of generalized defixio
, in which the horse demon, as avenger, is thought of as destroying not a particular rival, but any and all enemies, who are therefore symbolized by the mummy. The Osirian characteristics of the mummy may be explained by the ancient Egyptian theory that through the performance of proper rites the dead person became an Osiris and therefore assimilated to the traditional type of that divinity.47
It is a very ancient belief that one person, if he knows how, can set in motion mysterious forces that are capable of controlling the will of another and of directing his emotions as the operator desires. These forces may be activated by spoken words or by ceremonies properly performed, or they may proceed from some object charged with powers such as we call magical. The κεστὸς ἱμάς of Aphrodite, which Hera borrows in order to beguile Zeus,48
is a magical object which stimulates love and desire, and after Homer allusions to love charms and philters are to be found here and there in Greek authors. It would be strange if some of the gems that are classed as magical were not made to serve this purpose. In fact, even before the time when we find stones clearly marked as magical by inscriptions or other signs, it is likely that the power of inspiring love was imputed to certain materials or to certain designs, particularly to those which depict Aphrodite or Eros.
In the late period to which the great majority of magical stones belong, love charms were most frequently written on papyrus, as a material which could carry a spell of any length desired; and the papyrus books written by masters of magic, or compiled from their teachings, provide numerous formulas to be used in this way. More important are several papyrus charms that were actually used in the hope of bringing a person, whose name and mother's name are carefully given (often repeated many times), to accept the love of another and submit to that other's desires.49
Such charms were called ἀγωγαί, from ἄγω, “to lead or
bring,” and usually some unearthly power, a ghost or a demon, is adjured to bring the loved one into the lover's presence.
How such charms were phrased may be learned from a good example, a leaf of papyrus in the library of the University of Strasbourg, written in a good book hand — which is unusual — not later than the fourth century of our era.50
The first two lines are given up to magical signs (characters) and names, one of which may be an attempt to represent the Hebrew tetragrammaton (héberbetű
) in Greek letters. Then follows an invocation of the dog-headed Anubis as god of earth, underworld, and heaven, and the petition: “Gather all thy authority and all thy power against Tigerûs, daughter of Sophia. Put an end to her haughtiness, her reasoning, her modesty, and bring her to my feet, consumed with the desire of love, at any hour of day or night,
47 Budge, Osiris, I, 67, II, 2–3; Erman, pp. 217–218.
49 PGM XV, XVI, XVII a, XIX a (very elaborate), XXXIX (Oslo 4).