. A comparison of the gem’s text and image with the rituals described in the Greek magical papyri, as well as with other gemstone amulets, will be the starting point for reconstructing the ritual tradition surrounding the creation of this kind of amulets, as well as the popular beliefs underlying their use. The paper will also investigate the relationship among medium, image and text, as well as that between the inscribed text and the magical formulae in the papyri. The epigraphic features will also be discussed, including those regarding the magical symbols (charaktêres) engraved on the amulet.

About the Author(s)

Dr., Liceo Classico Plinio il Giovane, Città di Castello / Università degli Studi di Perugia

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