A gold lamella with a Prayer for Healing and Protection from the third century CE

Gold Lamella (tablet) with a Prayer for Healing, 3rd century
Place of storage: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
Inventory number: 80.AM.55.1
Provenance: Syria, exact location unknown
Dimensions: 2.3 × 3.2 cm (7/8 × 1 1/4 in.)


Malibu, Getty Museum 80.AM.55.1 Goldlamella, back side

Malibu, Getty Museum 80.AM.55.1 Goldlamella, back side

Malibu, Getty Museum 80.AM.55.1 Goldlamella

Malibu, Getty Museum 80.AM.55.1 Goldlamella

Malibu, Getty Museum 80.AM.55.1 Goldlamella, back side Malibu, Getty Museum 80.AM.55.1 Goldlamella

The thin gold sheet is inscribed with nine lines of an Aramaic inscription. The following translation is after Kotansky 1991, 270.

1. „I am writing (this) so that Arsinoë will be healed
2. In the name of Yešrumiel and Yešumel
3. and Nahariel, who is (appointed) over the rivers of God,
4. and Tahomiel whom God set up (?).
5. And rescue and save Arsinoë from
6. every destroyer-demon, „bb hh „“
7. ‚w‘ yhwh w tt “ wwwww hh
8. „‚. He is strange, difficult,
9. and frightening. Heal Arisnoë.
10. / 11. ‚For Thy loving-kindness…'“.

This amulet served to protect a woman from demons.The final „Heal“ in line 9 is a masculine plural imperative addressing the angels to heal/protect Arisnoë.

There is silver lamella in the Getty collection written by the same hand and protecting the same woman. No information about their archaeological context is preserved but it seems likely that they were found together, probably in a grave.

Image source: Getty Museum 80.AM.55.1


Bibliography

Kotansky, Roy. „Two Inscribed Jewish Aramaic Amulets from Syria.“ Israel Exploration Journal 41 (1991), 267-281 (270-273, figs. 1-2).