band. Amulets of this type are made of haematite, have the inscription Σολομων round the rider, and σφραγὶς θεοῦ, “seal of God,” on the reverse. It is to be noted that no nimbus surrounds the rider's head, and the weapon is always an ordinary spear, the barbed head of which is clearly indicated on the better specimens. These last two points distinguish the type from later types descended from it, in which a haloed rider strikes the enemy with the butt of a tall cross; thus the earlier design is Christianized.
Variations from this type are so trivial as in no way to affect the integrity of the group. On a Michigan stone, one of the largest and best of them (D. 294
), and also on two other examples,5
the spear short and the rider's hand is held no higher than his hips; on the others the weapon is a long lance, and the thrusting hand is above the level of the shoulders. A fine specimen in the Newell collection (D. 295
) omits the breast and breech bands from the horse's accoutrements. The Michigan stone that heads this group has under the reverse inscription a large key with three wards and a square bow — a symbol which emphasizes the power given to Solomon by the seal of God to bind and loose the demons. The excellent specimen belonging to D. M. Robinson (D. 296) has an ouroboros round the obverse design, and the sign
usually associated with Chnoubis, under the reverse inscription, σφραγὶς θεοῦ.
On the reverse of D. 297
there are four magical characters, and the obverse design is surrounded by an ouroboros. This specimen and Mich. 26140 are tall oblongs with the corners rounded, a shape that became common in late Roman and Byzantine times. The others are oval, like most nonmagical gems of Roman times. A stone in the De Clercq collection (3491), otherwise of the normal type, is engraved on serpentine, not haematite.
Before taking up the interpretation of these “Solomon” gems attention should be called to one that represents Solomon not as a horseman, but apparently as an orator.6
It is a green jasper from Tyre in the De Clercq collection. Solomon, identified by his name in the field, stands dressed in tunic and himation thrown over the left shoulder, thus freeing the right arm, which is raised in a gesture. The left hand holds an uncertain object, possibly a roll of manuscript. On the reverse, Gabriel Michael Ouriel Sabaoth.
Since Solomon was the richest and most splendid of the Jewish kings, endowed with exceptional wisdom and believed to exercise control over spirits and demons, it was natural that he should play a prominent part in Jewish magic. That he did so is proved by an interesting passage in Josephus7
and by the Testament of Solomon
the greater part of which describes the king's interview with a long series of demons, whom he compels to disclose
5 Schlumberger, Mouterde as cited in note 3; Matter, Pl. 8, 10.
6 De Ridder 3490. The editor uses right and left of the figure as seen on an impression, not on the original. This is unfortunate since the inscriptions show that the figure was meant to be looked at directly.
7 Josephus Ant. Jud. 8.45–48.
8 C. C. McCown, The Testament of Solomon, especially Chapters 3—18.