On Stones and their Engravings

Categories: Elements of Ritual > Stones > Collections
Elements of Ritual > Astral Magic > Ancient Manuals

1 Introduction

These two Latin texts (translated from Greek?) are some of the few surviving ancient texts of “magic” that cover all seven classical planets and only them (something we know must have been fairly common, as there are many Arabic examples of such texts that are clearly based on Greek exemplars). Both texts are fairly short, listing seven gemstones and their appropriate engravings; however, the second text provides some elaborations by offering three different engravings in each case, one for each of three social castes in Greco-Roman society: the freeborn, freedpeople and slaves. To my knowledge, this feature is unique among extant ancient magical works.

2 On Stones and their Kinds and On their Engravings

On stones and their kinds.

The stones pertaining to the seven signs. Given below are the seven stones which people must have as phylacteries (‘protective amulets’) for the sake of healing. For they are salutary and powerful.

The first is the stone called chrysolith, belonging to Leo, (the house of Sun).
The second is the stone called aphroselēnos (selenite), belonging to Cancer, (the house of Moon).
The third is the stone called hematite, belonging to Aries, (the house of Mars).
The fourth is the stone called keraunios (heliotrope?), belonging to Sagittarius, (the house of Jupiter).
The fifth is the stone called mēdos (identification unclear), belonging to Taurus, (the house of Venus).
The sixth is the stone called arabicus (identification unclear), belonging to Virgo, (the house of Mercury).
The seventh is the stone called ostracitis (hornfels?), belonging to Capricorn, (the house of Saturn).

You must seek these so that, through the whole time of your life, you may be under divine protection and so you will forever be healthy and safe.

On their engravings.

Given below are the engravings of each one of them, which are phylacteries of the whole body, so that you may protect (yourself).

The stone chrysolith is engraved with a scarab with rays, which in Greek is called kantharos (dung beetle).
The stone aphroselēnos (selenite) is engraved with the one who has horns of cattle [=Isis/the goddess Moon].
The stone hematite. You engrave [the description is lost].
The stone keraunios. You engrave a hairy she-goat.
The stone mēdos. You engrave Venus.
The stone arabicus. You engrave a baboon [=the animal of Thoth/Mercury].
The stone ostracitis. You engrave a person with the head of a crocodile and write on the side on the hips: [the text to be written is lost].

And if you want to have a phylactery for your body and soul, consult with an astrologer so that you see which angel, i.e., which zodiac sign (ruled) the hour in which you were born. Look that you use the engraved stone of this angel, and you will have a phylactery forever. (Create it?) when the moon is in conjunction with the angel, i.e., when it is in the zodiac sign.

[A Christian addition:] But it is better if you have a stone engraved with the Lord, your creator.

3 On Stones and Their Engravings According to the Septizonium

On stones and their engravings, as above, according to the septizonium [=the seven planets].

Agate. Protection (tutela) of Saturn.
The free6 must use an agate with (an engraving of) Ops sitting.
Freed: [unintelligible] agate; Fides Publica (the goddess ‘Civic Faithfulness’).
Unfree: agate; a sleeping lion.

Heliotrope. Protection of Sol.
Free: heliotrope; the glowing sun/Sol.
The freed and their descendants: the head of Sol.
Unfree: an altar and a burning torch above it.

Chrysolith. Protection of Moon.
Free: Luna sitting.
Freed: Luna with bovine [horns].
Unfree: Luna’s horns.

Sard. Protection of Mars.
Free: Mars carrying a trophy of victory.
Freed: Mars carrying weapons.
Unfree: the weapons of Mars.

Hematite. Protection of Mercury.
Free: Mercury sitting on a rock.
[The rest is unintelligible]

Green-colored stone. Protection of Jupiter.
Free: Jupiter sitting (on?) an eagle.
Freed: an eagle standing above a river.
Unfree: an eagle holding a crown in its claws.

Egyptilla. Protection of Venus.
Free: Venus Victrix (‘the victorious’).
Freed: Venus [the rest is unintelligible].
Unfree: a dove above a standing (person? Venus?).