Gold Lamella with an Incantation against Epilepsy

Gettymuseum_80.AM.53_Gold-lamella

Description

The thin rectangular gold sheet is inscribed on one side with a personal incantation against epilepsy. Despite its small size of only 4.2 x 2 cm the inscription consists of 31 lines, containing an invocation, various names of higher powers and magic signs.

The tablet is creased from once having been rolled up. Notable are its distinctly Jewish (and possibly Christian) character, its use of different terms for epilepsy and the occurence of the „Gnostic“ light-Aeon, Eleleth (line 30). It invokes the Jewish god under a variety of names as well as the angels and combines them with additional names and magic signs.

Translation

„The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, our God, deliver Aurelia from every evil spirit and from every epileptic fit and seizure, I implore you, Lord Iaô, Sabôth, Elôaion, Ouriel, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Sarael, Rasochel, Ablanathanalba, Abrasax, xxxxxx nnnnnn ôaa iiiiiii x o yyyyyy ao oooooo ôyô (symbols) Sesengenbarpharanges, protect! Ipphô, Iô Erbeth (magic signs), protect Aurelia from every seizure, from every seizure! Iaô, Ieou, Ieô lammô Iaô Charakoôpou Sesengenbarphranges, Iao aeeyyai Ieou Iaô, Sabaôth, Adônaie, Eleleth, Iakô“ Along the left side: „Protect …!“

Translation following Roy Kotansky.


Data

Location: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
Inventory number: 80.AM.53
Material: Gold
Dating: 3rd century
Provenance: unknown
Dimensions: 4.2 cm × 2 cm

Link: https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/object/103TT7

 

Literature

Roy Kotansky, Two Amulets in the Getty Museum: A Gold Amulet for Aurelia’s Epilepsy; An Inscribed Magical-Stone For Fever, “Chills,” And Headache, in: The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 8 (1980), 181-184. Download: https://www.getty.edu/publications/virtuallibrary/0892360305.html


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