i.e. “for the hip; an approved (δόκιμον) cure.”20
The form σχίον must underlie the late Latin scia, sciaticus (whence our “sciatica”); the manuscripts read sciadicos dolores in Pliny N. H. 26, 42, where the editors print ischiadicus. Any lingering doubt about the meaning of σχιων on these amulets would be removed by the inscription of one belonging to Mr. Seyrig, σχίων θεραπία, “cure for the hips.”21
The choice of this particular type as a remedy for pains in the hips seems to be explained by a naďve reasoning. Reapers, of all laborers, seem most to need the power of free and supple movement from the waist; perhaps to a sufferer from lumbago or sciatica a reaper in the fields seemed to be immune from such tortures, and hence the figure of a man reaping grain would be good magic for his ailment. As Seyrig puts it, the sciatic patient would like to be able to do such work when his cure is accomplished.
A few variations on the type described deserve mention. The University of Michigan has a round flat orange carnelian which shows the reaper in the usual attitude, but the lapidary has humorously added a bird perched on the back of the stooping man.22
Since there is no inscription on the reverse, this specimen might be considered a rather crude piece of genre work with no magical meaning. But the attitude of the reaper, and still more his dress, shows that the design is only a variant of a type well known as an amulet, and it also probably belongs to that class.
One of Mr. Seyrig's three specimens of this type has an unusual form.23
It is a rather thick trapezoidal pendant, apparently of steatite. A projection above was pierced with a suspension hole, but the upper half of the projection has broken off. On the obverse side below the hole is a small remnant of a bronze clasp or mounting, which has stained the stone by its corrosion. The obverse bears in rather shallow cutting the reaper design, showing nothing unusual except that the man's cap is sharp-pointed. On the reverse instead of the usual σχίων there are several letters from which I can get no meaning, arranged in four lines.
Another specimen in the Michigan collection illustrates the previously noted tendency to combine in one amulet types associated with the cure of different diseases.24
This is a small broad oval plate of a black slatelike stone which has not been exactly identified. A projection at the top is neatly pierced for a cord in the plane of the flat surface. One side shows the characteristic design of the uterine amulets, the other the reaper bending to his work under an overarching tree, the trunk of which is behind him. An ibis is perched on a limb of the tree over the reaper's head, and from the same limb a wineskin is suspended. The man's cap has a tall peak on its top. This side has no inscription, and a few letters that are legible on the reverse make no sense. The combination of two designs which had different purposes
20 University of Michigan Library, MS. 136, 1. 221. This is a small vellum codex of seven leaves originally eight; edited by W. H. Worrell, Orientalia, 4 (1935), 17–37.