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Ephesiae Littĕrae

Ἐφέσια γράμματα). Mystic words engraved on the crown, the girdle, and the feet of the Ephesian Artemis (Eustath. ad Homer Od. p. 1864). When pronounced, they were regarded as a charm (Menand. ap. Suid. s. v. ἀλεξιφάρμακα = fr. 360 M.). Written copies, apparently on strips of parchment like the Jewish phylacteries, were worn as amulets (Athen. xii. 548 c.=fr. 15 M.). They cured diseases, charmed away evil spirits, and gave victory in contests of various kinds. They are among the περίεργα, or “curious arts,” of Acts, xix. 19, where see the commentators, and cf. Conybeare and Howson, St. Paul, ii. 13 (first edition, London, 1852). The charms and amulets of Alexander of Tralles (q.v.), 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 Amuletum.

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