) were mystic words engraved on the crown,
the girdle, and the feet of the Ephesian Artemis (Eustath. ad
p. 1864). When
pronounced, they were regarded as a charm (Menand. ap. Suid. s. v. ἀλεξιφάρμακα
M.); written copies, apparently on strips of parchment like the Jewish
phylacteries, were worn as amulets (ἐν σκυταρίοις
ῥαπτοῖσι φέρων Ἐφεσήϊα γράμματα καλά,
c = fr.
15 M.). They cured diseases, charmed away evil spirits, and gave victory in
contests of various kinds (Eustath. ad
Hom. Od. 19.247
; Phot., Etym.
Hesych., s. v.). They are among the περίεργα
or “curious arts” of Acts 19.19, where
see the commentators, and cf. Conybeare and Howson, St. Paul,
2.13 (original edition). The charms and amulets of Alexander of Tralles, a
physician of the sixth century, seem to have been a survival of the Ἐφέσια γράμματα,
though he was almost
certainly a Christian, and employs Hebrew as well as Greek mystical
expressions; see specimens in Dict. Biogr.
§ 42, n.17.)