The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 97.

treated not as an abstract idea, but as a personification of the envious glance that works harm. The inscription, with its praise of Sarapis, has nothing to do with the obverse type, which probably represents Isis; but. these divinities are so closely linked that one suggests the other. The same inscription was associated with a Sarapis type on an onyx which Gori reported in 1726; its present location is unknown.7
Like this in purpose, but with a different formula, is a black stone in private possession at Susa in Tunis. The obverse design is the sun-god drawing a bow. An inscription on the reverse seems to have been intended for μὴ θίγῃς μου, βασκοσύνη, διώκει σε Ἥλιος; but the reading is uncertain, and the word βασκοσύνη is abbreviated in a most unusual manner (βκσν).8
Phthonos (Envy) is definitely personified on a remarkable stone in Mr. Seyrig's collection (D. 148). I know nothing exactly comparable to it, but it seems to be a genuine work of the late imperial period. It is a smoky-gray agate showing a naked male figure, the body turned to the front, the head to the spectator's left, the hands held high on the chest. A large snake is coiled round the whole body of the man, its head just behind his. The man is assailed by various creatures; a bird pecks at his eyes, a small scorpion attacks the crown of his head, another his phallus, a third his left knee, and there is a centipede at each elbow. His feet rest on a bar which has a ring or knot attached to it — perhaps a suggestion of shackles. In the field at left is the word Φθόνε, at right ἀτύχι, “Envy, bad luck to you!"
The commonest of all amulets to ward off the evil eye consists of an apotropaic design which has been found on numerous monuments, and which, though subject to slight variations, remains the same through several centuries. It represents the eye, wide open, subjected to various injuries and assailed by a variety of animals, birds, and reptiles. The technical name of this design, which has not been noted by previous writers, is to be found in a curious passage of the Testament of Solomon.9 The king has before him the thirty-six stoicheia or decans of the zodiac, each of whom is made to tell his name and the nature of his hurtful work, and also the means by which he may be driven away or defeated. The thirty-fifth says: ἐγὼ καὶ Ῥὺξ Φθηνεὼθ καλοῦμαι. βασκαίνω πάντα ἄνθρωπον. καταργεῖ με ὁ πολυπαθὴς ὀφθαλμὸς ἐγχαραττόμενος; “My name is Rhyx Phtheneoth. I cast the glance of evil at every man. My power is annulled by the graven image of the much-suffering eye."
A fairly typical example of this “much-suffering eye” might show it wounded from above by a spear, a trident, or by one or more daggers; while from the sides and below a dog or a lion tears at it, cranes and ibises peck at it, scorpions, snakes, creep up to bite and sting it. In some examples there are no weapons, the eye being surrounded on all sides by ferocious and

7 Gori, Inscr. Etruscae, I, lxiv.
8 Bull. arch., 1922, pp. lxvi, lxvii; Suppl. Epigr. Graecum, IX, 2, No. 818. For the διώκει formula cf. pp. 43, 63, 76.
9 McCown's edition (1922), 18, 39.

Last modified: 2012-11-05 11:09:07

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