Faculté des lettres

Magical Milk Stones?

Dasen, Véronique

In: Plutarco, entre dioses y astros. Homenaje al profesor Aurelio Pérez Jiménez de sus discípulos, colegas y amigos, 2019, no. 2, p. 1035-1048

n the Roman imperial period, a large series of so-called magical stones are carved with the image of the lion-headed snake Chnoubis. The figure is often associated with the order pesse, or pepte “digest!”, and seems to avert stomach ailment. This paper investigates other possible competences which focus on the protection of children in the form of an alternative type of milk stone, because... More

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    Summary
    n the Roman imperial period, a large series of so-called magical stones are carved with the image of the lion-headed snake Chnoubis. The figure is often associated with the order pesse, or pepte “digest!”, and seems to avert stomach ailment. This paper investigates other possible competences which focus on the protection of children in the form of an alternative type of milk stone, because milk was believed to come from the digestion of blood. Chnoubis could thus promote breastfeeding and suckling. It suggests also that Chnoubis, as “crusher of snakes”, could act on a very widespread disorder, intestinal parasites, like a warrior, but fighting an invasion of worms. The power of Chnoubis for the survival of children as well as against a very common stomach ailment which represented a societal disease, could explain the high number of extant stones carved with this figure.