• Old Coptic Magic

    Old Coptic Magical Texts III: The Bilingual Solar Divination through Boy Medium of PGM IV

    This post is the third in a mini-series about bilingual recipes in Egyptian and Greek from the 3rd/4th century papyrus codex PGM IV (Greek Magical Papyrus 4) – the “Bilingual Solar Divination through Boy Medium” (PGM IV. 88-93). This practice, inscribed upon page 5 of the codex, is paralleled among Demotic examples of divinations using boy mediums but here is attested in a bilingual Greek and Old Coptic text. Through bringing about the manifestation of a deity, the practitioner could ask the boy to ask the deity about anything that they wished to know. Although a relatively short recipe compared to those we have looked at earlier, the series of…

  • Old Coptic Magic

    Old Coptic Magic II: The Bilingual Divination of PGM IV

    This post is the second in a mini-series about bilingual recipes in Egyptian and Greek from the 3rd/4th century papyrus codex PGM IV (Greek Magical Papyrus 4). The ritual on pages 4 and 5 (PGM IV. 52-87) of the codex features a series of ritual instructions in Greek and invocations in Egyptian in a complex composite recipe for bringing about a theophany – the manifestation of a deity. This kind of recipe appears very often in the Greek and Demotic magical texts, and we saw another example from this same codex in the last post in this series. In the Greek-language ritual instructions that begin this composite recipe, the practitioner…

  • Old Coptic Magic

    The Bilingual Direct-Vision of PGM IV

    This post is the first in a mini-series about bilingual recipes written in Coptic-Egyptian and Greek from a codex of magical texts dating to the end of 3rd or early 4th century CE – the “Great Magical Papyrus of Paris”, also known as PGM IV (Greek Magical Papyrus 4). The codex contains 72 pages, 66 of which are inscribed with a total of 3,274 lines of text. PGM IV is therefore the lengthiest of all the magical handbooks preserved from antiquity, roughly the dimensions of the average travel guide. The texts from PGM IV considered in this mini-series are among the earliest evidence for magical texts in Coptic. These recipes…