Magical Text on Silver (T.Duk.inv.1)


150 dpi image of T.Duk.inv. 1

72 dpi image of T.Duk.inv. 1

Catalogue Record


24.7 cm. x 15.3 cm.

Second century?

The incantation written in Greek and Latin letters on this silver plate is
 not intended to make sense. The letters are copied by the scribe from an
 original that would not have been appreciably more coherent. The text
 itself has been  traced to a fourth century B.C. hexameter text now in
 the Getty Museum. Further uses of the formulae are found in a Cologne
 and in a Michigan text, both of the fourth century. The text must
 have been popular, but its logical sense was long since lost by the time
 the Duke version was inscribed. That the text was inscribed on this large 
 piece of silver suggests its use was cultic rather than individual. 
 There is a hole in the top of the piece which indicates it was 
 fastened to a wall or other surface.

The text is lightly inscribed on the silver, hardly more than scratched onto the
 surface. There are 10 lines, 9 of them full and the tenth consisting of only 7
 letters. The blank space after this last is filled with two lines of nonalphabetic
 scratches. The first line is written in larger letters than the subsequent
 lines. The lines tend to diminish in size as the text proceeds. Some of the
 lines are written between ruled lines,i.e. lines 2, 3 and 4. Between lines 5
 and 6 there is a ruled line which serves as the bottom line for line 5 and the
 top for line 6. There is another ruling under line 6 and then no further
 ruling. The letter forms, both Greek and Latin, are rather rude capitals and
 resemble epigraphic hands of the second century. They resemble Latin hands
 more than Greek hands of the same period.

Descriptive database available in repository.

Images and texts on these web pages are intended for research and educational use only. Please read our statement on use and reproduction for further information on how to receive permission to reproduce an item and how to cite it.

If you are interested in the techniques used to create the images (compression, color correction, resolution), please see the document on imaging techniques. If you are interested in the methodology used to create the catalogue record, please see the article on the papyrus catalogue records.

Return to the papyrus home page

Return to Duke University Special Collections Library home page

Please see our page with contact information if you have any comments or questions about the Duke Papyrus Archive.

Last updated by John Oates on 7/13/99.