to have no purpose, for the design apparently contains no astrological element; it is perhaps remotely possible that the eagle suggested the constellation Aquila, but stars and crescents are so often engraved on magical amulets that their use came to be merely a matter of routine.
The purpose of this design was made clear by Professor Eitrem's publication of a Copenhagen haematite with a slightly varied version of the same design. This is an oval haematite, almost intact; a splinter has broken away from the left side. In this example the man carrying the bag stands on the ground, and the eagle's wings are folded, though the lapidary has placed a large garland behind the eagle's shoulders in such a position as to resemble the raised and fully extended wings.58
Over the design is a crescent between two stars, and there is another star in the field between the man and the eagle. Over the tips of the garland is a curious object which Eitrem thought to be, perhaps, a magical basket. Viewed from the front it presents, below, a narrow horizontal parallelogram, crosshatched, whose ends are prolonged upward and terminate in knobs. From them slanting lines descend in such a manner as to meet in the middle of the upper boundary of the parallelogram. Thus the upper part consists of two right-angled triangles meeting at their lower acute angles. On the back of the stone is the inscription πρὸς κωλάνεμον. Although κωλάνεμος is not to be found in the lexicons, there can be no doubt about its meaning. Eitrem rightly pronounced the stone to be an amulet for colic; and he supposed the man to represent the demon of colic.
This interpretation was carried a step further by my suggestion that the part of the colic demon was taken by Aeolus, the god of the winds, who might naturally be imagined as carrying the sack of winds on his back. Such exploitation of mythological personages for magical purposes is well attested in magical papyri and gems, and to some extent even in literary sources. If Aeolus represents the colic demon, it would seem natural to take the eagle as the counteracting, curative influence.59
Some evidence for the eagle as good magic is cited in the article where I discussed these amulets, but, as will be shown shortly, there is a better reason for his presence.
I owe to the keen observation of Mr. Henri Seyrig some further light on this peculiar type.60
He called my attention to the fact that the design upon both the Michigan and the Copenhagen amulets was copied rather closely from certain coins of Neapolis in Samaria.61
In the reign of Philip the Elder (Philip the Arab, 244–249), Neapolis was given the ius Italicum
, and, like other towns so favored, set up in some public place a copy of the “Marsyas” of the Roman forum, really a Silenus carrying a skin of wine.62
58 On some coins of Caracalla struck at Caesarea in Palestine a wreath is set over the lifted wings of an eagle, fitting into their curve, or else is placed behind the wings in such a manner as to continue their upward curve without a break; see Seyrig, Syria, 13, 356–357, figs. 1–2.
61 B. M. Cat. Palestine, p. 64, 118–120, with Pl. 6, 17–18, Pl. 39, 13; also Hill's introduction, xxv, xxviii, xxix, xxxiii.
62 See PW X, 1249 (Von Premerstein); XIV, 1993 (Burckhardt); Roscher, II, 2, 2444.