Sacred Texts  Gnosticism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Gnostics and Their Remains, by Charles William King, [1887], at

p. 303



p. 304



p. 305



THE inscriptions in Greek characters upon Gnostic talismans are frequently interspersed with mystic figures, formed out of straight lines set at right angles to each other, and intermingled with dots. These lines Bellermann plausibly enough supposes to represent the "sacred lots," of the same nature as the celebrated sortes Antiates, held in the hands of the much-consulted Fortuna of Antium. In their usual form these lots were only little sticks and balls, taken up by the handful from an urn, and thrown at random on the ground. The diviner examined the patterns thus produced by their casual collocation, and predicted the future from them according to the rules of his art. Bellermann goes on to suppose that the figures on our talismans represent certain configurations of the lots, regarded as peculiarly lucky to the consulter. This explanation is supported by the Geomancy of the modern Arabs, * where lines drawn at haphazard on the sand by a stick held between the fingers are interpreted by persons professing that method of divination. Our own divination, by means of tea-grounds, is carried on upon the same principle, the fortuitous arrangement of the

p. 306

particles producing to the experienced eye definite pictures and letters of the alphabet.

These Siglæ, however, may possibly have had another origin. The regular badge of the Magus, as prescribed in the Vendidad, is a bundle of divining-rods--three, seven, or nine in number. Hence the rebuke of Hosea: "My people ask counsel of sticks, and their staff declareth it unto them." These same divining-rods placed upon the altar are commonly represented upon the Magian signets, bearing for official type the Mobed at his devotions; and may therefore be supposed to have passed down to the talisman-makers of later times. *

That others amongst these angular forms are numerals is certain from the nature of the case, and from Horapollo's express declaration that the Egyptians represented 10 by the figure , and 100 by the same four times repeated in the form of a square, thus . Ten being the "perfect number" of the Valentinian creed (whose fountain-head was Alexandria), its frequent appearance amongst the religious formulæ of the sect is naturally to be looked for. The primitive Egyptian numerals were of the simplest kind, but their abbreviated combinations ultimately became distinct symbols for the different days of the month, and out of these the Arab astrologers concocted their own system. This circumstance affords reason for another solution--that some of these siglæ indicate the particular days connected with the astrological intention of the talisman. 

And besides all these, there is every probability that these siglæ include actual cuneiform letters, belonging to the Assyrian alphabet, but their forms somewhat corrupted by the semi-

p. 307

[paragraph continues] Greek wizard, who employed them in ignorance of their true nature. The Assyrian language being considered as late as the times of Iamblichus peculiarly grateful to the heavenly Powers, what more reasonable than that some at least of these invocations should continue to be couched in their original cyphers? Be it remembered, the cuneiform character was the national one of the whole Persian empire down to the Macedonian conquest, and must have been preserved in religious usages long after that event by the Magi. They, at least, were a very unlikely class to trouble themselves about the Greek alphabet or Greek literature, professing, like the Talmudists, a pious horror for both. This is well exemplified on the restoration of the native dynasty under the Sassanians; Greek, employed for four centuries by the Parthian line, is at once expelled from the coins by the Pehlevi character, true daughter of the primitive cuneiform. There is moreover one all-sufficient reason for seeking the origin of these inexplicable siglæ at Babylon: they constituted a religious stenography. The Babylonians "attached to each god a certain numeral, which may be used in the place of his proper emblem, and may even stand for his name in an inscription" (Rawlinson, 'Anc. Monarchies,' iii., 466). To give those of the principal deities:

First Triad: Ann = 60; Bel = 50; Hoa = 40.
Second Triad: Moon = 30; Sun = 20; Air = 10.
Beltis, or Mylitta = 15; Nergal, or Mars = 12; Niu, or Saturn = 10.

Of the other planets the numerals have not been discovered; but their names are, Nebo, Mercury: Merodach, Jupiter; Ishtar, Venus.

The great gods are Anu, Pluto; Bel, Jupiter; Hoa, Neptune. Their consorts are, respectively, Anat, Beltis, Davkana. The minor gods are, Sin, or Hurke, answering to the later Lunus Deus; San, the Sun; Vid, the Æther. Their respective consorts are, "The Great Lady "; Gula, or Anahit; Tula, or Shula. The Pythagoreans had a symbolism of the same nature, denoting Minerva by an equilateral triangle, Apollo by unity; Strife, by the numeral two; Justice, by three, and the Supreme Being by four (Plat. De Is. et Os. 75). * I find a very strong confirmation

p. 308

of my belief that the Gnostic Powers were similarly designated by their numerals, in Raspe's gem, No. 601, where CΕΝΓΕΝ is inscribed in the exergue under a serpent coiled into a cartouche containing several of the siglæ under consideration. Now this legend (to be explained farther on) is, when written in full, always followed by the names of the Archangels, whence it may justly be inferred the same names are still here, but represented in their mystic form. *

"The Great Names" constitute the very essence of every Gnostic spell. To begin, therefore, with their consideration is obviously the most appropriate and propitious mode of approaching this part of our work--pandere res alta terra et caligine mersas. There are three titles perpetually occurring, and consequently to be supposed denoting beings of the highest importance in the Gnostic hierarchy of heaven. Their meaning was unknown until the fortunate discovery of the grand Valentinian gospels. The Pistis-Sophia informed us (§ 361) that they are the holy Names of the Three Τριδύναμεις, who are ΙΨΑΝΤΑΧΑΙΝΧΕΟϒΧ, a Power emanating from whom resides in the planet Mars; ΒΑΙΝΧΩΩΧ in Mercury; and ΠΙCΤΙC CΟΦΙΑ, in Venus. Above this Triad is one still higher, the "Three Unseen Gods," ΑΓΡΑΜΜΑΧΑΜΑΡΕΓ, ΒΑΡΒΗΛΩ (the Heavenly Mother of Jesus), and ΒΔΕΛΛΗ (§ 359).

The "Five Words" written upon the shining vesture sent down to Jesus at His glorification (§ 16) were ΖΑΜΑ 

p. 309

[paragraph continues] ΖΑΜΑ ΩΖΖΑ ΡΑΧΑΜΑ ΩΖΑΙ--"The robe, the glorious robe of my strength." The same revelation furthermore imparts to the faithful the mystic names of the planets. "Hearken now, I will tell unto you the Incorruptible Names of the Planets, which be ΩΡΙΜΟϒΘ, Saturn; ΜΟϒΝΙΧΟϒΑΦΩΡ, Mars; ΤΑΡΠΕΤΑΝΟϒΦ, Mercury; ΧΩΣΙ, Venus; ΧΩΝΒΑΛ, Jupiter. These be the incorruptible names of the same" (§ 362). Of these, the names from each Triad are to be recognised upon talismans, ΒΑΙΝΧΩΩΩΧ most commonly of all; but no example of these planetary appellations has hitherto come to my knowledge.

The Naaseni (says Hippolytus) taught that the universe could not hold together unless the names of the Great Ones (τὰ μεγέθη) were uttered. These were ΚΑϒΑΚΑϒ, ΣΑϒΑΑΣΑϒ, ΖΕΗΣΑΡ. "The first is the name of the Adamas who is above; the second, of him who is below; the third of the Jordan that floweth upwards." "Above are Mariamne the Sought-after, and Jothor the great and wise; and Sephora she that seeth; and Moses." According to the text-book of another sect, the Peratæ, ΧΩΖΖΑΡ is the Power whom the ignorant and profane call Neptune: ΚΑΡΦΑΚΟΣΗΜΟΧΕΡ is the Steward of the East: ΕΚΚΑΒΑΚΑΡΑ of the West; called by the vulgar the Curetes. ΑΡΙΒΑ is the Ruler of the Winds; ΣΩΚΛΑΜ, or Osiris, rules the twelve hours of the night; ΕΝϒΩ, or Isis, those of the day: her sign is the Dog-star. ΒΗΝΑ is Ceres, or the Left-hand Power of God, presiding over nutrition; ΜΗΝ is the Right-hand Power that presides over the fruits of the earth. In the same doctrine, chozzar, called by the ignorant Neptune, "who converts into a sphere the dodecagonal pyramid, and paints with many colours the gate of that pyramid," has Five Ministers, ΑΟϒ, ΑΟΑΙ, ΟϒΩ, ΟϒΩΑΒ; the name of the fifth being lost. Hence it is probable that the strings of vowels, so often found on these stones, may contain the names of elementary genii similarly expressed.

Origen (viii. 58) quotes Celsus to the effect, that the Egyptians made six-and-thirty (or more) dæmons or ætherial powers preside over the several parts of the body, giving some of their names, Chumis, Chuachumes, Knat, Sichat, Bou, Erou, Eribiou,

p. 310

[paragraph continues] Romanor, and Reianoor: "Whoever therefore prefers being in health to sickness, and happiness to trouble, ought to pay all possible honour to these Powers." Origen therefore accuses Celsus of attempting to divert men from the worship of the one God to that of six-and-thirty dæmons, only known to Egyptian magicians, because he cannot understand how "the Name of Jesus, pronounced by the truly faithful," can cure the sick and those possessed by devils; the evidence for which is far stronger than that of the effect of the names of Chnumis, Sichat, and the rest of the Egyptian catalogue. In another place (i. 22) he shows it was not Moses only that knew the name of Abraham and his friendship with God, for that others (pagans) use the words "the God of Abraham" when they are driving out devils. And again the Egyptians use in their rites, from which they promise wonderful effects, the names of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Israel. Also (iv. 33) Origen mentions the use of the form "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob" in incantations, and that the same is often to be met with in books of Magic. He adds that the formula "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, who didst overwhelm the Egyptians and the King of the Egyptians in the Red Sea," was in common use against demons and the Powers of Evil. All this goes to prove that the talismans inscribed with the name of Chnumis and the other thirty-five dæmons named (who now by this assistance may be hereafter recognised) were of a medicinal character, whereas those with "Abraham," equally common, were more properly of the nature of talismans.

In the Book of Enoch the Archangel Uriel gives us the mystic names of the two great luminaries: "The names of the Sun are these, one Aryares, the other Tomas. The Moon hath four names: the first, Asonga; the second, Ebla; the third, Benase; and the fourth, Erai."

The Pistis-Sophia (§ 125) furnishes the adept with the key to the most important of the numerical cyphers. "These be the Names that I will give unto thee, even from the Infinite One downwards. Write them with a sign (cypher?) that the sons of God may manifest (understand?) them out of this place. This is the Name of the Immortal One, ΑΑΑ ΩΩΩ. And this

p. 311

is the name of the Voice through whose means the Perfect Man is moved, ῙῙῙ These likewise are the interpretations of the names of the Mysteries. The first is ΑΑΑ, the interpretation thereof ΦΦΦ. The second which is ΜΜΜ, or which is ΩΩΩ; the interpretation whereof is ΑΑΑ. The third is ΨΨΨ, the interpretation whereof is ΟΟΟ. The fourth is ΦΦΦ, the interpretation whereof is ΝΝΝ. The fifth is ΔΔΔ, the interpretation whereof is ΑΑΑ, the which is over the throne ΑΑΑ. This is the interpretation of the second ΑΑΑΑ, which is ΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑ, and the same is the interpretation of the whole Name."

To pass from the cyphers, where all is guess work, to the actual inscriptions, engraved legibly enough in the Greek character, but presenting us with what Jerome aptly terms mere "tormenta verborum." Many of the more common formula, Bellermann, by the aid of Hebrew, Coptic, and Syriac, * has satisfactorily explained; of others his interpretations are manifestly absurd. ΑΜΑΡΓΕΑ seems to be the Chaldee Amarchel, a president. ΑΝΟΧ ΧΟΛ ΧΝΟϒΒΙC, "I am All the Good Spirit, or the Universal genius of good." ΑΙΝ ΘΑΡΡΑΙ, "The eye shall. behold." ΑΔΟΝΑΙ ΛΑΝΤΑΛΑ, "Lord! Thou art the Lamb."  ΧΩCΑ ΜΙΛΑΩΘ exactly represents the Hebrew words signifying "He hath seen the Pleroma."

is rendered by Stiechel "Salama zebaam jatzael" = "Peace unto the army of these" (of the celestial Æons)! This agrees with

p. 312

the benediction pronounced by the Marcosians in administering the holy unction, "Peace be unto all upon whom this holy Name rests!"

Some of these inscriptions display an evident affectation of obscurity by their transposition of parts of the same word front one line to another, the only key to which is the observing the different sizes of the characters employed, and taking those of the same size as belonging to the "disjecta membra" of the same word. A most instructive example of this artifice is supplied by the legend cut on the reverse of a magnificent Serapis head (Wood), which reads thus:

[paragraph continues] This will only be translatable if transposed as follows: ΙΑΒΑΤΟΡ. ΘΟΝΑΤΗC. ΛΑΙΛΑΜ. ΑΡΒΑΘ. ΙΑΩ. "Jehovah, the Pure Æther, the Fire, * for ever, the Four, Iao," where "the Four" signifies the Tetrad, so conspicuous in the Theogony of Marcus. This legend seems much of the same nature as the Greek one cut on a piece of copper (communicated to me by Prof. Ch. Babington): ὁ διὰ πάντων Νοῦς αἰθὴρ, πὺρ, πνεῦμα, ἐλωεὶν ἐλωεὶν (Elohim). The only word in the first legend not reducible to Hebrew is Θονατ, but it seems to correspond to the "Æther" of the copper piece, ΑΡΛΑΝΑ ΘΑΜΑΚΑ ΣΑΛΒΑΝΑ ΧΑΜΚΙΜ, "Our Light, let thy goodness grant unto us a full lap": whence the object of such a talisman would seem to be the procuring of fecundity. 

ΑΝΑΚΛΑ ΑΚΔΑΑΘΩΙΩΙ, "Pursue then (my foes) unto destruction, O Lord," is found very appropriately engraven on the reverse of a sphinx, the recognised emblem of power and slaughter.

p. 313

ΒΑΡΙΑ ΖΑΣΤΑ ΙΑΩ, "Jehovah the Creator, the Destroyer." Chaldee slightly corrupted.

ΙΑΘΑΙ, "The providence of God."

ΜΑΘΑΝΕ, "The honour of God."

ΡΕΟϒΗΛΕ, "The will of God."

ΧΩΜΙ, "The power of God."

ΣΒΩ "Wisdom."

These Coptic words thus designate the Five Emanations from the Godhead--viz., Phronesis, Logos, Nous, Dynamis, Sophia.

‏מֵאִיר עֵינִי‎

"enlightening mine eye,"


‏מְאִירֵנִי‎ -- ii

"enlightening me,"

Meireni                             M’ireni

[paragraph continues] If ΗΝΑΜΕΡΩ and ΜΑΡΩΗΝΙ are really the same, it will be conclusive against ii, where the eni is an affix. The form then might be

‏עֵינִי מֵאִיר‎


Query what of the Ω?

ΙΘΙ placed on each side of the Chnuphis serpent engraved in green jade (S. S. Lewis) is correct Hebrew for "With me," which gives an appropriate sense if understood as a prayer for the constant presence of the protecting Spirit.

ΜΕΣ ΧΑΝΑΛΩ* "The Messiah be propitious unto me."

ΜΑΡΩΗΝΙ* "Enlighten mine eyes."

ΚΑϒΛΑΚΑϒ. The Basilidan name for the Saviour is written by Epiphanius ΚΑϒΛΑΚΑϒΧ, who ridicules it as an expression taken from Isaiah (xxviii. 10) without any regard to the

p. 314

real meaning of the words. Bellermann, however, thinks he has found a more sensible derivation for the title in Arabic, signifying "Strength upon strength," that is, the "All-powerful"; or else in the Coptic ΚΑΒ, "a lamp," and so implying "The burning and the shining Light."

ΜΟϒΘ, "Mother," Plutarch informs us (De Is. et Os.), was a title given to Isis. This word contains a plain allusion to the earth, "lutum Prometheum," whence Man was taken. ΜΟϒΘ and ΙΕΟϒΔ are translated by Sanconiathon as "Hades" and "Only-begotten," the offspring of the Phœnician Cronos.

ΝΟΟΤ for the Coptic ΝΟϒΤ, "God."

ΜΑΙ ΜϒΜ ϒΧΛϒΜ ΩΙ, "Being, Fount, Salvation, Food, Iao": implying that Iao is the source, food, life, and salvation of the soul.

ΟΡΩΡΙΟϒΘ, "Light of Light." *

ΤΑΛΑ ΑΡΑΙΩ ΩΑΡΑΟΡΟ ΝΤΟΚΟ ΝΒΑΙ, "Protector, Creator, rule, speak, O Lord," is a very common formula.

ΣΕΣΕΜΕΝ ΒΑΡΑΝΓΗΝ ΙΑΩ, written with many variations, and followed by the names of the great Angels, has been ingeniously deciphered by a learned Hebraist (Rev. R. Sinker) as representing the sound of "Shengab hor anje Jehevoh," "They that stand before the Mountain of God," that is, the Angels of the Presence. 

ΧΑΙΑ, "Life," is seen on a field of the Roman gem bearing two figures of Providentia, with the Sun and Moon on the field overhead (Major Pearse).

Three Greek characters often occur in juxtaposition--viz., the Ε set on its back, a vertical line crossed by two horizontal strokes, and Ζ. They stand for the numerals 5, 3, and 7, the Triad, Pentad, Heptad--lucky and sacred numbers in the religious notions of the East. For the same reason the inscriptions on our gems will be found to be arranged for the most part in either three, five, or seven lines. This also accounts for the name Iao being often written with its elements repeated

p. 315

[paragraph continues] ΩΑΙΑΩ* for the sake of obtaining the venerated numeral, five. And, again, by introducing another vowel, Η, the Holy Name is repeated under five different forms, ΗΑΙ . ΑΙΗ . ΗΙΩ . ΑΙΩ . ΙΑΩ.

The Priest officiating, commonly figured in these designs, wears upon his head the "calantica," a square of purple cloth whence spring two flamingo feathers; a badge which made πτερόφορος a synonym for the Egyptian priesthood. The staff in his hand, emblem of his office, has the serpent coiled five times about it. This "sceptrum sacerdotale" furnishes the true explanation of the meaning of many ancient insignia, beginning with Moses’ wand, then the club of Æsculapius, and closing with its derivative the rod in the spiral of SSS that so constantly goes with the Agathodæmon serpent upon the Chnuphis gems.

As for the geometrical figures so often introduced, they may be supposed to have had much the same import here as in the formulæ of the Rosicrucians, who obtained these with other Gnostic paraphernalia probably by tradition from the Arabs; for their pretended founder, the Great Unknown A. S., is declared to have acquired his small learning at the College of Damascus. In their system the Square stands for the Four Elements; the Triangle for the body, the spirit, and the life: and also for Sun, Moon, and Mercury. The last Triad Paracelsus interprets by salt, sulphur, quicksilver--the three radical forces of Nature according to his system. The Rhombus represents the Orphic Egg, out of which issued the whole Creation.

Phœnician Numerals may, from the very nature of the case, be looked for amongst the marks that cannot be referred to the Greek alphabet. The notation was simplicity itself: one to nine being expressed by vertical strokes, so many times repeated; ten by a horizontal one; twenty by two such parallel to each other, sometimes slightly curving together. In the

p. 316

[paragraph continues] Palmyrene notation five has a special cypher, a sloping line upon which in the middle stands another at right angles.

It was to be expected that Samaritan characters should make their appearance upon the productions of a religion of which the reputed founder was a Samaritan, whose professed followers also formed an important sect as late as the times of Hippolytus. Stiechel interprets the reverse legend on his above-quoted gem as having its commencing words written in this alphabet: thus

qui tenet. / signum sat. / ejus sanat. / exorcista corpus. / facultates. / et vitam. / fiat! fiat!

He also points out that the important word "Auth"=sign or token, is written in these legends in four different ways: ΘVΟ, ΕVΟ, ΕΙW, VΙΕ.

It is possible that in certain legends the letters, taken in an order known to one having the key, would give a definite meaning; and this suspicion is supported by the reversing of some of the characters. Certain it is that the Donatists adopted such a device in order to disguise their proscribed war-cry from the victorious Catholics. A door-lintel at Tebessa exhibits the well-known formula thus--

to be read by the brethren "Deo laudes dicamus." A second lintel bears the same in monogram.

The most famous spell of all, ABRACADABRA, is first mentioned by Serenus Sammonicus, the most learned Roman of his times, and physician to Caracalla, to whom he dedicated his poetical 'Guide to Health,' entitled 'De Medicina præcepta saluberrima.' This work, remarks Spartian, was the favourite study of the unfortunate Cæsar, Geta, for attachment to whose cause this true son of Apollo was afterwards put to death by the imperial fratricide. Severus Alexander also, "who had known and loved Serenus," greatly admired his poetry, putting

p. 317

him on a level with Horace, as Lampridius’ expressions seem to intimate. This high authority orders the word to be written out in the form of an inverted cone, and declares it of virtue against all diseases.

"Thou shalt on paper write the spell divine,
Abracadabra called, in many a line;
Each under each in even order place,
But the last letter in each line efface.
As by degrees the elements grow few
Still take away, but fix the residue,
Till at the last one letter stands alone
And the whole dwindles to a tapering cone.
Tie this about the neck with flaxen string;
Mighty the good ’twill to the patient bring.
Its wondrous potency shall guard his head--
And drive disease and death far from his bed."

The belief in the virtue of this recipe flourished through the Middle Ages. It seems alluded to in the 'Dialogue on Masonry,' ascribed by Leland to Henry VI.; for amongst "the things that Masons conceal" is "the winnynge of the facultye of Abrac": perhaps signifying the possession of this mystical arrangement of letters: unless, indeed, one chooses to suspect in this "facultye" a deeper sense, some traditionary knowledge of the ancient Abraxas religion. Again, De Foe mentions how people commonly wore the word written in the manner above prescribed, as a safeguard against infection during the Great Plague of London.

As for the etymology of the word, the most satisfactory yet offered is the compound of the Hebrew Ha-Brachah, "blessing," and Dobara, "speak"; meaning the "Blessing of the Mystic Name"--that is, utter the Tetragrammaton, invoke the Holy Name of Jehovah, itself the mightiest of charms. *

It is very remarkable, considering its high repute, that no Gnostic stone bearing such an inscription should be known to exist. On the other hand that normal address to Iao, ΑΒΛΑΝΘΑΑΛΒΑ, "Thou art our Father!" is so found on talismanic jaspers arranged in the exact pattern recommended by

p. 318

[paragraph continues] Serenus for the paper spell, and probably so done in compliance with his directions. One is strongly tempted to discover in this same Ha-Brachah the real origin of the equally famous title "Abraxas." The Greek letters, constantly in use for numerals, at once presented their numeric value in every word to the practised eye of the Kabalist.

The celebrated letter of Christ to Abgarus was (according to Cedrenus) sealed with the initials of the seven Hebrew words, whose Greek interpretation was Θεὸς Θεοθὲν θαῦμα θεῖον. At the mere sight of the seal the king was healed of his gout and of his blade leprosy, all but a slight trace upon the face remaining to be cleansed by the waters of baptism. Cedrenus' Greek reads like a popular formula, and may serve to explain the legend on the reverse of an Abraxas gem in my possession, ΙΧΘΕΘΩΗΙΑΙΑΩ, as to be read Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸσ Θεὸς ἐκ Θεοῦ Ιαὼ, "Jesus Christ, God of God, Jehovah." This inscription encloses the letters ΙΗ placed conspicuously in 'the centre, and which probably represent, as nearly as the two discordant alphabets allow, the Hebrew letters Jod, He, the Kabalistic name of the Tikkan, "Express Image," or First Emanation of the Godhead.

The Crescent and Seven Stars, amongst which are scattered the mystical Seven Vowels, has for reverse this formula:--

Its first line, but written ΑΧΘΙΩΦΙ, is cut in beautiful characters on the reverse of a caduceus within a wreath. Sinker reads it as ‏עקר יפי‎, Essence, Beauty: probably the rest are names of virtues. It is inconceivable that the Sephiroth--mightiest spell of all--should be omitted in these gems. It is made up of the Ten attributes of Jehovah--viz., The Crown, Wisdom, Prudence, Security, Magnificence, Goodness, Glory, Victory, Fortitude, Kingdom. There is consequently a probability that these Names often lurk in the phonetic Hebrew, enveloping all in darkness. We have for guide the analogy of the present Arab talismans, consisting of the ninety-nine epithets of Allah written on a scroll.


305:* "Each tribe either found or introduced in the Caaba their domestic worship; the temple was adorned or defiled with 360 idols of men, eagles, lions, and antelopes; and most conspicuous was the statue of Hebal, of red agate, holding in his hand seven arrows, without heads or feathers, the instruments and symbols of profane divination."--Gibbon, chap. 42.)

306:* The ancient Teutons practised the same method of divining future events. A shoot of a fruit tree was cut into pieces, each being distinguished by certain marks, notis quibusdam, probably meaning "Runes." The consulter threw them down at random on a white cloth, with eyes turned to heaven he took up three separately, and interpreted the response from the inscriptions upon them,--(Tacitus. Germ. x.)

306:† Some of these siglæ may be recognised in the inscriptions in an unknown character, cut in the hard sandstone rock, and very numerous about Silsilis, Upper Nubia, where they accompany figures of elephants, giraffes, and ostriches--all animals long since extinct in that country. Specimens were published by Greville Chester in the 'Archæological Journal' for 1861, p. 274.

307:* In the Egyptian Ritual papyrus, Thoth is addressed as "the second Hermes by his mystic name of the god A."

308:* The Turks represent the Great Name Allah by an oval crossed with intersecting lines, which is often seen stamped on their old armour, for an amulet. Now this very mark occurs in the Gnostic set, and it is more than probable that its true meaning is preserved in the Turkish tradition.

308:† In Goodwin's 'Magic Papyrus' the Serapean Divination (No. 1) names this Power: "Appear and give heed unto him who was manifested before Fire and Snow, Βαινχωωχ, for Thou art he that did make manifest Light and Snow, Terrible-eyed-thundering-and-lightning-swift-footed-one." This papyrus, now in the British Museum, was bought of Atanasi, Swedish Consul at Alexandria: who sold several others of the same nature to the Leyden Library. All are supposed to have been found together in a catacomb at Thebes, and to have formed the stock of some magician of the second century of our era, as the handwriting leads us to infer. Goodwin edited the Brit. Museum specimen for the Cambridge Antiquarian Society in 1852, and enriched it with notes giving invaluable assistance to all who study Gnostic remains.

311:* Prof. Stiechel, in his essay 'De Gemma Abraxea nondum edita,' Jenae, 1848, hay acutely and satisfactorily elucidated some very important formulæ, giving a key to the whole class. The necessity for employing Oriental languages in spells is curiously illustrated by Hippolytus’ statement, that the magicians of his time used to write the answers to the questions proposed to their demons, partly in Hebrew, partly in Greek letters.

311:† ΑΡ ΩΡΙ, followed by the Greek words ΦΡΑCΙC, ΦΑCΙC, ΙΑCΙC, "Declaration," "Manifestation," "Healing," is always attached to a figure of Venus Anadyomene, and admits of the translation 'Mountain of Light." The Venus therefore seems adopted here for the "Virgin of Light," who holds so high a place in the celestial hierarchy of the Pistis-Sophia. At any rate the sense of ΑΡΩΡΙ, "Mountain of Light," strongly favours this acceptation.

312:* ΑΒΡΑΜ, which often occurs in these legends, may perhaps refer to the Rabbinical "Seir-Anpen," the Primitive Man, made up of 213 numbers, the numerical value of the Hebrew letters in the name.

312:† ΗC represents the Hebrew word for "Fire": and this explanation is confirmed by the ΤΟ ΦΩC ΠΥΡ ΦΛΟΞ accompanying a figure of Phre on a gem elucidated by Froehner in his 'Byrsa,' part i.

313:* The Syrian Alexander Severus expresses his indignation at the sight of a certain notorious rogue, Arabianus, coming to Court, by exclaiming "O Marna, O Jupiter," &c., where his native "Our Lord" he renders by "Jupiter," for the benefit of his Roman hearers. This word the monkish transcribers very naturally converted into "Maria." ΗΝΑΜΕΡΩ, which often accompanies the figure of the Cynocephalus, seems to be equivalent to the phrase in the text: and as that beast belongs to Thoth, god of knowledge, this interpretation has at least appropriateness in its favour.

314:* This legend always goes with the udder-shaped vase of the Isiac rites.

314:† Γαβριηλ, Μιχαηλ, Ραφαηλ σενγε(ν)β αρανγην Ιαω.

‏ג׳ מ׳ ר׳ שֶׁנֶּגֶב הַר עַנְגִין יְיָ‎

σεγεν βαρ ένχε

‏שׁנּגב הר ענג‎

315:* Stiechel has a very ingenious explanation of this permutation of vowels; he makes it express different tenses of the Hebrew verb to exist, thus--

ΙΕΩΑΙΗ = vivit existens.

ΑΙΩΟVΕV = isque est Iao.

ΑΙΗΑΗΙΩΗ = existens vivit.

ΩΑΙΗΟΨΕ = isque Iao.

317:* By the mere utterance whereof the philosopher Theosebins, though unacquainted with magic, was able to cast out devils from all who applied to him for aid.

Next: The Name ΙΑΩ