Invoking King Solomon on Latin-Inscribed Objects of Practical Magic from Late Antiquity (c. 300-700)

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Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Listy filologické
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Solomon; Seal; Ring; Magic; Amulet; Phylactery; Magical Nail; Curse Tablet; Late Antiquity
Description The parabiblical tradition of Solomon as a magus and an exorcist par excellence is well attested in several literary sources, from the fragments of the first century CE Qumran Caves Scrolls to the fourth century CE Testament of Solomon, an eclectic demonological treatise that described in minute detail the power of the titular protagonist over demons. The belief in Solomon's extraordinary apotropaic powers is further documented by hundreds of Greek-inscribed objects and dozens of magical implements with Semitic inscriptions. In our contribution to the mapping of Solomonic magical traditions, we focus on Latin-inscribed material and collated 10 objects invoking the Jewish king – three circular amulets, three lamellae (two curse tablets and one phylactery), three magical nails, and one amuletic ring. The objects, with one exception datable to the period of late antiquity (c. 300–700), present valuable testimony on the reception of the figure of Solomon in a magical context in the Latin West and serve as a bridge to the later appropriation of the wise builder of the Jerusalem Temple as a master of esoteric knowledge.
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