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ancient amulet

4 January 2015

An interesting amulet has been turned up at excavations at Nea Paphos on Cyprus – see www.livescience.com/49239-ancient-amulet-palindrome-inscription.html The author of the piece is at pains to demonstrate how pagan ideas had survived into the Byzantine period. However, it could equally demonstrate how quickly pagan ideas had become corrupted because the genuine version of them had vanished as Christianity had expanded. The amulet appears to represent a muddled idea of one pagan motif – and no doubt pagan religion in general had become a thing of the past with just a fading concept of what it involved. Of course, the Greek watering down of pagan ideas had been going on for centuries, long before the arrival of a Christian religion. The latter only had a muted and somewhat toothless example to combat, so it may be that Harpocrates had been misrepresented long before the Byzantine era. No doubt lots of pages will be written about this amulet by academics and they will appear in obscure pubications and in articles most of the population will never see.

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