The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 110.

similar to those seen on the British Museum gem, though the arrangement is never exactly the same.
This amulet gives us still another instance of the mythological parallel. In homoeopathic magic a material substance or a physical process will serve for comparison when a physical effect is aimed at — “As this wax melts in the fire, so may Delphis waste with love” — but the magic may be stronger if the sorcerer can compare the result he seeks to accomplish to something widely known among men, the faithlessness of Theseus, the hate of Typhon and Osiris, the death of Memnon.
If the foregoing interpretation is right, it is possible that we should recognize other instances of harmful magic in some rather obscure amulets that represent a human being mutilated or fettered. The most noteworthy of these is a crimson jasper in the Metropolitan Museum.26 The obverse exhibits one of the commonest of all magical types, the cock-headed demon with snake legs, with a whip in his right hand, as usual, and a shield on his left arm. The inscription is also very common, ablanathanalba abrasax, with a few letters indistinct. But the reverse is unique. A male figure stands facing front, clad in a short-sleeved tunic, kilt, and boots; but its severed head and hands are to be seen in the field, the head, injured by a chip in the stone, over the left shoulder, a hand on each side of the trunk opposite the wrist from which it was cut. Jets of blood spurt from the neck and wrists.
Certain spells in the magical papyri call upon the “headless demon,” and this being has been made the subject of studies by Delatte and Preisendanz, to whose researches we shall return later.27 But the headless man on the Metropolitan gem does not correspond to a descriptive clause in two invocations that are addressed to him — τὸν ἐπὶ τοῖς ποσὶν ἔχοντα τὴν ὅρασιν —28 nor to a drawing which shows his hands intact.29 There is no reason to think that the figure on the amulet is anything but an ordinary man whom an enemy has chosen to mutilate in effigy in order to do him actual harm. This was doubtless the real purpose of the maker, and the anguipede of the obverse either serves to screen the intention or at most to invoke demonic sanction for it. This may account for the fact that the amulet is made of red jasper, a material rarely used for representations of the cock-headed god;30 green jasper and bloodstone are most commonly employed, but other dark stones are sometimes used.
An objection to the interpretation just offered must be mentioned. If the object of the New York amulet was to destroy a particular enemy by homoeopathic magic, one would expect to find his name on the stone, for the importance of using the exact name of the hated person was well understood.

27 A. Delatte, “Études sur la magie grecque V (Akephalos theos),” BCH 38 (1914), 189–249; K. Preisendanz, Akephalos (Beihefte zum Alten Orient, 8, 1926).
28 PGM VII, 234, VIII, 91.
29 PGM I, Pl. 1, 2.
30 The cock-headed demon with snake legs is cut on a red jasper in the De Clercq collection (De Ridder 3443).

Last modified: 2012-11-05 11:12:48

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