Astrological Amulets in the Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius Cover Image
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Astrological Amulets in the Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius
Astrological Amulets in the Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius

Author(s): Paolo Vitellozzi
Subject(s): History, Ancient World, Middle Ages, Theology and Religion, History of Religion
Published by: Trivent Publishing
Keywords: Sacred Book; Hermes Trismegistus; Asclepius; Zodiac; Egyptian Decans; Amulets; Ancient Magic; Astrology; Herbs and Plants; Engraved Gems; Lapidaries; Stones; Graeco-Roman Religion.
Summary/Abstract: The Hermetic treatise known as the Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (Ἱερὰ βίβλος) contains recipes for making magical amulets consecrated to the thirty-six decans of the Egyptian zodiac, thus providing reliable descriptions of these astrological figures. For each amulet, the treatise then recommends a gemstone, a plant, and a food prohibition which are evidently connected with the astrological nature of the decans themselves, according either to the Egyptian tradition or to the Hellenic magical lore. Relying on the most recent studies on decanal iconographies, this chapter aims at providing examples of engraved gems produced following the prescriptions in the Sacred Book; many of these specimens are found in the corpus of the so-called “magical gems”, some Roman imperial amulets which were deeply investigated in the last decades. Moreover, the essay will attempt to understand the astrological theories underlying the creation of the amulets described by the treatise, trying to determine the ideal relationship among the different ingredients to be used. This will eventually lead to further conclusions regarding magical practises in the Graeco-Roman world.

  • Page Range: 117-176
  • Page Count: 60
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: English