Byzantine Talisman with Old Testament Scenes

$1,167.04

A Byzantine cast bronze flat oval talisman incised on both sides and with a loop for suspension at the top; such amulet is known as φυλακτήριον in Ancient Greek. The front features an incised decoration depicting the scene of Solomon spearing Lilith, the personification of evil. Solomon is surrounded by the inscription ΕΙΣ ϑΕΟΣ ΝΙΚΟΝ ΤΑ KAKA, which translates to: “The one God overcomes the evil”. On the reverse, the pendant features the depiction of the “Much suffering eye”, attacked by two lions, a snake, a scorpion and a stork from below, a trident and four spears from above; a Greek inscription ΙΑΩ ΣΑΒΑΩΣ ΜΙXΗΑ ΒΟΗΘ. Both iconographic motifs symbolise the victory of good over evil.

another inscription with names of archangels over 

Date: Circa 5th-6th Century AD
Condition: Very fine, beautiful green patination all across. Suitable for modern wear with care.

SOLD

SKU: CS-287 Category: Tags: , , , , , ,

Such an item is also referred to as a Solomon Seal, as both scenes are inspired by the Testament of Solomon, an apocryphal text, probably written in Egypt by a Greek speaking Christian between the 1st and the 3rd century AD. The image of the “much suffering eye” protected the wearer from the Evil Eye, which could do harm by its very glance. These talismans were considered to bestow their magical protective power on the wearer and they usually displayed an image accompanied by an inscription that could also be read out loud by the wearer upon need to ward off malign spirits. Old testament scenes were common to both Jews and Christians, so such amulets could be employed by both, although such a practice wasn’t officially accepted by the Church, but represents the ancient legacy of wearing amuletic pendants with apotropaic powers. 

Weight 10.3 g
Dimensions H 5 cm
Culture

Christian Ideology

Metal

Region

Reference: For a similar item, The Walters Art Museum, item number 54.2653

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