- 1,500-year-old amulet once believed to protect women and children from the ‘evil eye’ is being unveiled by archaeologists
- It was originally discovered 40 years ago in Arbel, roughly two hours north of Jerusalem
- The amulet, known as ‘Solomon’s Seal,’ has a triangle shape with inscriptions on both side
- One side features ‘the figure of a rider whose head is surrounded with a halo riding a horse
- The other side is an eye pierced by four arrows, along with lions, a snake, scorpion and a bird
A 1,500-year-old amulet that was once believed to protect women and children from the ‘evil eye’ is being unveiled by archaeologists for the first time since its discovery 40 years ago.
Known as ‘Solomon’s Seal,’ the amulet has a triangle shape, with one side featuring ‘the figure of a rider whose head is surrounded with a halo riding a horse,’ the Israel Antiquities Authority wrote in a Facebook post.
The rider is seen throwing a sphere at a female figure known as Gello, along with an inscription in Greek that translates to ‘The One God who Conquers Evil.’
Under the inscription are the Greek letters I A W Θ, which translates to Y-H-W-H, or Yahweh, in Hebrew.
Gello was a mythological figure in Greece who threatened women and children by causing infertility and miscarriage, and is widely associated with the evil eye.
On the opposite side is an eye pierced by four arrows, along with lions, a snake, scorpion and a bird. There is also another Greek inscription that reads, ‘One God.’
‘The amulet is part of a group of fifth–sixth-century CE amulets from the Levant that were probably produced in the Galilee and Lebanon,’ Dr. Eitan Klein, the deputy director of the IAA Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit, said in the post.
‘This group of amulets is sometimes called ‘Solomon’s Seal’ and the rider is depicted overcoming the evil spirit – in this case, a female identified with the mythological figure Gello/Gyllou, who threatens women and children and is associated with the evil eye. The eye on the reverse is identifiable as the evil eye, being attacked and vanquished by various means.’
During the Byzantine period, Arbel (frequently mentioned in the Talmud) was a Jewish settlement.
It’s unclear who wore the amulet, with Dr. Klein telling Haaretz that ‘anti-demon pendants of this type’ were worn by Jews, Christians and Gnostics, a mystic group related to early Christianity.
It is being handed over to the Israel Antiquities Authority by a family member of one of the first residents in Arbel, the late Tova Haviv.