Book 1, Kappa: Girdles of Aphrodite

1 Introduction

2 Chapter Kappa (κ) of the Cyranides


Herb: kinaidios. Fish: kinaidios. Stone: kinaidios. Bird: kinaidios.

Kinaidios the herb is supine vervain, belonging to Aphrodite (cf. Poem On Herbs 5).

Kinaidios the bird is the so-called jynx (gr. iynx, ‘wryneck’), as Cyranus says, who also cites a line from Theocritus in support: “Jynx, draw this man towards my house,” but the Attic name is iyngion, an edible little bird like quail, with a bent-back neck, as Harpocration says. It has three stones1 around its throat and a small tongue, and it is associated with Aphrodite.

Kinaidios the marine fish has the size of six finger-breadths and a broad head like that of the gudgeon (blennos). It is a round little fish, and its body is translucent so that its spine is visible through the body as through a transparent gem. They are plentiful on the seacost of Syria, Palestine and Libya. Now, it has two stones,2 and they have their own procedures, as will be explained in a while; and they are in its head. It also has another stone in the third vertebra of the spine from the tail, which is exceedingly strong, and is sought for in the girdle of Aphrodite.

Kinaidios the stone is at once well known and little known. Is is called obsidian; it belongs to Kronos. This stone is twofold: one kind is opaque and black, the other is black but reflective like a mirror.3 This is the one which many seek, but they do not know it; for it is the “serpentine” (drakontios) stone.

harmful procedures›

If someone fumigates a little of the plant together with vulture’s dung below a peach-tree, it will lose its leaves.

If the plant is laid under someone’s pillow, the one who lies on it will not be able to have an erection.

If you grind down a little of it and give it to a man to drink, he will not be able to have an erection during sex for 7 days.

If you give it to a rooster together with barley-groats, he will not tread a female.

procedure for making someone a kinaidos4

If you give someone from the stone of the kinaidios fish—which is in the third vertebra of its spine—in drink or food, while holding the stone, he will become a willing kinaidos that very day.

If you give it to a rooster together with groats, it will be frequently mounted by other roosters; and any other male animal will also be made effeminate (malthakos). Now, if you throw the stone, it will be mounted by (males of) the same animal (species) like a female. The aforementioned stone truly brings these things about.

amulets from the bird’s parts›

If one carries the tongue of the bird (enclosed) in a gold leaf, they will have favor and be loved by all, both gods and humans.

When its rump is secretly given to a person or a different male animal, he will be made effeminate and do the activities of female.

If someone carries its right eye under a stainless lapis lazuli (sappheiros) gem in which Aphrodite is engraved, then the carrier will be favored and famous among people, and will have victory over any accusation in court. The left eye does the same when carried by women.

Its blood, mixed with any kind of eye-salve and applied, causes cataracts in the eyes.

Its heart, worn as an amulet5 (perihaptomenē) while the Moon is waning, cures three-day and four-day fever.

The brain of the bird, secretly given in food or in drink, brings an end to incurable headache.

Its liver, cooked in salt and water, heals those suffering from liver disease.

the first girdle of aphrodite›

The first, most awe-inspiring girdle of the great goddess Aphrodite changes the natures of humans and all animals, and it likewise changes the thoughts of males, especially human men, so that the one who wears it as an amulet or carries it is made soft and effeminate.

Engrave into the obsidian stone a castrated man, whose genitals lie next to their feet, while the hands are reaching down, and he is looking at the genitals. Then, Aphrodite next to the back, having her back against his back, but she is turning her face around and looking at him.

Enclose the stone under the kinaidios fish. If you do not have one of those (fish) mentioned in the beginning, lay a root of the plant and the left quill of the bird under it.

Lay it in a rather broad gold socket, and place it in a strap made of sinews from the stomach of a falcon, so that it is soft, and stitch it into the middle of the strap, so that it cannot be seen.

This is the strap which is around the head of Aphrodite in paintings and sculpture like a diadem, which is called a girdle.

Now if any male wears this strap as an amulet, he will not be able to have an erection; but if he wears it without knowing it, he is made effeminate.

And if someone eats from the stone of the fish, he will become a complete kinaidos; he will never be restored to the “natural” condition.

And if a woman carries this strap, no man will be able to have sex with her; because the man will not be able to have an erection.

The measure of the strap is two fingers in breadth, five palms in length.

the 13-stone girdle of aphrodite›

Now there is also another object of Aphrodite, which queens carry, and likewise all others who have power. They put together a strap of sinew such that the stones have the engravings described below.

First, in the middle of the strap, there shall be a lychnite (a red gem, maybe garnet) or a keraunite (‘thunder-stone’), with an armed Ares as the engraving.

Strung onto the thread to either side, two diamonds with (an engraving of) the thorn of Aphrodite, i.e., (Aphrodite with) a rose-bed beside(?) her foot.

Then again on either side two stainless sapphires, with (an engraving) of Aphrodite suspended by her hair and Eros stood beside her.

Again, two other stones on either side, both sards, with (an engraving) of both Helios on a four-yoked chariot and Selene on two bulls, one on each stone.

Again, two other stones on both sides, agates with (an engraving of) Hermes with a herald’s staff in the right hand.

Two others, nemesites (‘Nemesis-stones’) laid on both sides, with (an engraving of) Nemesis with her foot upon a wheel and a staff in her hand.

Two others, stainless pearls, both unengraved are added to the girdle on both sides, so that in all there will be 13 stones.

These are placed in a gold socket so that, when they are thus sewn into the strap, they cannot be seen by the people.

selenite (‘moon-stone’)›

There are (thus) two different straps; and there follows another stone, which is worn around the neck, namely the selenite, in which the goddess—the Moon (Selene)—appears as she is waxing and waning.6

It has Selene engraved as a woman with large breasts, and under the stone, root of wild celery, all in a gold socket.

This is worn around the neck. When this mystery is carried, it makes the carrier divine (entheos), and worthy to be venerated and worshipped by all. Hence, many kinds carry it in (their clothes) or in their diadem, as a girdle, so that it cannot be seen by anyone.

They say that selenite carried in a ring brings about the same effects.


Let the teaching prevent that we make this book useless, because it has great powers. Through it, my child, with much effort and labor of the soul, I have interpreted and written these things to you. Learn it, for no one else has it. Therefore do not hand over this divine mystery to anyone.

1 Not stones in a literal sense, but some stone-like parts of its body.
2 See previous note.
3 Or translucent like a transparent gem.
4 A kinaidos is a (male) bottom in anal sex, more or less.
5 That is, bound around the body in some way.
6 If you cannot see the waning and waxing of the Moon in your piece of selenite, I would not be too concerned.