The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 85.

Bonner, SMA – PDF, 85.

tentacles extending downwards. The Fouquet stone to be mentioned in the next paragraph has a similar reverse design, except that in this instance the scarab seems to have the head of a cynocephalus.

Another inscription adduced by Delatte even more important because it enables us to understand the mysterious yet almost always present word Ορωριουθ. A gem belonging to the Fouquet collection bears a long invocation to the demon or spirit that guards the womb — whether one demon called by various names or several distinct beings is not certain.26 There is no need to repeat the whole text here; the words μήτρας γυναικῶν κύριος Ορωριωουθ Αυβαχ not only identify Ororiouth as a special demonic power concerned with the generative functions of women, but also show that this whole class of amulets, one of the most numerous of all, was intended for the relief of ailments peculiar to the female sex. There is also some evidence that the name Ororiouth might be applied to the organ itself; this extension of its use seems to be attested by the Syrian stone published by Jalabert and Mouterde, and cited below for another purpose.

Delatte's most significant contribution to the understanding of this type is not concerned with the inscriptions, nor with the vessel, for there others had at least pointed the way. But seeing that the curious crank handle, in combination with the bars of the gratinglike object at the mouth of the vessel, is nothing but a schematic representation of a large key, he was the first to bring this point into a significant relation with the rest of the design.27 The symbolism of the key in connection with either the promotion or the prevention of conception can be easily understood, and certain idiomatic expressions in various languages make it clear enough. Delatte cites a medieval Greek text which prescribes the use of a key in a charm intended to prevent conception, or, perhaps more probably, to insure that no rival shall have access to the woman on whom the spell is hid; and since his work came out Eitrem has published a much older text wherein the name φυσικλείδιον is given to a formula which lays claim to the power of making a woman accessible to the user of the charm, but to no other.28

We may therefore treat it as definitely proved that the vessel shown on these amulets is a conventionalized representation of the uterus, and that the lines proceeding from its top represent the Fallopian tubes, the others the ligaments that hold the organ in place. The various deities shown in connection with the design are to be regarded just as in other amulets; they exercise control over the department of human life to which the amulet ministers. In some cases the appropriateness of the individual deities is obvious. Isis as a guardian of women and Harpocrates as a divine infant are naturally associated with the functions of reproduction, and the comical dwarf Bes is known to have been regarded, even from dynastic times, as a

26 Barry, op. cit., pp. 241–242, Pl. IIA; Delatte, op. cit., p. 80.

27 Lenormant (as quoted by Vincent, Mém. Soc. Ant. de France Schwartz - Schwartz on CBd-1314, p. 5, n. 1) had recognized the key many years before, but seems to have written nothing on the subject.

28 P. Oslo. I, No. 1, 283–294.




Cf. Dasen 2019, comm. ad Bonner, SMA 79–94



Last modified: 2019-08-03 09:32:10

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