The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 206.

the frog sits on a lotus suggests a connection with Harpocrates and the sun.121
Σοροορμερφεργαρβαρμαφριουριγξ. With numerous minor variants, this formula appears on a large number of uterine amulets which show as the central feature of the design the so-called “mystic vase,” really a conventionalized representation of the womb. The legend is normally cut round the margin of the stone, outside the ouroboros, which usually encloses the design.122 Because of this position the lettering is often abraded, and hence the formula is inaccurately reported. The same formula is cut on a few Chnoubis amulets which, as is well known, were mostly intended to prevent or cure stomach diseases.123 Its use on such amulets as these would seem to mark it as a medical charm; yet in the rare cases where it is found in the magical books it seems to be treated merely as a “general purpose” formula. It occurs in an invocation of Iao, which shows a rather marked Jewish character, and in a charm that is apparently addressed to the sun-god.124
Σθομβαοληβαολσθομβαλακαμσθομβλη. The text of this outlandish legend is established by collating three carefully lettered amulets that bear it. One has an obverse design of Helios driving his four-horse chariot, another has the common type of Harpocrates surrounded with animals grouped in threes, the third is on the reverse of an enthroned Sarapis.125 All three are solar divinities, for Sarapis took on solar attributes, and in the period of our amulets was identified with Sol Invictus. The inscription is found, in somewhat corrupt form and with no accompanying design, on two amulets in the British Museum, and is also reported by Gori.126 I do not think that occurs in the magical papyri; but on the previously cited curse tablet (Wünsch, 4, 34), the operator calls upon Σθομβλοην as lord of sleep. It may be an ab-breviation of the long formula.
At this point a comment upon these four long formulas is in order. The first of the group has recognizable parts; but after Har, Chnouphis, and nefer have been eliminated, the residue resists linguistic analysis. In the other three no elements of known languages are recognized unless, in the second, αρβαθ is to be connected with αρβαιηθ, which, Thompson thinks, may be “Horus the Falcon.”127 The sound of all these formulas, with their heavy, mouth-filling syllables, may indicate that they were deliberately invented for their impressive sonority.
On the other side it may be suggested that the unintelligible magical formulas are fragments of ancient liturgies, whether Egyptian or Semitic, piously repeated through many generations, during which knowledge of the old sacred language was gradually lost, and becoming more and more corrupted

121 Southesk N 78.
122 Cf. Southesk N 38, 40, 44.
123 B. M. 56020; Southesk N 14, 16; Chabouillet 2186; and a specimen belonging to Mr. Seyrig (D. 86).
124 PGM IV, 1567; XII, 172 f.
125 D. 228, 203, 17. A broken haematite in my collection has the latter part of the formula with a figure of Harpocrates on the lotus (D. 355).
126 B. M. 56097, 56176; Gori, Inscr. Etruscae, I, 456.
127 Sir H. Thompson in Magical Texts from a Bilingual Papyrus, ed. Bell, Nock, Thompson, p. 35.

Last modified: 2012-11-01 22:43:57

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