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  • To a beautiful soul. Inscriptions on lead mirrors (Collection of Roman Antiquities, Hungarian National Museum)

    There is a collection of several hundred small Roman lead mirrors (former private collection) in the Hungarian National Museum. Greek or Latin inscriptions can be read on 17 mirrors. The present study publishes these items along with the drawings of the inscriptions. Such mirrors were found mainly in graves of women, functioning as escorts to the souls of the dead and as apotropaic amulets.

  • A Rhodian amphora handle in a private collection in Hungary

    Publication of an amphora seal signed with the name Ainêtôr, from a Hungarian private collection.

  • Sequences of charakteres in some circus defixiones in Latin from Hadrumetum

    A peculiar feature of a series of curse tablets from Hadrumetum, published by Audollent in his Defixionum tabellae (1904) and in a further study dated 1906, is that they contain four recurring sequences of magical charakteres. One of the sequences occurs on a single tablet, another on three tablets, the third in five, and the fourth is found 34 times on ten tablets. In each case the context is a curse against chariot-teams, i.e. charioteers and horses. Since the names of some charioteers show up on nearly all the tablets in the group, we may assume that the series was written over a relatively brief number of years. This inference is supported by the fact that the appearance and physical size of the tablets differ considerably. From these data we can conclude that there was a circle of magicians, using the same handbook and specialising in chariotracing, who invented the recurring sequences of charakteres, though – as far as we know – their innovation was not adopted in other regions.

  • A Protecting Curse

    The maskelli maskello spell was mostly used to increase the effectiveness of curses on curse tablets and in recipes of magic papyri. Curiously, the incantation appears in the texts of three amulets, one of them on a magic gem preserved in Leiden.

  • Shields dropped

    Ancient sources regarded throwing away one’s shield as a punishable crime in Greek poleis, and their testimony has been accepted by modern scholarship. However, if we read the accounts of actual instances of shield-dropping, we find that the interests of the whole community often took precedence over the demand to penalize shield-droppers.

  • Magic Symbols (Charaktêres) on North African Curse Tablets as a Regional Feature

    This study examines the practice of magic symbols in North Africa to find out whether there was a regional peculiarity in the use of charaktêres that distinguished this area from other parts of the Roman Empire. Two phenomena appear to be more common in North Africa, though they may also occur elsewhere: first, charaktêres as encrypted names, and second, charaktêres as framing devices. First and foremost, though, some introductory remarks concerning charaktêres in general are made.

  • Hieroglyphs in Greek Magical Texts?

    The paper examines hieroglyphs and magic signs resembling hieroglyphs attested in Greek and demotic magical texts.

  • Valerius and Decoratus Crescens on CIL III 15169

    The paper examines a rediscovered inscription (CIL III 15169) and its dating. It raises the question why the relief depicts one man, though a father and his son were buried under the gravestone.

  • The Island of Laws

    According to the well-known opinion of Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Plato was not familiar with Cretan customs when he wrote the Laws. If we compare the text of Nomoi with Cretan law inscriptions from the 7th-5th centuries, we can conclude that Plato’s knowledge of the laws of Cretan poleis was more profound than it had been assumed. It is especially true in the case of the regulation of alcohol consumption on the basis of Laws 666a-b and an inscription form Eleutherna (Nomima II.98; Lupu 323).