Thursday, September 5, 2019

Pompei Sorcerer's Treasure Trove

I sometimes wonder what archaeologists would think of our temple implements and magical tools if they were to excavate our houses sometime in the far future. Last month a collection of magical implements was discovered in the ruins of the city of Pompei, which was buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The result was that the site was essentially frozen in time, complete with all the accoutrements of a prominent Roman city.

Archaeologists working in the buried Roman city of Pompeii say they have uncovered a "sorcerer's treasure trove" of artefacts, including good-luck charms, mirrors and glass beads. Most of the items would have belonged to women, said Massimo Osanna, director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. A room with the bodies of 10 victims, including women and children, was excavated in the same house.

Pompeii was engulfed by a volcanic eruption from Mt Vesuvius in AD 79. The fatal eruption froze the city and its residents in time, making it a rich source for archaeologists. The trove was found in what remained of a wooden box. The wood itself had decomposed and only the bronze hinges remained, preserved by the volcanic material which hardened over it.

In it were crystals, ceramic, amethysts and amber. Scarabs (beetle-shaped amulets) from the Middle East were identified, along with various gems, including a carnelian with a craftsman figure and a glass bead engraved with the head of Dionysus, the Roman god of wine, fertility and ritual madness.

It's interesting to look back and speculate on what these implements might have been used for, whether as talismans, tools, or some other sort of charm. If nothing else, it shows that magick has a long history going back to ancient times. Hopefully this find will help shed some additional light on the workings of Roman magick, as the historical accounts that exist are pretty fragmentary at this point.

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