20 janeiro 2019

Ancient Incantation Describes Ancient Magico-Medical Cure

A 2,800-year-old stone cosmetic container inscribed with an incantation in Aramaic has been discovered at a small building at the archaeological site of Zincirli, in southern Turkey. It describes the capture of a threatening “devourer” who could produce “fire.” The devourer’s blood is used to treat a man who is suffering from the devourer’s fire. It’s not clear whether the blood was given to the afflicted person in a potion that could be swallowed or whether it was smeared onto their body. Either way, its an example of early medicine, or perhaps something closer to magic.

The container is decorated with various animals, including centipedes, fish, and scorpions on the front and back. They offer a further clue as to the identity of the “devourer” - possibly a scorpion or centipede. The archaeologists who made the discovery report that scorpions were a danger at the site, some 2,800 years after the incantation was first written there.

One last note: in a stroke of incredible luck, the writer identifies themselves! The incantation was written by a man who practiced magic called “Rahim son of Shadadan.”

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