The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 120.

incantations, others are credited with various marvelous powers. Yet if stones engraved according to the prescription were found, and the corresponding instructions were lost, the purpose and virtues of the amulets would remain obscure. Nobody could conjecture that the lion-headed Horus, a fairly common type, was required by at least one master of magic for a procedure aimed at gaining control of a familiar spirit (δαίμων πάρεδρος);61 and even the elaborate design involving Eros, Psyche, and Aphrodite, which is prescribed in the love charm called the Sword of Dardanus,62 would tell us little without that text.
Bearing this in mind, we may tentatively assign to the magical class some of the common designs showing Ares and Aphrodite together. A blue paste in the Michigan collection represents at the left, Ares facing right, wearing a crested helmet and short-sleeved tunic girt about the waist; his right hand holds his spear with the point down, and his left rests upon the rim of his shield, which leans against his knee.63 Aphrodite at the right, nude to the waist, is turned towards Ares and extends her right hand towards his neck. In her left she holds a mirror. The inscription ἡ χάρις, which occurs on a good many gems, in this instance seems to mark the gem as an amulet intended to give its wearer favor with the opposite sex.
The example of the Sword of Dardanus can be better applied to the next two gems; and in order that the possibility of their possessing a magical character may be clearly understood, we must examine the account of that remarkable spell. The first thing required, according to the magician's recipe, is a piece of magnetite engraved with this design: Aphrodite riding astride the back of Psyche, holding her hair with her left hand, binding it up. Below this group Eros stands on a globe, holding a lighted torch with which he burns Psyche. Inscriptions containing only magical words and names are to be cut above Aphrodite and under Eros. On the reverse are Eros and Psyche embracing each other. The stone is to be duly consecrated, whereupon the operator places it under his tongue, pronounces a long invocation to Eros and prays the god to give him the love of So-and-So — the name to be supplied. There are still other ceremonies that belong to this praxis, but they are of no importance for our purpose.
R. Mouterde recognized this design on a rather poorly executed stone which was the occasion of his monograph “Le Glaive de Dardanos”;64 but if the text of the Ξίφος Δαρδάνου in the Paris papyrus had not been preserved, he would have been obliged to relegate the stone to the well-known series which we may call “the sports and quarrels of Eros and Psyche,” merely adding that, to judge by the magical inscriptions, the stone played some part in a love charm. Where recognizable magical inscriptions are absent, as on the stones to be described next, the magical character of the objects can only be suggested as a possibility, without actual proof.

61 PGM I, 143 f.
62 PGM IV, 1722–1745.
64 “Le Glaive de Dardanos,” pp. 53–64.

Last modified: 2012-11-05 11:15:42

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