We’ve just posted our latest update to the Kyprianos Database of Ancient Ritual Texts and Objects. As well as correcting some small mistakes in manuscript, text, and archive entries, the biggest change is that the texts entries now contains a field for tracings of the magical images and diagrams (called tableaux) which accompany them. You can see an example on the right, taken from F1908.45.12, a strange papyrus with no legible text, perhaps some kind of amulet. There are 19 tracings in the current update, and we’ll continue to add them to new texts with each forthcoming update.
The update includes:
- 10 new manuscript entries, bringing the total to 921.
- These contain primarily Greek and/or Coptic magical texts from Egypt.
- 15 new text entries, bringing the total to 109. Among the texts we’ve chosen for this update are…
- One of my favourite texts, a charm against stomach-ache centred around the adventures of Horus, Isis, and three demons called Agrippa; this text was jointly translated with our friend and contributor Roxanne Bélanger Sarrazin, who is preparing a book on Coptic magical texts containing pre-Christian Greek and Egyptian deities.
- One of the few surviving Coptic divination spells, a fragmentary procedure which apparently uses a boy medium to find treasure by staring into a bowl of water.
- The letter of King Abgar of Edessa to Jesus, Jesus’ reply, and the Prayer of Judas Cyriacus (which he used to discover the true cross for the Empress Helena), all from the fascinating codex Anastasy 9.
- Two lost papyri – a fragmentary favour spell once held in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin, and two cursesto separate couples once held in the Institute for Papyrology in Heidelberg.
- A curse to make a man impotent, and two other curses phrased as petitions to god.