Q-0001 – P. Berol. 21336 Verso – Fragment of an Instruction

Ritual Instruction (fragmentary)
Inventory number: P. Berol. 21336
Collection: Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung, Berlin (Germany)
Size: 8 x 3.5 cm
Material: Papyrus
Dating: 4th century
Q-code: Q-0001
Link: https://berlpap.smb.museum/16289/

Just a few words of the instruction are preserved. These suggest that this was an instruction for the preparation of a silver lamella, but no information about its ritual context and function is preserved.

The small silver artefact was either to be cut in the shape of a tabula ansata or a drawing of the ansata had to be incised. The author of the instruction provided an illustration of the artefact of which about the right half is preserved. Below the drawing are remains of two lines of text, mentioning Ablanathanalba and probably Abrasax. It is uncertain if this text was part of the inscription or part of the oral ritual practice.

Transkription of the artefact’s inscription

[…..] G4-01-ag, G6-02-er

[…..] ρα (?)


The two preserved letters in the bottom line could also represent Charaktêres since the ancient Greek tradition of magic signs included numerous signs looking similar or identical to Greek letters but without ever being used to actually write something in any known language.


Q-0001 - P.-Berol. 21336 Verso

© Kirsten Dzwiza


William M. Brashear, New Greek Magical and Divinatory Textes in Berlin, in: Marvin Meyer, Paul Mirecki (eds.), Ancient Magic and Ritual Power, Boston, Leiden 2001, 217. (= SB XXII 15233)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004283817_014

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