Some Ancient Precautions against the Evil Eye

This mosaic is in Antiochia, in southern Turkey, but it was made by someone from the ancient Roman Empire.  It shows all the weaponry and charms the Romans used against the evil eye.


The evil eye is being attacked by a sword, a trident (used by the Romans for hunting fish), a scorpion, a poisonous millipede (some millipedes are as dangerous as scorpions, if you can believe it), a snake, a crow, a black cat, and a black dog.  The Romans regarded all black animals as magical, since they were associated with the underworld and were omens of death.  When sacrifices were made to Pluto or Hades, the god of hell, the animals offered were always black ones.

Possibly the most remarkable element here is the little horned dwarf, pointing both his horns and his massive penis at the evil eye.  Pompeii is also full of mosaics and statues with huge penises, to ward off the evil eye.  Italians still make the sign of the horns with their hands, pointing their index finger and little finger at the floor while making a fist, to ward off the evil eye and turn the evil forces back against the person who cast them.

The writing on the mosaic says KAI SU, which means “You too”.  In other words, right back at you!

Evil Eye paper cover Read EVIL EYE – A mystery adventure set in Istanbul (click on the image for details)

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