Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Signum Salomonis - Introduction

Signum Salomonis
(Study of comparable Etnography)
Leite De Vasconcelos
(1858 – 17 May 1941)
Published in  (1918)
Translation from Portugese
(of most of the introduction - some words or sentences
were omitted for the sake of clarity)

Signum Salomonis [Solomon's Seal] which spread over a vast part of the globe since ancient eras, enjoys great vitality in Portugal’s beliefs and culture, and has, there and overseas, different shapes, such as those shown in the following illustrations:
1. pentagram [1]

Fig. 2 is Fig. 1 but upside-down:

3. hexagram (six-pointed star) [2]

our people gave the name "Folded Solomon's Seal" to the following shapes or to some of them:

[1] Pentalpha, from penta, meaning “five”, and alpha, name of the first letter of the alphabet. It shows “five alphas” - according to the shape’s appearance. Pentalpha is a word used by several scholars, like, for example:
Chr. A. Lobeck, Aglaophamus sive de theologiae mysticae Graecorum causis, 1829, p. 1346;
Minervini, Novelle dilucidazioni sopra un antico chiodo magico, 1846, p. 23;
Le Blant & Renan, in Revue Archéolog., II, 345;
Teixeira de Aragão, Moedas de Portugal, I, 147;
Head, Historia nummorum, p. 465 (pentagon or pentalpha).
Scholars also call it: pentagram, pentagon and starred-polygon.
The English say pentacle (see Webster’s Dictionary).
In Magic books you can find it as Mercury’s star, as in Secrets merveilleux de la magie naturelle et cabalistique du Petit Albert, translated from Latin, Lyon, France, 1791, p. 147. 

Model of Mercury talisman
From the above mentioned book

And there are other names as well.
People also gave, pretty improperly, the name Solomon's Seal to an armillary sphere* which you can see in certain Portuguese coins from the XVIII and XIX centuries
[3] See O Archeologo Portugues, x, 171.

The page from Vol. X (1905) of O Archeologo Portugues mentioned above
Which is the journal of the Porugal Ethnological Museum
Edited by Leite De Vasconcelos

* "An armillary sphere is a model of objects in the sky consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centred on Earth, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features" (Source: Wikipedia)
[2] Hexalpha, from six and alpha. Synonym: hexagram.

Designed by Ze'ev Barkan