The reverse bears an intaglio design, more Egyptian in style, representing the god seated on a lotus capsule, holding a whip over his left shoulder. Below is the inscription Μέγας Ὧρος Ἀπόλλων Ἁρποχράτης εὐίλατος τῷ φοροῦντι, “Great Horus Apollo Harpocrates (be) propitious to the wearer.” The object is evidently a trinket of a kind which, as Pliny said, was fashionable in Rome, and the inscription, like some that we have already considered, is in itself little more than a posy, conveying a brief wish for the welfare of the wearer, like the numerous specimens with χαῖρε, vivas
, etc. From these, however, the use of a divine type sets it apart, as does the addition of magical words on other stones.
Here belong also two amulets that have been mentioned before12
and will be described in detail later — the closely similar rock crystals in the Boston Museum and the Newell collection, bearing the inscriptions, here given in normal spelling, ἵλεως τῇ ἐμῇ ψυχῇ καὶ τοῖς ἐμοῖς τέκνοις, and ἵλεως τῇ ἐμῇ ψυχῇ καὶ τῷ ἐμῷ βίῳ,13
“Be gracious to me and my children,” “Be gracious to me and my property.”
Another prayer which seeks a benefit of a general nature is δὸς χάριν τῷ φοροῦντι, “Grant favor to the wearer.” In this simple form it is found on the bevel of a jasper amulet in my collection (D. 206
) which shows on the obverse Harpocrates seated on a small raft — not the more common lotus flower — surrounded by triads of adoring animals; the reverse has the formula χαβραχ φνεσχηρ φιχρο φνυρω φωχω βωχ, which, as I have shown elsewhere, is the “sacred name” whose value, according to the Greek alphabetic-numerical system, is 9999.14
On another interesting but unfortunately damaged stone, also in my possession (D. 355
), δὸς χάριν τῷ φοροῦντι is a certain restoration. Here also it occurs in connection with Harpocrates, in this instance seated on a lotus. It is a reverse design; the obverse is an elaborate type which will be examined later. Instead of the phrase “to the bearer” the name of the owner is cut in an inscription on a Cassel gem belonging to the same general type as the two just described. The obverse is Harpocrates on the lotus with a worshiping baboon facing him, and the acclamation εἷς Ζεὺς Σάραπις in the field; the reverse has a confused version of the χαβραχ formula followed by two common magical words, βαινχωωωχ and αβρασαξ, and the brief petition δὸς χάριν Ἀλεξανδρ[. The omission of the last letter leaves the sex of the owner in doubt.15
In such charms the meaning of χάρις will vary according to the circumstances of the petitioner, but “favor” and “success” are in general the most suitable words, particularly when the user of the charm is a man who desires to stand well in business relations and be kindly treated by his superiors in station.16
The scope of the petition is broadened in an inscription published
11 Eckhel, Choix des pierres gravées du Cabinet Impérial, Pl. 30. In connection with the form of the inscription the editor cites one reported by Spon, Miscellanea, p. 297, εὐτύχι πανοικὶ ὁ φορῶν.
15 Kopp, Palaeographia Critica, IV, 266.
16 For a good discussion of the meaning of χάρις in magical texts see Nock's note in Bell, Nock, and Thompson, Magical Texts from a Bilingual Papyrus, pp. 259–261.