Ephesia Grammata

From diverse ancient sources, we know that on the cult statue of Artemis at Ephesus, there were six words inscribed in Greek script:

askion kataskion lix tetrax damnameneus aisia

What these six words mean is a matter of considerable speculation, if they mean anything at all.  They may simply be barbarous words of invocation, devoid of meaning, although their use is clear.  They were a spoken phalactary, a protective spell, an alexipharmika.

Chester McCown suggests that they may be the names of six separate and distinct daimones.  I’m not so sure, other than in the sense that a magical word is often treated as a being in its own right by classical magicians.  If they are a list of magical beings, then perhaps they represent six daimon servants of Artemis.

If you wish to experiment with the grammata, they are pronounced as follows (at least, approximately — it’s hard to describe another language’s pronunciation without using IPA):

askion (/a/ and /i/ as in Spanish, short o, accent on the first syllable)

kataskion (same as above, accent on second syllable)

lix (short i)

tetrax (short e, accent on final syllable)

damnameneus (short e, eu like a blend between an eh and the French u, accent on last syllable)

aisia (vowels as in Spanish, accent on first syllable)

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3 Responses to “Ephesia Grammata”

  1. You may found more info about this very interesting subject here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephesia_grammata

  2. I been aware of these for a bit now, but I’ve never bothered saying them before. I’m glad you’ve clarified the proper way of saying these, but I wonder if posting the Grammatica in the original Greek helps their efficacy? I carry a slip of paper with the letters as a bit of an amulet in my wallet.

  3. free world…

    […]Ephesia Grammata « Postmodern Magic[…]…

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