40. PMich 757 (=inv. 6925)
2nd to 4th centuries A.D.
Text: (Top): vowel-column, followed by ablanathanalba-triangle, aeêiouô-triangle, iaeôbaphrenemoun-etc.-triangle, ôuoiêea-triangle, akrammachamarei-triangle, two vowel-columns. (Bottom) aberamenthô oulerthexa n axethreluo ôthnemareba, I deposit this binding spell with you, chthonian gods -- Pluto and Kore uesemmeigadôn and Koure Per- sephone Ereschigal, and Adonis, also called barbaritha, and chthonian Hermes-Thoth phôkensepseu earektathou misonktaich, and mighty Anubis psêriphtha, who holds the keys to those in Hades, and chthonic spirits (and) gods, and those who suffered an untimely death, boys and maidens, year by year, month by month, day by day, night by night, hour by hour. I adjure you, all spirits in this place, to assist the ghost. Rouse yourself for me, ghost, whoever you are, whether male or female, and go into every place, into every quarter, into every house, and bind Kopria, whom her mother Taesis bore, the hair of whose head you have, for Ailourion, whom his mother named Kopria bore, that she may not submit to vaginal nor anal intercourse, nor gratify another youth or another man except Ailourion only, whom his mother named Kopria bore, and that she may not even be able to eat nor drink nor ever get sleep nor enjoy good health nor have peace in her soul or mind in her desire for Ailourion, whom his mother Kopria bore, until Kopria, whom her mother Taesis bore, whose hair you have, will spring up from every place and every house, burning (with passion), and come to Ailourion, whom his mother named Kopria bore, loving (and) adoring with all her soul, with all her spirit, with unceasing and unremitting and constant erotic binding, Ailourion, whom his mother named Kopria bore, with a divine love, from this very day, from the present hour, for the rest of Kopria's life. For I adjure you, ghost, by the fearful and dreadful name of him at the hearing of whose name the earth will open, at the hearing of whose name the spirits tremble with fear, at the hearing of whose name the rivers and seas are agitated, at the hearing of whose name the rocks are cleft, by barbaritham barbarithaam chelmobra barouch ambra Adônaiou and by ambrath Abrasax sesengenbarpharangês and by Iaô Sabaôth Iaeô pakenpsôth pakenbraôth sabarbatiaôth sabarbatianê sabarbaphai mari glorious marmaraôth and by Ouserbentêth and by Ou(s)erpatê and by marmarauôth marmarachtha marmarachthaa amarda maribeôth. Do not disobey my commands, ghost, whoever you are, whether male or female, but rouse yourself for me and go into every place, into every quarter, into every house, and bind Kopria, whom her mother Taesis bore, the hair of whose head you have, for Ailourion, whom his mother named Kopria bore, that she may not submit to vaginal nor anal intercourse, nor gratify another youth or another man; and that she may not even be able to eat nor drink nor get sleep nor be at peace in her soul or mind in her desire, day and night, for Ailourion, whom his mother named Kopria bore, loving (and) adoring him with all her heart, with all her spirit, like her own soul, Kopria, whose hair you have, loving with a divine love, until death, Ailourion, whom his mother named Kopria bore. Now now quickly quickly! (characteres and vowels). (Top, right) (vowels) marza maribeoth. Do not disobey my commands, ghost, whoever you are, but rouse yourself for me and go into every place, into every quarter, into every house and bring Kopria, whom her mother Taesis bore, whose hair you have, to Ailourion, whom his mother named Kopria bore, burning, blazing, melting away in her soul, her spirit, her feminine part, loving (and) adoring with a divine love, until death, Ailourion, whom his mother named Kopria bore. Now now quickly quickly! I am barbadônaiai barbadônai who conceals the stars, who preserves heaven, who establishes the cosmos in truth. Iattheoun iatreoun salbiouth aôth aôth sabathiouth iattherath Adônaiai isar suria bibibe bibiouth nattho Sabaoth aianapha amourachthê satama Zeus atheresphilauô.
This elaborate defixio is unique for its size (most defixiones are much smaller) and complexity. It is also unusual because several different "versions" of it are known, and there is an extant recipe-book -- like the ones in cases 1 and 2, only much longer -- which contains instructions for the preparation of these very tablets (PGM IV.296-434). A comparison of these defixiones shows no two to be identical, and none follows exactly the instructions in the extant recipe-book -- a vivid testimony to the great variations which occurred when recipes were passed on from one individual to the next and each practitioner found ways to improve a recipe's efficacy or adapt it to changing circumstances. The extant recipe calls for the preparation of two voodoo dolls -- of an armed male and a naked female, down on her knees with her hands tied behind her back -- and for the penetration of the female figurine with 13 copper needles, in key points of her body. (One of the other defixiones of this type indeed was found together with a clay female figurine, with the needles still sticking out of her body.) Both the (now lost) figurine and the lead tablet (folded, to judge from the cracks) were deposited in the grave of someone who had died violently or prematurely, so that the restless ghost -- "whoever you are, whether male or female" -- would search for Kopria and "deliver" her into Ailourion's hands. To help the ghost in its task, something intimately connected with the victim -- in the present case, some of Kopria's hair -- was attached to the figurine. The mention of the protagonists' mothers, rather than fathers, is the normal procedure in such instances, presumably because one's mother is known for certain, while one's real father is not.
Bibl.: David G. Martinez, PMich 757: A Greek Love Charm from Egypt, Ann Arbor, 1991.
41. PMich inv. 1444
1st to 3rd century A.D.
An incantation, written in Demotic (late Egyptian script), against a private individual, invoking a spirit of the dead and the jackal-headed
god Anubis, who is noted in the text and depicted at the bottom, shooting the victim with a bow and arrow. Given the mutilated condition of the text, many details remain in doubt.
Bibl.: Unpublished. The above information provided by Robert K. Ritner, who is preparing the text for publication. For the invocation of a ghost, cf. no. 41.
42. PMich inv. 3565
6th century A.D. or earlier
Text: + Al + o + daughter + of Ae + se ++ and Phibamon e ô ô ô ô ô ô ô I write; I adjure you, Saôt Sabaôt, that you receive this incense from me and speak a word to my advantage over Alo daughter of Aese. Ha[..]ouel, you must bring loss and grief. May the adjuration go (up) to heaven until you act on my behalf against Alo daughter of Aese. Upon Alo shall (the) curse (of) God come. May the darkness take her, Alo daughter of Aese. From afar (?) you (pl.) must beg this one (?) to receive this incense from me (?). The curses of the Law and Deuteronomy will descend upon Alo daughter of Aese. May hunger and misery rule the body of Alo and Phibamon. May their eyes .... May furnace flame(s) come from the mouth of Alo daughter of Aese. May (the) curse (of) God descend upon Alo and her entire house(hold). May the fear of death be in Alo's house. May you make them bedridden. Amen, Amen, Sabaô[th]! Apa Victor son of Thibamon.
A Coptic curse of Apa Victor against Alo daughter of Aese and against Phibamon. Why exactly he wanted to curse them is unclear. Note that Apa Victor invoked the curses of the Law (the Pentateuch) and Deuteronomy (cf. esp. Deut 28:15ff) upon his enemies' heads -- a not uncommon practice among both Jews and Christians. Although this Christian curse employs no voces magicae or characteres, it does display vestiges of pre-Christian, "international" magic, such as the vowel-sequence in line 2.
Bibl.: Meyer-Smith, no. 104.
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