So after posting on the Ephesia grammata, I find that my beloved has given me a reproduction of the famous statue of Artemis of Ephesus for our anniversary. Purest coincidence. But a pretty cool one. I think she must approve.
Archive for September, 2011
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)