previous next


Enchantment by the evil eye, words, or cries, exercised on persons (especially children), animals, and things, as, for instance, on a piece of ground. The word was also applied to the counter-charm, by which it was supposed that the enchantment could be averted, or even turned against the enchanter. Amulets of various kinds were employed as counter-charms. They were supposed either to procure the protection of a particular deity, or to send the enchanter mad by means of terrible, ridiculous, or obscene objects. The name fascinum was thus specially applied to the phallus (q. v.), or effigy of the male organ of generation, which was the favourite counter-charm of the Romans. An image of this fascinum was contained in the bulla worn as an amulet by children, and was also put under the chariot of a general at his triumph, as a protection against envy. See Amuletum; and Malus Oculus in Appendix.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: