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A "love" spell

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A "love" spell

Postby jeidsath » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:19 pm

Papyri magicae 4.350:

...ἄξον τὴν δεῖνα, ἣν δεῖνα, ἧς ἔχεις τὴν οὐσίαν, φιλοῦσάν με τὸν δεῖνα, ὃν ἔτεκεν ἡ δεῖνα· μὴ βινηθήτω, μὴ πυγισθήτω μηδὲ πρὸς ἡδονὴν ποιή[σ]ῃ μετ’ ἄλλου ἀνδρός, εἰ μὴ μετ’ ἐμοῦ μόνου, τοῦ δεῖνα, ἵνα μὴ δυνηθῇ ἡ δεῖνα μήτε πεῖν μήτε φαγεῖν, μὴ στέργειν, μὴ καρτερεῖν, μὴ εὐσταθῆσαι, μὴ ὕπνου [τ]υχεῖν ἡ δεῖνα ἐκτὸς ἐμοῦ, τοῦ δεῖνα,...

Apparently a version of this in application is found on a Roman-era lead tablet:

Supplementum Magicum (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1992), 38.4–6

On a second-century lead tablet, one Ammonion binds a Theodotis ἵνα μὴ δυνηθῇς ἑτέρῳ ἀνδρὶ συνμιγῆναι πώποτε μήτε βινηθῆναι μήτε πυγισθῆναι μήτε ληκάζειν μηδὲ καθ᾽ ἡδονὴν <ποιήσῃς> μεθ᾽ ἑταίρω ἀνθρώπω εἰ μὴ μόνος ἐγώ.


Dover in his 1989 revised discussion of λαικάζειν says to note βινηθῆναι (passive), πυγισθῆναι (passive), ληκάζειν (active).
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: A "love" spell

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:27 pm

Fun. And especially good for some vocabulary one generally won't find elsewhere... :shock:
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Re: A "love" spell

Postby Hylander » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:48 pm

ὃν ἔτεκεν ἡ δεῖνα -- is this the same ἡ δεῖνα as τὴν δεῖνα, ἣν δεῖνα, ἧς ἔχεις τὴν οὐσίαν, φιλοῦσάν με τὸν δεῖνα . . . μὴ βινηθήτω, μὴ πυγισθήτω μηδὲ πρὸς ἡδονὴν ποιή[σ]ῃ μετ’ ἄλλου ἀνδρός, εἰ μὴ μετ’ ἐμοῦ μόνου, τοῦ δεῖνα, . . .?

I hope not.
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Re: A "love" spell

Postby jeidsath » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:34 pm

Honestly, I'm not 100% steady on clauses

ἄξον τὴν δεῖνα, ἣν δεῖνα, ἧς ἔχεις τὴν οὐσίαν, φιλοῦσάν με τὸν δεῖνα, ὃν ἔτεκεν ἡ δεῖνα·

ἄξον τὴν δεῖνα -- lead <insert name of female love-object >
ἣν δεῖνα -- < genitive (dative?) name of woman's mother (father?) >
ἧς ἔχεις τὴν οὐσίαν -- "of whom you have the substance"? (hair or fingernail clippings or a garment?)
φιλοῦσάν με τὸν δεῖνα -- [in order to be?] loving me <insert name of male admirer >
ὃν ἔτεκεν ἡ δεῖνα -- who <insert name of mother of male admirer > gave birth to

I'm not sure why φιλοῦσάν is a participle and not an infinitive, or even if ἄξον (from ἄγω?) could govern an infinitive like that.

It's interesting that his mother is invoked. I assume that there must be some magical justification for that.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: A "love" spell

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:55 am

jeidsath wrote:

ἄξον τὴν δεῖνα, ἣν δεῖνα, ἧς ἔχεις τὴν οὐσίαν, φιλοῦσάν με τὸν δεῖνα, ὃν ἔτεκεν ἡ δεῖνα·

ἄξον τὴν δεῖνα -- lead <insert name of female love-object >

I'm not sure why φιλοῦσάν is a participle and not an infinitive, or even if ἄξον (from ἄγω?) could govern an infinitive like that.

It's interesting that his mother is invoked. I assume that there must be some magical justification for that.


The first aorist ἤξα is attested quite rare early on, but in the papyri becomes the preferred form (although Atticists continued to use the second aorist ἤγαγον). Yes, the participle is interesting. Even the Koine of the NT narrative writers would use ἵνα or the infinitive to show purpose. As it stands, "proper" grammar indicates that φιλοῦσαν should modify οὐσίαν, but that would make no sense at all. Is this just bad Greek, an error which might be recognized as such even by relatively poor contemporaneous speakers, or would it be a common Koine construction, or thirdly could it be simply a traditional way of expressing it in such formula? I haven't read sufficient of the papyri to be sure, but I suspect the first.
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