Cologne Inv. 10208 – A Coptic-Greek Amulet Against Fever from the 5th-6th century

Amulet against fever, Papyrus, 5th-6th century
Place of storage: Cologne, Papyrus collection of the Egyptological Institute, University of Cologne
Inventory number: 10208
Provenance: Unknown
Dimensions: 17,1 × 10,8 cm

Cologne-Inv.-10208 A Coptic Greek Fever Amulet


This personalized amulet (phylacterion) has been inscribed in Coptic and Greek and was made for a man called Viktor. The first line explains the purpose of the amulet in Coptic, it says: „An amulet against fever“. The text in the upper part of the amulet closes with the typical ταχη (tachê) which means „quickly“.

The lower part, separated by a line, contains two voces magicae, magical words, each written in a winged formation (πτερυγωμα pterygôma): Ablanathanalba und Akramachamari. „Ablanathanalba“ is misspelled here in the first line.

Next to the Greek text, the amulet contains instructions in Coptic. These instructions, the three separation lines, and the headline „An amulet against fever“ are typical for manuals, not for inscriptions on artefacts. It may as well be that the person who manufactured this artefact did not understand Coptic properly and copied the entire text from an instruction.

Image source: Inv. 10208, Papyrussammlung des Ägyptologischen Instituts in Köln


Gesa Schenke, Ein koptisch-griechisches Fieberamulett (Inv. 10208), in: Kölner Papyri (P. Köln), Band 10 (2003), 226-232, Tafel XXXVI.


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