metal trinkets, all of them rusty, are then dipped in the water, which is left out in the open, and which the person to be cured has to drink the next morning. This ceremony, repeated three, seven, or forty consecutive nights, as the case may be, invariably cures any one suffering from the effects of strong emotions.

The other category, which is far more interesting from both the superstitious and the historic point of view, falls into two classes, those that are anonymous, i.e. undated, and those that bear either the name of a distinguished personage or a definite date. It is to the second class of this category that the cup forming the subject of the paper belongs.

This cup Zeki Pasha calls the Saladin Cup, because of the dedication which is inscribed upon it. The inside, made of white brass, bears a circular inscription consisting of mystic and cabalistic letters, which, albeit several Arabic letters and cyphers are distinguishable, are so intermingled that it is quite impossible to make anything out of them. Above this inscription are sixteen medallions, identical in form but with alternating Koranic and mystic inscriptions, on them. The Koranic medallions contain the formula: “In the name of God, the Merciful and All-Forgiving.” The original bottom of the cup has disappeared, and has been replaced by a curious piece of copper, on which there are no inscriptions. On the outside of the cup, which is made of red copper, is the dedicatory formula, which is worth reproducing. It runs as follows:

“Honor to our Lord, the Sultan King, the defender of the cause of God, who is supported (by Him) the victorious, Abu-l-Mouzaffar, Yusef, the co-sharer of the Commander of the Faithful! (This cup) has been proved by experience (to be a cure for) viper and scorpion bites, fever, to bring about the return of her husband to the divorced and abandoned woman, to cure (the bite of a) mad dog, intestinal pains, colic, headache . . . to destroy the effects of witchcraft, (to stop) bleeding, to exorcise the evil eye, to drive away sadness and heart qualms, and all ills and infirmities except death . . . to prevent the vexations caused by troublesome children. (It should be) placed at the head (of the patient) and be used as a bath by the old maid (to help her get a husband).”

Below this inscription are ten medallions, alternately round and trapezoid in form. All are covered with mystic signs entirely incomprehensible to us to-day. Underneath the medallions is a circular inscription in Arabic characters, some of which are obliterated, but from which with the help of contemporary cups in the Arab Museum, it has been possible to reconstruct the following text:

“Made after astrological observations reproduced and engraved during the apogee of the star and according to the horoscopes derived from the astral tables. This has been agreed upon and adopted by the principal religious heads of the Rashidite Caliphs in order to safeguard the Moslem community. Executed at Mecca in the year . . . for all ills and infirmities.”

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]



THE belief in the magic effect of inanimate objects on the course of events seems to belong to a condition of the intellect so low as to be incapable of clear reasoning regarding cause and effect. Yet it is so early a form of belief or super-belief (i.e. superstition) that it survives the rise of knowledge and reasoning among most peoples. The lowest of mankind — the Tasmanians — had great confidence in the power of amulets, the Shilluks of the Sudan wear them in a bunch, the Arabs have always had great faith in charms, and Southern Italy — in our own as in Pliny’s time — abounds in amulets. In ancient Egypt they were even more common than they are to-day. “On examining the two hundred and seventy different kinds of amulets found in Egypt,” says Dr. Flinders Petrie, “there are only about a dozen which remained unclassed, and without any known meaning. The various ascertained meanings may be completely put in order under five great classes. These are (1) the amulets of Similars, which are for influencing similar parts, or functions, or occurrences, for the wearer; (2) the amulets of Powers, for conferring powers, and capacities, especially upon the dead; (3) the amulets of Property, which are entirely derived from the funeral offerings, and are thus peculiar to Egypt; (4) the amulets of Protection such as charms and curative amulets; (5) the figures of gods, connected with the worship of the gods and their functions.” . All these classes of amulets, except the last, are in use among Moslems to-day, in many

1 “Amulets of Ancient Egypt,” p. 6.


cases of the same form and material as in the days of the Pharaohs. Metal discs, animal shapes, etc., similar to those that were used in the days of Isis are still in use by the Egyptians, as is shown by Mr. Budge. The ancient Egyptians used magical figures made of wax just as they do today. The names of the gods were inscribed in magical fashion then as now, and the ceremonies used for purification, sacrifice and horoscopes are strangely like those we find in modern Moslem books.

Not only in Egypt but in all the lands of the East and wherever Islam has carried its stern monotheistic creed the use of animistic charms and amulets has persisted or been modified or in many cases been introduced by Moslem teaching. Moslem amulets are made of anything that has magical power. Everything that attracts the eye (even the tattoo marks or the mole on the face) is useful for this purpose. Amulets are used on horses, camels and donkeys as well as for men, women and children. The ringing noise of metal charms drives away the demons. Amulets are worn round the neck and as rings, anklets, girdles, etc. The amulet which hangs around the neck was universal in pre-Islamic days and was called tamima. When the boy reaches puberty the tamima is cut off. The following names are given to amulets and talismans in Arabic:

audha root signifies to protect take refuge.

hijab root signifies to shield as with a curtain.

hirz — root signifies to guard against evil.

mafra root signifies to flee from, i.e., make demons flee.

wadh root signifies to make distinct.

tamima root signifies to be complete (oldest name given).

Has this word tamima any connection with the Urim and Thummim of the Old Testament? No doubt Moslem relig

« ElőzőTovább »