Roman Gold and Heliotrope Magic Chnoubis Pendant, Circa 3rd-4th Century AD
Chnoubis is an Egyptian Gnostic solar icon, found most often on gnostic gems, and amulets for protection against poison and disease. It is a composite figure with the head of a lion and the body of a serpent, usually with seven rays emanating from the head.
The lion’s head represents the solar forces and enlightenment; the serpent, the lower impulses and earth. The rays represent the seven planets, the seven Greek vowels (which were an important part of ritual magic) and the seven colors of the visible spectrum.
The Chnoubis was seen as a very powerful creature which was used for protection when other things would not seem to work. He was easily conjured and put to work with a loyal disposition towards his owners and guarded all members of the family.
Here the heliotrope stone is engraved with the image of Chnoubis with his name inscribed in Greek, XNOVBIC dispersed between the rays emanating from his head. There is a crescent and star to the left enclosed in an inscription: IAWCABAWTHABPACASMIXAHLEW.
This inscription is a series of magical names including Sabaoth, Abrasax and the archangel Michael, followed by the phrase “I am.”
The back of the stone has a two-line inscription, OVPIHL COVPIHL, for the two archangels Uriel and Suriel, framed by stars.