Recently translated texts dating back 1,700 years reveal the ancient spells that called upon both gods and demons in hopes to attain love, sex, and power.
Researchers have uncovered numerous magical formulas which may once have been used in hopes to tamper with fate, requiring a person simply add the name of their target in order to lay a curse.
The spells are just a small part of an expansive collection of Egyptian papyri discovered more than 100 years ago in the city Oxyrhynchus.
Written upon the two recently deciphered papyri are a series of spells that were intended to be used as ‘fill in the blanks’ recipes, according to Live Science.
Rather than targeting any person in particular, the spells are formulaic.
With the entire outline provided, a person looking to cast a spell needed only to add the name of the person they’d wished to curse, and then follow the steps.
One such spell claims to ‘burn the heart’ of a woman until she falls in love with the spell caster, Franco Maltomini of the University of Udine in Italy, who translated the two texts, told Live Science.
The ancient hex instructs the reader to leave ‘Burnt offering in the bathhouse … and write with the blood of Typhon and glue it to the dry vaulted room of the bath.’
‘I adjure you,’ it continues, ‘earth and waters, by the demon who dwells on you and the fortune of this bath so that, as you blaze and burn and flame, so blaze her until she comes to me.’
This, among numerous other magical papyri, will soon be published to the The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, a part of Egypt Exploration Society’s Graeco-Roman Memoirs.
Along with Maltomini, many researchers have worked to decipher the ancient texts, which are largely owned by the Egypt Exploration Society and housed at the University of Oxford in England.
Researchers estimate the spells were written in the third century A.D., though their authors remain unknown.
The texts were originally written in Greek, which was commonly used in Egypt during this period.
Along with the love spell, researchers also translated one which aims to induce the attraction of another person, either for love or sex.
‘Take a pigeon’s egg and write down on it the following magical signs…let her love me for the entire time,’ the spell reads.
According to the researchers, the pigeon egg may have been used as an aphrodisiac.
Not all of the spells were intended to fix the qualms of desire, however.
The researchers translated one which would have been used in hopes to force a man to do the spell-caster’s bidding, by engraving a series of magical words onto a small copper plaque, and stitching this into an article of the target’s clothing, Live Science reports.
Another spell found among the papyri may have be intended to restrain the anger of an enemy, or curb the eloquence of lawyers.
‘Take a chameleon alive and hang it…smoke a root of the plant chameleon …push through its mouth a stone … gold-coloured, very bright,’ the spell instructs.
‘And after consecrating it with the consecration that works for everything , you will have an unsurpassable wrath restrainer charm, for, worn around the body, it is adapted for all things; but if someone or the opponents in a lawsuit speak…press the stone and they will certainly not speak.’
The ancient texts also contained medical recipes which aimed to cure boils, leprosy, polyps, shingles, and quinsy, a rare complication of tonsillitis.
Many of these are ‘stercoraceous’ medical recipes, meaning they are based on the excrement of winged creatures.
For the unlucky sufferers of quinsy, a treatment just may have included ‘eagle droppings crushed with wine and drunk.’