（περίαπτον, περίαμμα, φυλακτήριον
). A charm worn by a
human being, or even by an animal, to avert evil or secure good fortune. The word is from the
, meaning “that which is
suspended.” Amulets are as old as the Homeric μῶλυ
Od. x. 305
); but appear to have been introduced into Rome from the East
under the early Empire. The word is first used in Pliny (Pliny
H. N. xxxvii. 124
). They consist of gems or stones, metals (e. g.
copper, iron, gold); plants (e. g. laurel, hellebore, fig); animals and parts of animals (e.
g. the spider, the bat, the dog's gall, the ass's testicles, wolf's fat); parts and secretions
of the human body (e. g. the blood of gladiators, the eyetooth of a corpse); and artificial
shapes often obscene. These were attached to a chain or belt passed over one shoulder and
under the other. See Pliny, Bk.
H. N. xxxvii.
; O. Jahn, Ueber den bösen Blick
in Berichte der sächsischen Gesellschaft (1855)
; C. W.
King, Precious Stones and Metals;
vi. p. 104; Labatut in Daremberg and Saglio, s. h. v.; and the articles Bulla
; Malus Oculus