Thursday, October 24, 2013

Curse Tablet Found in Jerusalem

Ancient Magic Curse Tablet Found in Jerusalem : Discovery News

"I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys," part of the curse reads in translation. Kyrilla asks the gods to ensure that "he in no way oppose, so that he say or perform nothing adverse to Kyrilla … but rather that Iennys, whom the womb bore, be subject to her…"

To obtain her goal Kyrilla combined elements from four religions, Robert Walter Daniel, of the Institut für Altertumskunde at the University of Cologne, told LiveScience in an email. Of six gods invoked, four of them are Greek (Hermes, Persephone, Pluto and Hecate), one is Babylonian (Ereschigal) and one, Abrasax, is Gnostic, a religion connected to early Christianity. Additionally, the text contains magic words such as "Iaoth" that have a Hebrew/Judaism origin.

Archaeologists have found a curse tablet dating from the 3rd century C.E. in the ruins of a mansion in Jerusalem. The tablet was probably made by a magician for someone named Kyrilla and was directed at a man named Iennys. It invoked the assistance of six gods from three pantheons, and contained an plea to Underworld daimons:

come to me, you who are in the earth, chthonic daemon, you who rule and bind…

The mansion itself was destroyed in an earthquake that hit the area 1,700 years ago, and other priceless artifacts were found along with the tablet. I would love to see the box detailed below. What were the carved bone fragments for, and why were they in a box dedicated to Dionysos. Was it religious? Magical? Or was it just a bit of decoration?

Archaeologists Doron Ben Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, both with the Israel Antiquities Authority, told LiveScience in an email they discovered the remains of mosaics and frescos that contain geometric and floral motifs near the tablet. They also found carved bone fragments from a box that depict the "Triumph of Dionysus," a Greek god, along with maritime imagery such as seahorses.

Here is a picture of some of the magical symbols used in the tablet, enhanced by me:

And here they are traced over:

Finally, a picture of a gem cameo depicting cupid, also found in the remains of the mansion:


And, finally, my thanks to the About Pagan/Wiccan Twitter feed for posting the news.

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