The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 151.

of some kind to prove Mithraic origin, Egypt has as good a claim to such types as Persia has.
To begin with the lion, the best specimen known to me belongs to the University of Michigan.18 It is a fine piece of rock crystal, of a thick lentoid form, engraved on one side only. The lion is walking to right, and there is a star just over his back. The margin is completely encircled with the inscription Ιαω ευλαμω αβρασαξ. The word ευλαμω has been interpreted as “eternal” on the basis of the Assyrian ullamu, which has that meaning.19 A yellow jasper in the same collection shows a lion with moon and star; it is not inscribed and hence is perhaps to be classed as religious rather than magical. Still another (citrine) has the seven vowels inscribed over the lion.20 A good specimen in the Southesk collection shows the lion springing forward over a mummy; on another (yellow jasper) the lion rests a forepaw on the skull of an ox.21 The lion with the ox skull, surrounded by seven stars, is depicted on a Michigan haematite, which has on the reverse the common design of Harpocrates on the lotus with the inscription αβρασαξ Ιαω.22 A haematite specimen in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has the lion with a forepaw resting on a rounded object, evidently intended for a skull.23 Despite the fact that the lion with the skull is reported to be a common tomb device in Phrygia, and may therefore be of Asiatic origin, I hesitate to accept the Museum's tentative classification of this stone as Mithraic.24 The magical names that are engraved on both obverse and reverse, though mostly of Semitic origin, are found in Graeco-Egyptian magical papyri and on gems that are known to have come from Egypt; and the lion is a solar animal in Egypt.
Gods or demons with the head of a lion are fairly often represented on magical amulets, but there is considerable variety in the details of the types, and it is not certain that all are to be interpreted alike. The simplest and most readily understood of these shows the god standing, the leonine head adorned with seven rays. He wears a long narrow tunic, like that of the Egyptian priests, which reaches to the lower part of his legs. His right hand is raised towards his mouth, his left hangs at his side. Of four specimens that answer to this description, three have in the field or on the reverse variants or parts of the common magical formula, χυχ βαχυχ βακαχυχ βαζαβαχυχ βακαξιχυχ.25
There is little doubt that this design represents a form of Horus as god of the sun. The rays show the solar character of the deity, the lion head is sometimes given to Horus, and the gesture of the right hand is characteristic of Harpocrates, the young Horus; it resembles proskynesis, but the gesture of homage to a god is scarcely appropriate in a figure which is itself obviously intended as divine. Finally, a figure possibly intended for this lion-headed

19 Ganschinietz, ARW 17 (1914), 343 f.
20 D. 239, 238.
21 Southesk N 61, 69.
24 See p. 36 above.
25 D. 229, 230, 232; Museo Borgiano p. 453, 11. B. M. 56533 may also belong to this group; my notes do not describe the dress of the leonine figure.

Last modified: 2012-10-30 11:14:55

Related objects: 8 item(s)