ingly that a certain design known to earlier students as the “Mystic Vase” is in reality a stylized representation of the uterus, intended to cure maladies affecting that organ.52
Yet a specimen of this type in my own collection is inscribed on the reverse ἐπὶ ποδία, “for the feet”; the diminutive, by the way, is of some lexicographical interest.
A more important source of confusion is the variation in magical practice as taught by different masters, or as applied by different lapidaries. One example of this is so striking that it is worth citing at some length. In one of the Berlin magical papyri (PGM I, 143 ff.), immediately after a long λόγος consisting of many magical words and addressed to the sun, there follow these directions: “The image (ἀνδριάς) engraved on the stone is a lion-faced Heliorus holding in his left hand an orb (πόλος) and (in the right) a whip, and round about him an ouroboros (i.e., a serpent with his tail in his mouth), and under the bottom of the stone this name (keep it secret) : acha achacha chach charchara chach.”
The words “in the right” (τῇι δεξιᾷ) were added by Nock, and the supplement is certainly correct. The word translated “bottom” is ἔδαφος, which leaves us a little in doubt whether the legend was to be placed on the reverse of the stone or under the ground line of the design, i.e., in the exergue; the fact that τοῦ λίθου follows ἔδαφος rather favors the former alternative. Heliorus (Ἡλίωρος) is Preisendanz's reading; the papyrus shows only ωρος preceded by a sign which Preisendanz interprets as a corrupt symbol of the sun. Even if this point be called into question, Horus must stand as against the conjectures of other editors because of the solar relations of this deity, and perhaps also because the first of the prescribed magical words is found elsewhere in connection with Horus.
Now I know of five amulets, and have minutely examined four of the five, which have for their principal design a lion-headed figure holding a whip in the right hand and an orb in the left, corresponding exactly to the description in the Berlin papyrus.53
They differ from it only in certain particulars that have nothing to do with the principal design, as follows. First, all five are cut on rock crystal, while the design in the papyrus is to be cut on a stone which will be brought to the operator by a hawk (! cf. l. 6). One may infer that it is the so-called ἱερακίτης, which seems to be unidentified; from Pliny N. H.
37, 167, it would seem to have been colored like a hawk's plumage. Further, the papyrus directs that the design shall be encircled by an ouroboros; but this motif, which is extremely common on flat stones, would have been ineffective on the crystals, all of which are cut en cabochon
, and it does not appear on them. Finally, all five bear inscriptions that agree closely, not taking into account personal petitions that are added on two of them, and all differ entirely from the inscription that the papyrus
52 A. Delatte, in Musée Belge, 18, 75–88.