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E00798: Greek inscription with an exorcism against a demon of hailstorms, invoking *Raphael (the Archangel, S00481), other non-canonical archangels and probably the *Twenty-four Elders of the Book of Revelation (S00482). Found near Philadelphia (Lydia, western Asia Minor), probably late antique (4th-8th c.).

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posted on 2015-10-18, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
[ἐξορκισμὸς εἰς ἀποστρο]φὴν χαλάζης.
[ὁρκίζω σε δαίμονα ἀέ]ρος ταρασσομέ-
[νου αἰφνιδίως ἐφιστάμενον ὅτε] βροντᾶ κὲ ἀστρά-
[πτει καὶ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ χάλαζα]ν ἐκπένποντα· ὁρ-
[κίζω σε δαίμονα - - ἐπ' ὀ]νόματος ὠοῦ ἀρ̣σ-
[ενικοῦ ὄρνιθος, ὁρκίζω σ]ε καμινόστομον
[δαίμονα - -, ἐλθὲ] ἔξοθεν τõν ὅρον
[Ἐννάτου κώμη]ς ὁρκίζο σε κατὰ τὴ[ν]
[δύναμιν τοῦ θεοῦ Σα]̣βαὸθ κὲ τ̣οῦ θρόνου Κ(υρί)ου,
[ἐλθὲ ἔξωθεν τῶν ὅρων Ἐνν]άτου κόμης· ὁρκίζο σε νε-
[ο - - κατὰ - -]̣Η τõν πρεσβυ̣τέρον κὲ τον
[ ] ἐλθὲ ἔξοθεν τõν ὅρον Ἐν̣ν̣ά-
[του κώμης· ὁρκίζω] ̣σ̣ε κατὰ τ<ὸν> Οὐφρ̣ιδιὴ̣λ κὲ τὸ̣ν
[ ]· ὁρκίζω σε νε̣ο[.]
[- - κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα α] ε η ι ο υ ω ΠΑ̣Ν[ ]
[ ]̣ΟΗΑ[ ἐλθὲ ἔξωθεν]
[τῶν ὅρων] Ἐν[ν]άτου κόμης· [ ]
[ἀρχάγγελοι Ῥ]αφαὴλ Ῥαγο<υ>ὴλ Ἰ̣στραή[λ]
[Ἀγαθ]οὴλ περισφραγίσετε
[ ]ΙΣ Ἐν[ν]άτου

2-3. ταρασσομέ[νου] Grégoire || 3. [αἰφνιδίως καταφερόμενον] Cumont, ἐφιστάμενον] Grégoire || ἀστρά[πτει] Grégoire || 4-5. ὁρ[κίζω | σε δαίμονα ἐπ' ὀ]νόματος Grégoire || 5. ἀ[ρ]σ[ενικοῦ] Cumont Grégoire; ΑΙΣ|[ lapis || 6. κ[α]μινόστομον Grégoire || 6-7. [δαίμονα | ἐλθὲ] ἔξ(ο)θεν Grégoire || 7-8. [Ἐννάτου κώ|μη]ς Grégoire || 8. ὁρκίζο Grégoire || τὴ[ν δύναμιν τοῦ θεοῦ] Grégoire || 9. [Σαβ]αὸθ Grégoire || 9-10. Κ(υρί)ου, [ἐλθὲ ἔξωθεν τῶν | ὅρων Ἐνν]άτου || 10-11. σε νε[ο ... | κατὰ] τὸν Grégoire || 11. τὸν πρεσβύ̣τερον or τõν πρεσβυ̣τέρον || 11-12. κὲ τὸν [νεώτε|ρον?] Cumont Grégoire || 12-13. Ἐν̣ν̣ά[του κό|μης· ὁρκίζω σε] Grégoire; ]ΟΣ Pap.-Ker. || 13. τ(ὸν) Grégoire || Οὐφρ[ι]διὴ[λ] Cumont, Grégoire; Τ̣Ο̣ΥΦΡΓΔΙΗΔ lapis || κὲ τὸν Grégoire || 14. ὁρκίζο Grégoire || 14-15. νε[ο ... κατὰ τὰ στοι|χεῖα α] ε Grégoire || 15-16. ΟΗΑ ... ΑΤΟΥΚΟΜΗΣ Pap.-Ker.; π[λ]αν[ητῶν· ἐλθὲ ἔξω|θεν τῶν ὅρων] Ἐν[ν]άτου κόμης Cumont Grégoire || 16. [ἀρχάγγελοι] Grégoire || 17. ΡΑΓΟΝΗΛΙΕΤΡΑΗ Pap.-Ker.; Ῥαγο[υ]ὴλ Grégoire || Ἰ̣στραή[λ] Grégoire || 18 [Ἀγαθ]|οὴλ Grégoire || 18-21. περισφραγίσετε ..ις Ἐν[ν]άτου [κώμην] Grégoire; ]ΟΜΗΣ Pap.-Ker.

'[Exorcism to avert] hailstorm. [I exorcise you, the demon who suddenly stands on] the seething air, when it thunders and lightning flashes, and sends down [hail]. I exorcise [you, demon,] by the name of the [male bird's] egg. [I exorcise] you, [demon] with the flaming mouth. [Leave] the boundaries of the [village of the Ninth (Mile)]. I exorcise you by [the power of God Sab]aoth and of the throne of the Lord. [Leave the boundaries of the] village [of the Nin]th (Mile). I exorcise you [- - -] by the (Twenty-four?) Elders (of the Book of Revelation?) and the [- - -]. Leave the boundaries of the [village of the] Nin[th (Mile)]. I exorcise you] by the name of Ouphridiel and [- - -] I exorcise you [- - - by the letters a] e ē i o u ō [- - - Leave the boundaries of the] village of the Ninth (Mile). [Archangels:] Raphael, Ragouel, Istrael, [Agath]oel, seal [- - -] around the village of the Ninth (Mile).'

Text: TAM V/3, no. 1659. Translation: P. Nowakowski, E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Raphaēl, the Archangel : S00481 Twenty-four Elders of Revelation : S00482

Saint Name in Source

Ῥαφαήλ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι

Type of Evidence

Inscriptions - Formal inscriptions (stone, mosaic, etc.) Literary - Magical texts and amulets


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Asia Minor

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Philadelphia Nicomedia Νικομήδεια Nikomēdeia Izmit Πραίνετος Prainetos Nicomedia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult Activities - Miracles

Exorcism Power over elements (fire, earthquakes, floods, weather) Miraculous protection - of communities, towns, armies

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives



Right hand side of a marble plaque broken into two parts, found near the village of Tepeköy, to the north-east of Alaşehir (ancient Philadelphia). Last seen in 1906 by Keil and von Premerstein: it was kept in a private collection in Kula. A copy, they made, is now kept in Vienna. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.68 m; W. 0.33 m; Th. 0.03 m.


The inscription offers us a partially preserved exorcism against the demon of hailstorm. Several heavenly creatures are invoked to exorcise this evil spirit, e.g.: *Raphael the Archangel, other non-canonical archangels (Ragouel, Istrael, [Agath]oel) and possibly the *Twenty-four Elders of the Book of Revelation. The exorcism was composed for a specific village and its name is several times repeated in the exorcism. Ancient peasants considered hailstorms as a major threat to the crops. They created various magical devices (phylakteria) to shield them from the bad weather. Our inscription is an unusually durable version of such a charm. Similar exorcisms are studied, for example, by Jeanne and Louis Robert (Hellenica, vol. 9, 63-64), French 1996, 89 and Kotansky 1994, 46-52. For a Greek inscription from Avignon in Gallia Narbonensis, with a magical spell averting every hailstorm and every snowstorm and every damage, see IG XIV 2481. A leaf of lead, with a citation of Psalm 79(80) was found on the island of Rhodes. Its author puts strong emphasis on the image of Israel as the vine sprout, and therefore, the charm is considered as a phylakterion protecting local vineyards from hailstorms (see IGC 128). Henri Grégoire rightly describes our text as a ʻChristianised exorcismʼ, combining both Christian and pagan beliefs. Line 5 refers to the ‘egg of a male bird’ (ᾠόν ἀρσενικοῦ ὄρνιθος), which is attested also in a magical papyrus published in PGM II XII 110. Line 15 contains a sequence of vowels: α] ε η ι ο υ ω. Cumont points out that the seven vowels could refer to the seven planets, known to the ancients, or to seven Archangels that were connected to them. Archangels, vowels and planets are also associated in an invocation from Miletus (see E00810). In line 19 Archangels are asked to seal a certain area (περισφραγίσετε). In Christian texts the noun ʻsealʼ (σφράγις) usually means baptism or the sign of the cross, called ʻholy sealʼ (see the Life of Macrina by Gregory of Nyssa where he tells a story about a person who was healed by ἁγία σφράγις. PG 46: col. 992B).


Edition: Tituli Asiae Minoris V/3, no. 1659. Grégoire, H. (ed.), Recueil des inscriptions grecques chrétiennes d'Asie Mineure, vol. 1 (Paris: Leroux, 1922), no. 341(ter). Cumont, F., "Les inscriptions chrétiennes de l'Asie Mineure", Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 15 (1895), no. 122. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, A., "ΕΠΙΓΡΑΦΑΙ ΕΞ ΙΩΝΙΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΛΥΔΙΑΣ", Athenische Mitteilungen 6 (1881), no. 20. Further Reading: French, D.H., "Amasian Notes 4. Cults and Divinities: The Epigraphic Evidence", Epigraphica Anatolica 26 (1996), 89. Halkin, F., "Inscriptions grecques relatives à l'hagiographie, IX, Asie Mineure", Analecta Bollandiana 71 (1953), 82. Kotansky, R., Greek Magical Amulets: The Inscribed Gold, Silver, Copper, and Bronze Lamellae, part 1: Published Texts of Known Provenance (Papyrologica Coloniensia 22/1, Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1994), pp. 46-52 (the inscription is mentioned on p. 49). Robert, J., Robert, L., Hellenica. Recueil d'épigraphie, de numismatique et d'antiquités grecques, vol. 9: Inscriptions et reliefs d'Asie Mineure (Paris: La librairie d'Amérique et d'Orient Adrien Maisonneuve, 1950), 63-64. For charms protecting from hailstorms, see: Nieto, F.J.F., "La pizarra visigoda de carrio y el horizonte clásico de los χαλαζοφύλακες", in: J.M. Blázquez, A. González Blanco, R. González Fernández (eds.), La tradición en la Antigüedad Tardia, Antigüedad y Cristianismo 14 (Murcia 1997), 259-286.

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