Insight into the transmission of ancient magical signs: Three textual artefacts from Pergamon

Title:Insight into the transmission of ancient magical signs: Three textual artefacts from Pergamon
Author:Kirsten Dzwiza
Journal:MHNH, International Journal of Research on Ancient Magic and Astrology, 15 (2015), 31-56.
Year:2015
Open AccessYes. Download the full paper from this knowledge hub.

 

Abstract
Resumen
Table of Contents

 

Abstract

The paper is focused on a new discovery of a rare repetitive sequence of ancient magical signs inscribed on three stone artefacts from Pergamon. The results of a new analysis lead to a re-interpretation of the artefacts and contribute in two ways to the research in late antique ritual practice: They enrich our fragmentary knowledge of the writing practice of magical signs and provide new information about the transmission of texts inscribed on artefacts. The paper is structured as follows: I will first provide a short overview of the occurrence and application of magical signs in antiquity. This will be followed by a summary of the earlier description and interpretation of the three textual stone artefacts. Based especially on the analysis of the sequences of magical signs these interpretations will then be refuted step by step and re-evaluated, leading to a new reconstruction of the entire inscribing process. Subsequently alternative interpretations of the stone artefacts will be outlined in brief. The final conclusion includes a discussion of present interpretations of ancient magical signs.

Resumen

El artículo se centra en un nuevo descubrimiento de una extraña secuencia repetitiva de signos mágicos antiguos inscritos en tres objetos de piedra procedentes de Pérgamo. Los resultados de un nuevo análisis permiten reinterpretar los objetos y contribuyen de dos formas a la investigación sobre la práctica ritual tardo-antigua: 1) enriquecen nuestro conocimiento fragmentario de la práctica de escribir signos mágicos y 2) proporcionan nueva información sobre la transmisión de textos inscritos en objetos rituales. El trabajo se estructura así: Primero ofreceré una breve panorámica de la concurrencia y aplicación de signos mágicos en la Antigüedad. Seguirá un resumen de la descripción e interpretación anterior de los tres objetos de piedra con textos. Partiendo en particular del análisis de las secuencias de signos mágicos, se refutarán y reevaluarán paso a paso estas interpretaciones,  para proponer una nueva reconstrucción de todo el proceso de inscripción. A continuación se delinearán brevemente interpretaciones alternativas de los objetos de piedra. La conclusión final incluye una discusión de las interpretaciones actuales de signos mágicos antiguos.

 

Keywords: Magical signs, Magical artefact, Pergamon, Charactêres, Late Antiquity.

Table of Contents

1. Magical Signs
2. The Pergamon objects
3. The three stone artefacts from Pergamon
4. Description of the stones
5. Refutation of Wünsch´s statements
5.1 Do all three artefacts belong to the same stone?
5.2 Are the inscriptions on all three top sides as well as on the three bottom sides
identical?
5.3 Were all three slices copied from one lost original?

6. Alternative interpretations of the stone artefacts
7. How can the new discoveries enrich the fragmentary knowledge of ancient
magical signs?
8. Summary and Conclusion
Bibliography

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