Magical Gem depicting the Anguipes, Getty Museum 84.AN.1.70

 

Gemme-Getty-84.AN.1.70
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Gemme-Getty-84.AN.1.70 Gemme-Getty-84.AN.1.70-back

Description

Place of storage: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
Inventory number: 84.AN.1.70
Medium: Bloodstone
Date: 2nd – 4th century AD
Provenance: unknown
Dimensions: 1.3 × 1 cm (1/2 × 3/8 in.)

Front
Depiction of the armoured cock-headed Anguipes. The right hand is raised and holds a whip. The left arm holds a round shield which is inscribed with ιαω (iaô)

Back
Inscription in two lines: αβρασαξ (Abrasax)

Notes
The anguiped is an ancient deity. We have multiple gems depicting an image of him similar to this one here with the name „Abrasax“ on the other side. See the Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database for more examples.

The gem is inscribed with the name Abrasax, one of the central powers in ancient magic. Among other things, he is worshipped as the supreme creator of the physical universe. The numerical value of the seven Greek letters of his name adds up to 365, the number of days in the year:
A = 1, B = 2, R = 100, A = 1, S = 200, A = 1, X = 60.

The gem is a heliotrope, translated a „sun turner“.

Image source: https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/17656
© The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California


Bibliography

Michel, Simone. Die Magischen Gemmen. Zu Bildern und Zauberformeln auf geschnittenen Steinen der Antike und Neuzeit. (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2004), p. 244, 3.A.2.b.