dedications Sarapidi Neptuno
The accepted type of Asklepios is not far removed from that of Sarapis, and the latter divinity is sometimes represented with the Asklepian attribute of a serpent coiled round a staff. A green plasma in the Ruthven collection,93
showing a bearded god standing and holding out a patera, while a serpent coils round his scepter, would usually be taken for Asklepios; but the stone came from Egypt, and there is an inscription with the word Iao and some of the magical vowels. It may be a fusion of Sarapis with Asklepios.
The figure of Pan is occasionally seen on stones of undoubted magical character (D. 59
), and a Greek might seek his help for various reasons. He was believed to give fecundity to animals, especially to domestic flocks and herds; he was also supposed to cause sudden fright and stampedes among cattle, and panic terror, epilepsy, and delirium in human beings. Either the benevolent or the sinister side of his nature might prompt a dabbler in magic to invoke his aid or propitiate his anger. But since so many magical amulets are of Egyptian origin or affected by Egyptian ideas, it is possible that the goat-legged figure may not represent the Greek Pan, but a Hellenized Egyptian god whom the Greeks identified with their Arcadian deity. Min, the ancient ithyphallic god of Chemmis, is best attested as the Egyptian equivalent of Pan, but there was some confusion about the matter. Herodotus (2, 46) seems to have regarded the sacred goat of Mendes as an Egyptian Pan, while ram-headed deities such as Chnum were sometimes identified with him. In any case the connecting link must have been the idea of a god who could give sexual power and fertility, and the few amulets that represent Pan are perhaps to be interpreted in that light.
Ares was little worshiped in Greece, and a leading authority suggests that he was at first hardly more than a personification of warfare, or at most a daimon
of war, placed among the gods by the influence of Homer.94
His connection with Aphrodite is due largely to the memory of Odyssey
8, and this literary association of the two deities is perpetuated on many gems, some of them possibly magical.95
Certainly magical are some designs in which Ares is present merely as a symbol and vehicle of power, as in the now well-known stone in the British Museum which has on the obverse Ares, on the reverse the words Ἄρης ἔτεμεν τοῦ ἥπατος τὸν πόνο[ν, “Ares has cut the liver pain.''96
The sort of magic exemplified by this amulet carries no suggestion of Egyptian or Oriental influence; its method might be illustrated by similar charms from various countries, but the divine name marks it as Greek.
92 CIL III, 3637; VIII, 1002. I take these references from the article on Sarapis in PW Ser. 2, II, 2421.
94 M. P. Nilsson, Griechische Religionsgeschichte, p. 488.
95 See A. Blanchet, “Venus et Mars sur les intailles,” CRAI 1923, pp. 220–234, and compare the love charm in PGM IV, 296 ff., where two figures are to be made of wax or clay, one a bound and kneeling woman, the other, Ares threatening to stab her. See also D. 159.