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A new inscribed amulet from Gerasa (Jerash)

Richard L. Gordon, Achim Lichtenberger et Rubina Raja
p. 297-306

Résumés

Pendant la campagne 2016 du projet germano-danois Jerash Northwest Quarter, une gemme a été découverte dans un niveau de remblai, qui avait été constitué volontairement afin de combler une grande citerne bien construite de la période romaine. L'amulette dont il est ici question est une addition au corpus magique de Jérash. Bien qu’on ait découvert la gemme hors de son contexte, aussi bien la scène représentée sur l’avers que l’inscription magique sur le revers sont sans parallèles. La pierre appartient à un groupe d’amulettes magiques sur lesquelles une image issue de la mythologie classique est combinée à une inscription qui transforme l’image en un objet magique, spécifiquement destiné à être un sortilège d’amour.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 On the Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project, see Lichtenberger & Raja 2015a, also for fu (...)
  • 2 Lichtenberger & Raja 2015b and for the archaeological context Kalaitzoglou, Lichtenberger & Raja 2 (...)

1During the 2016 campaign of the Danish-German Northwest Quarter Project, a Roman-period haematite or black jasper gem stone with a scene depicting three figures on the obverse and a magical inscription on the reverse was found in a fill layer excavated on the summit of the Northwest Quarter. The Northwest Quarter is the highest area within the walled city of Gerasa (fig. 1). 1 The fill in which the gem was found consisted mainly of material from a Roman building that was destroyed around the middle of the 3rd cent. ce and the debris thrown into a large Roman cistern (fig. 2-3). Among the finds were marble sculpture, fragments of wall painting —also in situ on the staircase leading down into the cistern—, stucco profiles and scraps of textile. It is therefore likely that the gem once belonged to the inventory of the Roman building, the exact function of which has yet to be established. When the debris was thrown into the cistern, the latter was deliberately sealed, as was already ascertained during the excavation of another section in 2012: cooking pots had been placed at several points in such a manner as to suggest that they were intended as ‘termination deposits’, thus apparently attesting to magical practices employed after the destruction of the Roman building. 2 There are several comparable cases of such ‘termination deposits’ from the Roman Levant, and similar deposits were also found during our excavations of the cistern in 2016.

Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Plan of the Northwest Quarter with trenches from campaigns 2012-2016 marked

© The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Photogrammetric overview of trench S (Roman-period cistern)

© The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

Figure 3.

Figure 3.

Detail of the dense fill layer in trench S

© The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

  • 3 Welles 1938, p. 461 no. 250.
  • 4 One lead curse tablet will be published by Abdelaziz Aldwikat and Robert Daniel in vol. I of Magic (...)
  • 5 Barfod, Larsen, Lichtenberger & Raja 2015 and Larsen, Lichtenberger, Raja & Gordon 2016.

2Although archaeological investigations have been conducted for more than 100 years in Jerash, evidence for magic in the city is scarce. An inscribed Roman stone amulet in private possession was published in the early 20th cent. 3 Some 3rd cent. ce lead curse tablets attesting to this cursing practice, so widespread in the ancient Mediterranean world, have been excavated from tombs but not yet published. 4 A small silver scroll in a lead container was found in 2014 during our excavations in the Northwest Quarter, in an Early Islamic house which was destroyed in the earthquake of 749 ce. The scroll was incised with 17 lines in pseudo-Arabic script with Greek charaktêres and probably served a protective function. 5 It is likely that much more evidence related to magical practices has been uncovered during the excavations of Jerash, and a publication of the material as well as a comprehensive study is a research desideratum.

The Ring-stone (find no. J16-Sa-2-24) (fig. 4-7)

  • 6 Rather oddly, this type of magical amulet is not specifically recognized as a category by Nagy 200 (...)

3The stone belongs to the ‘intermediate’ class of magical amulets in which an image from the wider cultural repertoire (i.e. Classical mythology) is supplemented by a magical inscription that transforms a ‘neutral’ (but, of course, suggestive) image into a specifically magical object intended to act performatively in certain situations. 6

Description

4Haematite or black jasper, horizontal oval (“Queroval”), profile type F1, part of upper rim abraded, scuffing along the lower rim; chipped on the upper rim of the reverse. Some abrasions and cracks in the field. The stone is polished. There is still some dirt left in the incised lines after conservation.

5Measurements: 12 x 9.5 x 3 mm

6Dating: 3rd cent. ad

Obverse (fig. 4-5)

  • 7 The basic forms will have been created by a round-head drill (‘birnenförmiger Zeiger’): Weiß 2010, (...)
  • 8 Cf. e.g. the analogous treatment of a ‘pantheistic goddess’ on black jasper from Binyanei Ha’Uma, (...)

7Three figures standing on a ground line. The trunk of the central figure, somewhat larger than the two flanking figures, faces front, with the head and the right foot facing to the spectator’s left. The long hair, which is indicated simply by three strokes of the small wheel (‘Flachperlzeiger’ in German), makes clear that this figure is female. 7 Neither clothing nor secondary sexual characteristics are indicated. Both flanking figures, apparently male (though no genitalia are visible), are naked and winged and are surely, therefore, to be identified as Erotes. With his left hand, the r.h. Eros is grasping the upper left arm of the central figure, and with his right seems to be gripping her left hand or wrist. Conversely, the Eros on the spectator’s left is gripping the central figure’s right hand or wrist, while threatening her with a stick or whip held in his right hand. Low quality, rather cursory work in Late-Roman linear style; possibly of local workmanship. 8

Figure 4.

Figure 4.

Obverse of amulet with iconographic scene: Psyche and Erotes

© The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

Figure 5.

Figure 5.

Detail of the upper part of the iconographic scene

© The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

  • 9 See Blanc & Gury 1986, 1, p. 932-1049; 2, p. 678-727, though the selection of gems is very poor. O (...)
  • 10 E.g. AGLondon, p. 44, no. 258; p. 224, no. 1461; AGMünchen, p. 150, no. 3089 with numerous paralle (...)
  • 11 Psyche bound in front of a statue of Nemesis: AGBerlin, no. 454; kneeling and bound: Zwierlein-Die (...)
  • 12 Psyche standing looking down at Eros/Amor bound in front of her: AGMünchen, p. 169, no. 2531; Psyc (...)
  • 13 The best collection of material is found in Michel 2004, p. 264-266, §15.1-2, listing some 39 gems (...)
  • 14 E.g. Eros/Amor holding up a helmet to Aphrodite/Venus as she arms herself: AGKöln, p. 198, no. 129 (...)

8Erotes/Amores/Cupids are among the most familiar subjects on imperial-period gems, the different motifs being largely inherited from the Late-Hellenistic models attested i.a. by the Delian seals, rather than Classical designs. 9 Given the dominant sense of the name ‘Eros/Amor’, erotic motifs are naturally common, as for example when Eros/Amor, as a servant of Aphrodite/Venus, guides a figure towards a desired object, strings a bow, lights a torch, or simply carries both. The most common motifs with Psyche show the two embracing, 10 or Eros/Amor (or several) torturing her in some way, e.g. by thrusting a torch at her or binding her to a fixed object, such as a rock, a column or a trophy-pole. 11 There are also cases in which, inversely, Psyche tortures or binds Eros/Amor or simply rejects him. 12 All these motifs, which allude in stereotypical fashion to the contradictory emotions inspired by erotic passion, are found with considerable frequency among ‘mythological’ amulets with onomata, the general class to which our amulet from Gerasa belongs. 13 Despite the fact that ‘original’ or ‘unusual’ motifs are by no means unknown on gems showing Eros/Amor, 14 the scene on our amulet, with two Erotes/Amores holding a female figure prisoner, seems to be unparalleled in all the published gem catalogues we have consulted.

  • 15 E.g. woman sacrificing to Priapus, with a Pan playing flutes and a woman with castanets: AGMünchen(...)
  • 16 Sarcophagi: Blanc & Gury 1986, nos. 187, 194-195, 202, 206, 209, 213, 238. Pairs of Erotes/Amores (...)
  • 17 See e.g. Faraone 1999, p. 41-95.

9Although the great majority of motifs on imperial-period gems depict only one or two agents, more complex designs are, if not common, by no means unknown. For skilled cutters, such narrative designs were no problem; 15 but our unskilled craftsman found the task of representing three standing figures a challenge. This makes the identification of the female figure in the centre difficult. Nothing suggests a divinity such as Aphrodite/Venus. Since the absence of wings does not exclude an identification as Psyche, we might interpret our motif as an adaptation of the more common motif of binding Psyche to a tropaion or a rock, developed under the influence of the paired-Erotes scheme, which is an extremely common decorative motif, e.g. on sarcophagi but also often found on gems, for example on scenes of Erotes/Amores wrestling. 16 Nevertheless, in view of the magical context assured by the complex hidden onoma barbaron (see below) on the reverse, we suggest that it may be more plausible to view the female figure not as mythical at all but as representing a specific object of desire or, more generally, ‘a desirable woman’, whom the person who commissioned the stone wished, or might wish, to impress or seduce. The amulet would thus be a visual equivalent of an erotic compulsive praxis of the kind familiar from the Graeco-Egyptian magical papyri. 17 The imagined aim of such praxeis was to induce the target to forget all social restraint, imposed by family and friends, and subject herself (sometimes himself) to the sexual will of the principal. We might then class the amulet as an erotic charisterion, intended to render the wearer irresistibly attractive.

Reverse (fig. 6)

  • 18 Cf. Bonner 1950, p. 13.

10The reverse is entirely occupied by a poorly written inscription in two lines, the first of which runs all around the outer edge of the stone, while the second, in a diminishing spiral, occupies the remainder. This inscription will have been entirely invisible to casual inspection while the ring was being worn, since it is on the underside of the gem, which could only be read when the ring was off the finger. 18 The crudity of the cutting suggests, however, that legibility was not the issue here: what was important was the mere fact that the stone bore a magical text.

Figure 6.

Figure 6.

Reverse of the amulet: A magical word or name running around the rim of the stone. Inside this the letters run as a diminishing spiral ending dead centre.

© The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

Figure 7.

Figure 7.

© The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project

Reading 19

  • 19 There are 56 letters (including the two that are missing). The non-barred Λ is taken as Α, as ofte (...)

11Line 1 (outer ring) begins at the point where the stone is chipped at the top.

Ε (or Σ) Ι Θ Ο Ι Ε Ι Σ Σ Α Χ Χ Π Τ Μ Υ Ρ Ι [ - - ] Ρ Ι Ν Υ Ρ vac.

12Line 2

1st spiral: Μ Υ Ρ Ι Ο Υ Α Κ Ρ Ι Χ Α Ρ Ι Χ Ν Χ Α

13Inmost spiral

Ρ Ι Α Θ Ο Ρ Ν Ο Ψ Ο Ψ

14Dead centre

Χ Ι

15Whereas the component words of recognised logoi on magical gems are often inscribed as separate items, there are many examples of onomata barbara, i.e. ‘words’ unrecuperable into any natural language, whose nominal function was to transmit a message directly to the Other World, in which they are treated as an undifferentiated bloc, whose sheer mass was intended to convey the idea of an authoritative communication inaccessible to ordinary human beings. Although these pseudo-words are unrecuperable, it is often possible to infer at least some of the processes by which they were constructed. In this case, for example, the component letters consist of some 15 alphabetic signs in different permutations, namely:

Ε Σ Π Τ Μ Υ Κ Χ Ι Α Θ Ρ Ν Ο Ψ.

16The spiral might indeed be read as all one ‘word’:

Μ Υ Ρ Ι Ο Υ Α Κ Ρ Ι Χ Α Ρ Ι Χ Ν Χ Α Ρ Ι Α Θ Ο Ρ Ν Ο Ψ Ο Ψ Χ Ι,

  • 20 Bonner 1950, p. 202 remarked on the tendency to employ ‘heavy sounds’ in nonsense magical words. O (...)

17which has a distinctly different acoustic timbre from line 1. This suggests that, although such complex sequences were purely scribal (that is, they were never uttered vocally), acoustic considerations might play a subordinate role in their composition. 20

  • 21 See, for example, the list of more or less lengthy onomata barbara on magical gems assembled by Mi (...)
  • 22 E.g. Preisendanz 1941; Brashear 1995, p. 3576-3603; Michel 2001, p. 2: 1-16; Michel 2004, p. 488-5 (...)
  • 23 Cf. Gordon 1999, col. 407f.; idem 2002, col. 701-03.

18As so often with sequences of magical words that are not composed of recognized elements, 21 this composition is unique, and we have not been able to locate any even vaguely similar sequences in the indices to the standard reference works. 22 This is not in the slightest surprising, since at least 85% of all longer onomata that are not drawn from recognised logoi are unique creations. 23 Practitioners measured their own competence inter alia by their skill in composing such sequences.

Spiral writing

  • 24 E.g. Michel 2001, nos. 8, 27, 32, 68, 116f., 216-218, 249, 259, 277, 281, 284, 287, 296f., 361-363 (...)
  • 25 Michel 2001 nos. 289-95 (‘Pantheos’ standing on a lion); cf. Michel 2004, p. 319, s.v. 41.5.
  • 26 E.g. Michel 2001, nos. 505, 515, 518, cf. 522 (charaktêres inside the inner ring); Mastrocinque 20 (...)
  • 27 Michel 2001, no. 65 (Towneley collection); three concentric circles of onomata on two uterine haem (...)
  • 28 Heliotrope, obv. Harpocrates on his papyrus barque: Michel 2001 no.134 (BM EA 56283). The text on (...)
  • 29 Mastrocinque 2014, no. 613. The cutting here is much better, and the spiral does not reach the cen (...)

19A common feature of magical amulets is the ‘othering’ of standard language by means of linguistic play. Onomata barbara, for example, themselves a challenge to the non-practitioner, are commonly written around the rim of amuletic gems, usually enclosing a central image. 24 An interesting variant here is a series of ‘Pantheos’ amulets in which a dense pseudo-text occupies every scrap of space around the image of the god; yet, the ‘text’ itself is written in regular lines. 25 There are also a number of amulets that consist entirely of text: on some of these, an outer circular text encloses another sequence of onomata, but the latter words are written in a standard linear sequence. 26 The reverse of a heliotrope in the British Museum showing Helios and Victoria Romana displays a text around the rim, enclosing onomata barbara in four concentric ovals. 27 Despite this urge to estrangement, however, we can find only two parallels among magical amulets for a sequence written in a true spiral. One is a request in ordinary Greek that a certain woman, presumably the person who commissioned the ring, should be found attractive by a man named Serapam(m)on. 28 The other is a lengthy onoma of 49 letters on the reverse of a white chalcedony in Paris, probably produced in the same atelier as a similar stone with the same sequence on the reverse, but this time written out in 5 lines. 29

Conclusion

20Unprepossessing as it is, this amulet from Gerasa thus offers three mild surprises: on the obverse, a unique quasi-narrative motif, which we can think of as a sort of visual charitesion, a praxis designed to render the wearer attractive to women (or a particular woman); on the reverse (the hidden underside, when worn in a ring), a unique onoma barbaron, whose length and complexity connote its imputed efficacy; and a very rare type of inscription, a ring-form enclosing a spiral.

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Bibliographie

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Notes

1 On the Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project, see Lichtenberger & Raja 2015a, also for further references and publications from the project.

2 Lichtenberger & Raja 2015b and for the archaeological context Kalaitzoglou, Lichtenberger & Raja 2013, p. 58-63.

3 Welles 1938, p. 461 no. 250.

4 One lead curse tablet will be published by Abdelaziz Aldwikat and Robert Daniel in vol. I of Magica Levantina edited by A. Hollmann and R. Daniel in the series Papyrologica Coloniensia. This lead tablet is described by R. Daniel (pers. comm.) as follows: « Property of the Department of Antiquities, Jordan, Jerash Depot, inv. 2019. Date: 2nd-3rd cent. ad. W.: 25.1 cm, H.: 24.8 cm. Letter height: 0.4-1.0, average 0.6 cm. The lead tablet was found on 28 June 2004 during a salvage excavation of rock-cut Roman tombs on the western side of the ancient town of Gerasa conducted by Abdel Rahim Aldwikat on behalf of the Department of Antiquities. »

5 Barfod, Larsen, Lichtenberger & Raja 2015 and Larsen, Lichtenberger, Raja & Gordon 2016.

6 Rather oddly, this type of magical amulet is not specifically recognized as a category by Nagy 2002, p. 156, who otherwise presents a more discriminatory classification than is usual in this field, though in n. 3, he does cite AGWien III p. 163 no. 2210 (Athena) as an example. Relatively common types here, apart from Eros/Amor/Cupid, include Helios, Selene, Aphrodite, Ares/Mars, Herakles, Nemesis, Hermes/Mercury, Zeus, Danubian Rider(s) and Mithras. Egyptian deities such as Osiris, Isis, Sarapis and Harpocrates, Hekate, and later Solomon and Lilith, are related but special cases (see the useful lists assembled by Michel 2004, p. 237-345). Since Bonner 1950, the term ‘magical amulet/gem’, as used in Classical Archaeology, has come to mean, very largely, ‘amulet/gem with characteristically esoteric Egyptian motifs combined with onomata barbara’. This was an improvement over earlier, more loose classifications, but still, as Nagy shows on the basis of the Graeco-Roman lapidary texts (Halleux & Schamp 1985), not wholly satisfactory.

7 The basic forms will have been created by a round-head drill (‘birnenförmiger Zeiger’): Weiß 2010, p. 14, fig. 7d. Sena Chiesa & Facchini 1985 remains a useful account of gem production and distribution under the Roman Empire.

8 Cf. e.g. the analogous treatment of a ‘pantheistic goddess’ on black jasper from Binyanei Ha’Uma, Jerusalem, illustrated in Amorai-Stark & Hershkovits 2011, p. 111, pl. 27; and of the ‘peasant milking a goat’ motif from a Late-Roman rural site at Bab el Hawa, ibid. p. 112, pl. 33; also Venus Victrix on a red carnelian from Kibbutz Giv’at Oz: Peleg-Barkat & Tepper 2011, p. 101, pl. 7. Some items in the Saʾd collection, at least partly from Gadara and environs, are similar in style, e.g. Henig & Whiting 1987, nos. 294-297 (peasant with goat), nos. 380-382 (chariot drawn by cockerels), nos. 398-399 (Tyche with other deities, paste). The group of ancient gems from the sand-dunes of Caesarea Maritima (Hamburger 1968) reveals the wide range of types available there.

9 See Blanc & Gury 1986, 1, p. 932-1049; 2, p. 678-727, though the selection of gems is very poor. On Archaic and Classical Eros, see the full catalogue by Pellegrini 2009 and the cultural essays in Sanders, Thumiger, Carey & Lowe 2013. For the Delian seals, see Stampolidis 1992.

10 E.g. AGLondon, p. 44, no. 258; p. 224, no. 1461; AGMünchen, p. 150, no. 3089 with numerous parallels; cf. also the statuary examples collected by Icard-Gianolio 1994 and Aspris 1996.

11 Psyche bound in front of a statue of Nemesis: AGBerlin, no. 454; kneeling and bound: Zwierlein-Diehl 1986, p. 127, no. 203; beside a tropaion: ibid., no. 204; tied to a rock and tortured by three Erotes/Amores: AGHannover p. 74, no. 276; tied to a pole with Eros/Amor behind her: ibid., p. 173, no. 854. See also Icard-Gianolio 1994, p. 576-577, nos. 95-109.

12 Psyche standing looking down at Eros/Amor bound in front of her: AGMünchen, p. 169, no. 2531; Psyche holding Eros’ torch and looking down at Eros, who has shackles on his legs: AGHannover, p. 74, no. 275; wingless Psyche turned away from kneeling Eros/Amor: AGWien III p. 163f. no. 2211. Similar scenes appear occasionally on sarcophagi, e.g. Psyche tying Eros/Amor’s hands behind his back on an ‘Attic’ sarcophagus from Laodiceia, now in Damascus: Koch & Sichtermann 1982, p. 432, no. 50 with taf. 463. See also Icard-Gianolio 1994, p. 578, n. 114-117.

13 The best collection of material is found in Michel 2004, p. 264-266, §15.1-2, listing some 39 gems. The motif of Eros/Amor with a lion on magical amulets probably evokes Harpocrates’ relation to the sun (Philipp 1986, p. 47, no. 41).

14 E.g. Eros/Amor holding up a helmet to Aphrodite/Venus as she arms herself: AGKöln, p. 198, no. 129, cf. AGAquileia, no. 901; Serapis enthroned with an Eros/Amor leaning on a club, a Nemesis on r.: AGMünchen p. 122f., no. 2918; Eros/Amor watching two Victories holding a globe between them: Zwierlein-Diehl 1986, p. 118f., no. 160; Eros/Amor chasing a bird escaped from a cage (?): AGWien II p. 31, no. 607 (apparently unique); Eros/Amor seated on a shoe, possibly a lover’s: AGWien II, p. 31, no. 610; seated Eros/Amor hammering an object held on his knees (apparently unique): AGBari, p. 59, no. 56; Eros/Amor hacking on an anvil two hearts pierced on a spit: ibid., p. 59, no. 57.

15 E.g. woman sacrificing to Priapus, with a Pan playing flutes and a woman with castanets: AGMünchen, p. 120, no. 2904; similar motif: AGHague, p. 173, no. 347a; scenes of oath-taking: Zazoff 1983, p. 278, n.81 with taf.77.9; gladiatorial show: ibid., p. 327, n. 154 with taf. 100, no. 7; three or more figures: e.g. ibid., p. 336, n. 234 (Tyche of Antioch); family of Severus, ibid., p. 342; Nemesis with Helios/Sol and Athena/Minerva with stars and moon: AGHague, p. 327, no. 981.

16 Sarcophagi: Blanc & Gury 1986, nos. 187, 194-195, 202, 206, 209, 213, 238. Pairs of Erotes/Amores holding objects between them: ibid., nos. 218, 220, 287. Two Amores supporting a drunken Amor on a Dionysiac lenos-sarchophagus: ibid., no. 580 (formerly Foligno). Wrestling: e.g. AGNürnberg, p. 51f., nos. 9-10; AGDressel, p. 144f., no. 75f.; erecting a tropaion: AGKassel, p. 204, no. 36; AGMünchen, p. 208f., no. 3493.

17 See e.g. Faraone 1999, p. 41-95.

18 Cf. Bonner 1950, p. 13.

19 There are 56 letters (including the two that are missing). The non-barred Λ is taken as Α, as often on these gem inscriptions.

20 Bonner 1950, p. 202 remarked on the tendency to employ ‘heavy sounds’ in nonsense magical words. One of the anonymous readers suggests that the repetition of Μ Υ Ρ Ι might express the idea of a very large number. There are two schools of thought in relation to onomata barbara: one does its best to recuperate them, or versions/fragments of them, into natural language; the other treats them as intentionally unrecuperable. We follow the latter position; but inevitably, in the process of composing complex onomata, syllables and collocations will occur that are derived from (one of) the practitioner’s spoken languages. Given the aim of the ring’s design, the collocation …Χ Α Ρ Ι Χ Ν Χ Α Ρ Ι … in the spiral may even betray part of the practitioner’s intention.

21 See, for example, the list of more or less lengthy onomata barbara on magical gems assembled by Michel 2004, p. 288-296, §28 ‘Inschriften’, with 15 sub-categories.

22 E.g. Preisendanz 1941; Brashear 1995, p. 3576-3603; Michel 2001, p. 2: 1-16; Michel 2004, p. 488-529. The only word beginning μυρι- listed by Preisendanz 1941, Index XII, is μυριμυρινες μαχες νων (PGrMag IV 2228f.), but there are several onomata beginning μουρ- . We cannot tell whether the difference is due to ignorance or independence.

23 Cf. Gordon 1999, col. 407f.; idem 2002, col. 701-03.

24 E.g. Michel 2001, nos. 8, 27, 32, 68, 116f., 216-218, 249, 259, 277, 281, 284, 287, 296f., 361-363, 505.

25 Michel 2001 nos. 289-95 (‘Pantheos’ standing on a lion); cf. Michel 2004, p. 319, s.v. 41.5.

26 E.g. Michel 2001, nos. 505, 515, 518, cf. 522 (charaktêres inside the inner ring); Mastrocinque 2014, no. 693 (broken).

27 Michel 2001, no. 65 (Towneley collection); three concentric circles of onomata on two uterine haematites: Michel 2001, nos. 376-77; likewise on a striped agate in Verona, around a Pan: Mastrocinque 2007, p.188, no. Vr 6 rev. (with Tav. LIV); very unusual design with two concentric circles of onomata on the obverse of a ‘serpentinite’ in the British Museum: Michel 2001, no. 493; green jasper in Florence (two concentric rings): Mastrocinque 2007, p. 53 Fi 53 (Tav. XIV); red carnelian in Paris with a ring of charaktêres inside a ring of onomata: Mastrocinque 2014, no. 674; red jasper in Naples (double line round the bevel): AGNaples 2, no. 269 = Mastrocinque 2007, p. 92, no. Na 19 (Tav. XXVI).

28 Heliotrope, obv. Harpocrates on his papyrus barque: Michel 2001 no.134 (BM EA 56283). The text on the reverse reads: δὸς χάριν Θεανοῦτι πρὸς Σεραπάμωνα. Bonner 1950, p. 84; mentions a partly analogous case in the Cairo Museum, where two concentric rings of Greek compose a command to the womb to contract. For what it is worth, all the amulets listed in n. 26-27 are dated 3rd cent. ce.

29 Mastrocinque 2014, no. 613. The cutting here is much better, and the spiral does not reach the centre.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1.
Légende Plan of the Northwest Quarter with trenches from campaigns 2012-2016 marked
Crédits © The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5637/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 729k
Titre Figure 2.
Légende Photogrammetric overview of trench S (Roman-period cistern)
Crédits © The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5637/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 926k
Titre Figure 3.
Légende Detail of the dense fill layer in trench S
Crédits © The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5637/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,1M
Titre Figure 4.
Légende Obverse of amulet with iconographic scene: Psyche and Erotes
Crédits © The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5637/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Titre Figure 5.
Légende Detail of the upper part of the iconographic scene
Crédits © The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5637/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,6M
Titre Figure 6.
Légende Reverse of the amulet: A magical word or name running around the rim of the stone. Inside this the letters run as a diminishing spiral ending dead centre.
Crédits © The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5637/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,6M
Titre Figure 7.
Crédits © The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project
URL http://journals.openedition.org/syria/docannexe/image/5637/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 595k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Richard L. Gordon, Achim Lichtenberger et Rubina Raja, « A new inscribed amulet from Gerasa (Jerash) », Syria, 94 | 2017, 297-306.

Référence électronique

Richard L. Gordon, Achim Lichtenberger et Rubina Raja, « A new inscribed amulet from Gerasa (Jerash) », Syria [En ligne], 94 | 2017, mis en ligne le 15 décembre 2019, consulté le 27 mai 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/syria/5637 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/syria.5637

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