The CBd
Bonner, SMA, 213.

the bird and the altar is not present. The inscription is Ιαω σαβαωθ πινω. Nothing new is to be learned from the descriptions of two similar pendants given, without illustrations, by Beaudouin-Pottier and Le Blant.22 In the one the inscription is Ιαω σαβαω πινω, in the other only the last word. An unpublished pendant in the British Museum (56323) contributes little; here the ostrich is tied to a peg driven into the side of the altar, which is indistinct. The inscription is πινω.23
Mr. H. Seyrig has published a variant of this type, which is in the museum of the American University at Beirut.24 The ostrich design takes the place of the rider on the obverse, while the reverse is occupied by an inscription. The altar is here a mere pillar to which the ostrich is tied; but the cord bowed upward as in my pendant, apparently for no other reason than because the engraver wished to make the line correspond to the curve of the bird's lifted wing. The usual πινω is at the top. The reverse inscription, κύριε βοήθι Σαλόμῃ ἣν ἔτεκε Ναρτηρ, ends with the Hebrew letters héberbetűk, probably, as Seyrig suggests, a repetition of the name Salome rather than the word shālom, “peace.”
As for the word πινω, which usually accompanies this ostrich and snake design, and never varies in spelling, one would naturally take it for the verb πίνω; but since the meaning “I drink” seemed inappropriate, Eitrem proposed to take it as equivalent here to καταπίνω, devour.”25 To this view I also inclined, thinking. that such a use of the word might be a peculiarity of Graeco-Syrian speech. Seyrig, however, is right in saying that there is no evidence to support this equation of πίνω with καταπίνω, and may be, as he holds, that the word is meant for πεινῶ, “I am hungry.” But πεινῶ was meant, it is hard to see why the itacism should be so consistent. Perhaps the error occurred on the first specimen manufactured in some important workshop and was slavishly copied.
Seyrig correctly observed that the bird tied to a pillar or an altar is a motif akin to, and probably derived from, a common Egyptian type of stomach amulet which shows an ibis tied to an altar (D. 77-82). The voracious bird, with his extraordinary powers of digestion, was doubtless supposed to be a good exemplar, according to a principle of homoeopathic magic, for a weak stomach. The imperatives πέσσε, πέπτε, and εὐπέπτει, one of which usually inscribed on the back of such stones, are addressed to the ailing stomach rather than to the bird — here I disagree with Seyrig — for πέσσε is found on another kind of stomach amulet (the Chnoubis stones), in which the ibis has no part. As for the Syrian pendants, comparison of the accessible specimens and illustrations makes clear that the bird is almost always an ostrich, not an ibis. The reverse side of a Byzantine medal in my possession

22 Beaudouin-Pottier, BCH 3 (1879), 266, 2.5; Le Blant, 750 Inscriptions, No. 219 (Mém. Acad. Inscr., 36).
23 There is no amulet of this type in the Newell collection, as an error of memory led me to say in Proc. Am. Philos. Soc., 85 (1942), 471, n. 25.
24 Berytus, 1 (1934), 1–5.
25 <i>Forhandl. i Videnskapsselskapet i Kristiania, 1921, 18.

Last modified: 2012-11-01 23:38:25

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