Apotropaic Amulets in Late Antiquity and Early Byzantium

Authors

FRANEK Juraj

Year of publication 2020
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description The lecture presented a corpus of Greek-inscribed Late Antique and Early Byzantine amulets (4th – 7th century CE) featuring the iconography of the so-called 'Holy Rider', identified variously with Jewish king Solomon and Christian saint Sisinnius. The apotropaic uses of this motif, which is further strengthened by names of the angels, protective formulae and magical words, is well attested on gems, bronze amulets in the form of oblong pendants or circular medallions, rings, armbands, seals etc. In addition to presenting different classes of material objects, the lecture briefly considered the relationship of these magical items with literary attestations for Solomon as a mage and master of demons and for Sisinnius as a 'Warrior Saint', combatting demons that attack esp. women during childbirth and new-borns.