Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ancient Aramaic spells excavated in Serbia?

ARAMAIC WATCH? Mystery magic spells unearthed with ancient skeletons in Serbia (Ingrid Melander and Robin Pomeroy, Reuters).
Archaeologists are trying to decipher magic spells etched onto tiny rolls of gold and silver that they found alongside skeletons of humans buried almost 2,000 years ago.

"The alphabet is Greek, that much we know. The language is Aramaic – it's a Middle Eastern mystery to us," Miomir Korac, chief archaeologist at the site in eastern Serbia, told Reuters.

The skeletons were found at the foot of a massive coal-fired power station where searches are being carried out before another unit of the electricity plant is built on the site of an ancient Roman city.

In antiquity, magic spells were sometimes inscribed on metal amulets, including lead, silver, and gold. And switching writing systems was also known. The Greco-Egyptian Greek Magical Papyri sometimes wrote Hebrew and Aramaic words in Greek letters (see final paragraph here), and the Hebrew magical handbook Sefer HaRazim wrote a Greek incantation in Hebrew letters. A recently discovered amulet from Cyprus has an Egyptian text written in Greek letters. And an amulet discovered recently in Jordan was written in Greek letters but the text may be in Arabic.

Thus the conclusions suggested in this article are plausible, but we'll have to see how the specifics turn out when (hopefully) these new amulets are fully deciphered.