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Enchanting clothes (1)

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02 Religious and ideological symbols and iconographic motifs

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

Greek Archaic Age
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Greek poets
Neo-Assyrian texts

The cords and straps very similar to Aphrodite’s girdle in Iliad were employed as magical charms in the Neo-Assyrian texts.

Assyrian Cuneiform Tablet (Collection of E. Tisserant):
Incantation to be recited when the husband of a women is angry with her. The rite is accomplished (as follows): You weave together into a single strand the tendons of a gazelle, [hemp], and red wool; you tie it into fourteen knots. Each time you tie a knot, you recite the (i.e., preceding) incantation. The woman places this cord around her waist, and she will be loved.

KAR 71.1-11, 21-25:
You thread ianibu stone and carnelian on a cord, (and) you repeat the spell three times. You place it on the teaseled side of your cloak. And when you enter into the presence of the prince, he will welcome you. … You chant this spell seven times over a three-stranded cord of lapis-coloured wool, you knot it (and) you bind it in your hem. And when you enter into the presence of the prince, he will welcome you (variant: “whoever looks upon you will be glad to see you”).

Homer, Iliad 14.197-210, 214-217:
(Hera to Aphrodite:) Now give me affection and desire with which you subdue all the gods and mortal men, since I am about to go to the ends of the generous earth to see Oceanus, the source of the gods, and mother Tethys … I shall go to visit them and shall stop their ceaseless quarrels, since now for a long time they have stayed apart from each other and from their marriage bed, since bitter anger has fallen upon their hearts. If I could with words persuade their dear hearts and bring them back to their bed to be merged in love with each other, forever would I be called dear by them and compassionate. … (Aphrodite agrees to help:) She spoke and from her breasts unbound the elaborate perforated girdle (kestos himas) on which had been wrought all enchantments: love, desire, and the whispered endearment that steals away good sense, even from the thoughtful.

Sources (list of abbreviations) (source links will open in a new browser window)
Assyrian Cuneiform Tablet (Collection of E. Tisserant)
Homer, Iliad 14.197-217
KAR 71.1-11
KAR 71.21-25


Faraone 1999, 97-102Faraone, Christopher A. Ancient Greek Love Magic. Cambridge MA, London: Harvard University Press 1999.
Scheil 1921, 21-27 no. 17 col. 3.10'-14'Scheil, V. “Catalogue de la collection Eugene Tisserant.” Revue d'Assyriologie 18 (1927) 21-27.

Amar Annus

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