Papyri Graecae Magicae – Greek Magical Papyri
The Greek Magical Papyri (Latin Papyri Graecae Magicae, abbreviated PGM) is the name given by scholars to a body of Papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt, which each contain a number of magical spells, formulae, hymns, and rituals. The materials in the Papyri date from the 100’s BC to the 400’s AD.
PGM XII and XIII were the first to be published, appearing in 1843 in Greek and in a Latin translation in 1885. However, according to Betz 1992, the first scholarly publication has been credited to the British scholar Charles Wycliffe Goodwin 1817-1878, who published for the Cambridge Antiquarian Society one PGM V, translated into English with commentary in 1853.
In the early twentieth century, Karl Preisendanz collected the texts and published them into two volumes in 1928 and 1931. A projected third volume, containing new texts and indices, reached the stage of galley proofs dated “Pentecost 1941”, but the type was destroyed during the bombing of Leipzig in the Second World War. However, photocopies of the proofs circulated among scholars. A revised and expanded edition of the texts was published in 1973-4 in two volumes.
1974 Volume I was a corrected version of the first edition volume I, yet volume II 1974 was entirely revised and the Papyri originally planned for vol. III were included. The indexes were omitted, however. An English translation of Preisendanz’s edited Papyri, along with some additional Greek and Demotic texts, was produced in the 1980s by Hans Dieter Betz, which is the most distributed copy available today.
Invocation to Hecate in the PGM
Initial Invocation To Hecate – PGM trans. Betz
´δεῦρ᾽, Έκάτη, γιγάεσσα, Διώνης ή μεδέουσα, Περσια, Βαυβώ, Φρούνη, ἰοχέαιρα, ἀδμήτη, Λύδη, ἀδαμάστωρ, εὐπατόπρεια, δᾳδοῦχε, ήγεμόωη, κατα<καμ>ψυψαύχενε, Κούρη · κλῦθι, διαζεύξασα, πύλας ἀλύτου ἀδάμαντος, Ἅρτεμι, ῆ καἰ πρόσθεν ἐπίσκοπος ἦσ<θ>α, μεγίστη, πότνια, ῤηξίχθων, σκυλακάγεια, πανδαμάτειρα, εἰνοδία, τρικάρανε, φαεσφόρε, παρθένε σεμνή· σ ἐ καλῶ, ἐλλοφόνα, <δο>λόεσσα, Ἀυδναία, πολύμορφε·
δεῦρ᾽, Έκάτη, τριοδῖτι, πυρίπνοα φάσματ᾽ ἒχουσα χἀτ ἒλαχες δεινάσ μέν ὀδούς, χαλεπἀς δ᾽ ἐπιπομπάς· τἀν Έκάταν σε καλῶ σὐν ἀποφθιμένοισιν ἀώροις, κεἲ τινες ἦρὠων ἒθανον ἀγὐναιοἰ τε ἂπαιδες, ἂγρια συριζοντες, ἐπἰ φρεσι θυμὀν ἒδοντες ( οί δἐ · ἀνέμων εἲδωλον ἒχοντες)·
– PGM IV. 2714-2734
Come! Hekate, giantess, Dione’s guard, Persia, Baubo, Phroune (frog), arrow-shooter, unconquered, Lydian, indomitable, noble-born, torch-bearer, queen, bender of proud necks, Kore; hear me, you who parts the adamantine gates, Artemis you are also guardian, Great one, Mistress, bursting forth from the earth, leader of dogs, all-powerful, Einodia (goddess of the crossroads), triple-headed, light-bringer, sacred virgin. I invoke you, fawn-slayer, astute-one, Aidonia (Underworld Goddess), you of many forms.
Come, Hekate, of the three ways, you who with your fire-breathing phantoms oversee the dreaded paths and harsh enchantments.
Come Hekate, I invoke you with those who have untimely perished and those heroes who have died wifeless and childless, whose souls hiss wildly with yearning hearts.
Full Invocation To Hecate in the PGM – trans. Betz
“Come, giant Hekate, Dionne’s guard, / O Persia, Baubo Phroune, dart-shooter, unconquered Lydian, the one untamed, sired nobly, torch-bearing, guide, who bends down proud necks, Kore, hear, you who’ve parted / gates of steel unbreakable. O Artemis, who, too, were once protectress, mighty one, mistress, who burst forth from the earth, dog-leader, all-tamer, crossroad goddess, triple-headed, bringer of light, August/virgin, I call you fawn-slayer, crafty, O infernal one, and many formed.
Come, Hekate, goddess of three ways, who with your fire-breathing phantoms have been allotted dreaded roads and harsh enchantments. Hekate I call you with those who have died without a wife and children, hissing wildly, yearning in their hearts.
“Go stand above her (NN) head and take away from her sweet sleep. And never let eyelid come glued to eyelid, but let her be sore distressed with wakeful cares for me. And if she lies with someone else in her embrace, let her thrust him away and take me in her heart. Let her abandon him at once and stand before my door subdued in soul at longing fro my bed of love.
But you, O Hekate, of many names, O Virgin, Kore, Goddess, come, I ask, O guard and shelter of the threshing floor, Persephone, O triple-headed goddess, who walk on fire, cow-eyed BOUORPHORBÊ PANPHORBA PHORBARA AKTIÔPHI ERESCHIGAL / NEBOUTOSOUALÊTH beside the doors, PYPYLÊDEDEZÔ, and gate-breaker; Come Hekate of fiery counsel, I call you to my sacred chants. MASKELLI MASKELLÔ PHNOUKENTABAÔTH OREOBAZAGRA who burst forth from the earth, / earth mare, OREOPÊGANYX MORMORON TOKOUMBAI”
“In frenzy may she (NN) come fast to my doors, forgetting children, and her life with parents, and loathing all the race of men and women except me (NN), but may she hold me alone and come subdued in heart by love’s great force.
THENÔB TITHELÊB ÊNÔR TENTHÊNÔR. / Many-named One, KYZALEOUSA PAZAOUS; wherefore, KOLLIDÊCHMA and SAB set her soul ablaze with unresting fire. Both ÔRIÔN and MICHAÊL who sits on high: you hold the seven waters / and the earth, keeping in check the one they call the great serpent, AKROKODÊRE MOUISRÔ CHARCHAR ADŌNAI ZEUS DÊ DAMNAMENEUS KYNOBIOU EZAGRA” (add the usual).
“IÔ, all-powerful goddess/ and IÔ all-guarding one; IÔ all-sustaining One, ZÊLACHNA: and SAAD SABIÔTHE NOUMILLION NATHOMEINA, always KEINÊTH, stalwart THÊSEUS ONYX, prudent DAMNAMENEUS, / avenging goddess, strong goddess, rite of ghosts, Persia SEBARA AKRA. Haste quickly. Let her now stand at my doors”
– PGM IV. 2714 – 2784
*Love spell of attraction performed with the help of heroes or gladiators or
those who have died a violent death: leave a little of the bread which you eat;
break it up and form it into seven bite-size pieces. And go to where heroes and
gladiators and those who have died a violent death were slain. / Say the spell to the
pieces of bread and throw them. And pick up some polluted dirt from the place
where you perform the ritual and throw it inside the house of the woman whom
you desire, go on home and go to sleep.
The spell which is said upon the pieces of bread is this:
‘To Moirai, Destinies, / Malignities,
To Faminc, Jealousy, to those who died
Untimely deaths and those dead violently,
I’m sending food: Three-headed Goddess, Lady
Of Night, who faced on filth, O Virgin, thou
Key-holding Persephassa, Kore out
Of Tartaros, grim-eyed, dreadful, child girt /
With fiery serpents, he, NN, has mixed
With tears and bitter groans leftovers from
His own food, so that you, O luckless heroes
Who arc confined there in the NN place,
May bring success to him who is beset
With torments. You who’ve left the light, O you
Unfortunate ones, / bring success to him,
NN, who is distressed at heart because
Of her, NN, ungodly and unholy.
So bring her wracked with torment – and in haste!
EIOUT ABAÕTH PSAKERBA ARBATHIAÖ LALAOITH / IŌSACHŌTOU ALLALETHŌ
You too as well, Lady, who feed on filth
SYNATRAKABI BAUBARABAS ENPHNOUN MORKA ERESCHIGAL NEBOUTOSOUALĒTH,
and send the Erinys ORGOGORGONIOTRIAN,
Who rouses up with fire souls of the dead, /
Unlucky heroes, luckless heroines,
Who in this place, who on this day, who in
This hour, who in coffins of Myrtlewood,
Give heed to me and rouse / her, NN, on
This night and from her eyes remove sweet sleep,
And cause her wretched care and fearful pain,
Cause her to follow after my footsteps,
And /for my will give her a willingness
Until she does what I command of her.
O mistress Hekate
PHORBA PHORBÖBAR BARÖ PHÖRPHÖR PHŌRBAI
O Lady of the Crossroads, O Black Bitch.
When you have done / these things for 3 days and accomplish nothing, then use
this forceful spell: just go to the same place and again perform the ritual of the
bread pieces. Then upon ashes of flax offer up dung / from a black cow and say this
and again pick up the polluted dirt and throw it as you have learned.
The words spoken over the offering are these:
“Chthonic Hermes and chthonic Hekatc and chthonic Acheron and chthonic / flesh-eaters and chthonic god and chthonic Amphiaraos and chthonic attendants and chthonic spirits and chthonic sins and chthonic dreams / and chthonic oaths and chthonic Ariste and chthonic Tartaros and chthonic witchery, chthonic Charon and chthonic escorts and the dead and the daimons and souls of all men: /come today, Moirai and Destiny; accomplish the purpose with the help of the love spell of attraction, that you may attract to mc her, NN whose Mother is NN, to me
NN, whose mother is NN (add the usual), because I am calling
O primal Chaos, / Erebos, and you
O awful water of the Styx, O streams
O Lethe, Hades’ Acherousian pool,
O Hekate and Pluto and Kore,
And chthonic Hermes, Moirai, Punishments,
Both Acheron and Aiakos, / gatekeeper
Of the eternal bars, now open quickly,
O thou Key-holder, guardian, Anubis.
Send up to me the phantoms of the dead
Forthwith for service in this very hour. /
So that they may go and attract to me, NN, her, NN, whose mother is NN” (add
Isis came, holding on her shoulders her brother who is her bedfellow, and
Zeus came down from Olympus and stood awaiting the phantoms / of the dead as
they were being led to her, NN, and were performing the NN business (add the
usual). All the immortal gods and all the goddesses came to see the phantoms of
these dead. Do not, therefore, delay; / do not loiter, but dispatch, O gods, the
phantoms of these dead, so that having gone to her NN they may perform the NN
deed (add the usual) because I adjure you by IAŌ SABAOTH and ADŌNAI PATRAXILYTRA BOURREPHAŌMI ASSALKË AIDOUNAX SESENGEN (formula) BALIABA ERECHCHARNOI ABERIDOUMA SALBACHTHI EISERSE / RATHÖ EISERDA ŌMI SISIPHNA
SISAEDOUBE ACHCHARITŌNĒ ABERIPHNOUBA IABAL DENATHI ITHROUPHI.
Send up the phantoms of these dead to her NN / whose mother is NN, so that
they may perform the NN deed” (add the usual).
*Tr.: E. N. O’Neil.
More to be added – page under construction
NB. The Hierón of Hekate Própolos would welcome any corrections by way of special characters, or Ancient Greek alphabet as to have clear and precise accuracy on the fragments above – some are from very hard to read a script or have been sullied via multiple translations)