Day 3 – January 4, 2017


Even though the Faksimiles of PGM VII by Kenyon are of a fantastic quality, classifiying the signs turned out to be even more challenging than trying to figure out which parts of an instruction were meant to be written down, and which parts had to be spoken. Wessely is remarkably imprecise when it comes to his drawings of the signs. Kenyon on the other side is incredibly detailed and thoughtful in his transcription. I got stuck at PGM VII, 415-416 (Wessely lines 423-424). The question here is: Were the Greek letters-like signs at the beginning of line 416 thought of as being charaktêres, or were they thought of as Greek letters. Kenyon as well as Wessely and Preisendanz transcribe the Greek letters up until κοι(να) in a different script indicating them as charaktêres. Here is a transcription:


O´Neil (in Betz, GMPT, 129) transcribes three Alphas instead of the three Lambdas, which is clearly wrong, the Lambdas are perfectly preserved and legible. Besides the two Greek Thetas, the rest of the letters do not look different from the usual writing. But the Thetas do. It also appears that the first five signs/letters are written a bit lower than the following signs, but this might not necessarily have to mean anything. Taking a look at the instructions concerning the inscription does not provide any further support, since it says: write down on a hieratic pittakion the names and charaktêres (γρ εις πιττακιον ιερατικον τα ονομ κ τους χαρακτηρας).

One indication that all the Greek letters or letters-like signs in line 416, following the names and the charaktêres, were actually thought of as being charaktêres is that in the previous lines the names (or voces magicae) are separated by dots, but there are no dots in line 416.

Well, tempus fugit and I will think about the classification of these signs tomorrow. For cases like this I added a comment section in the handbook of the signs.

Todays work included only three sources, but 39 signs and a lot of thinking about the possible meanings of individual instructions and how to deal with passages similar to the one above.

Number of sources entered today: 3 (Q-0014 – Q-00016)
P. London 121 / CXXI (PGM VII, 215-218) (manual)
P. London 121 / CXXI (PGM VII, 390-393) (manual)
P. London 121 / CXXI (PGM VII, 396-404) (manual)

Number of signs entered today: 39

Total number of sources: 16
Total number of signs: 117

Still snowing outside.

Januar 4, 2017 @ 23:19