Amulet-ring; gold; once nielloed(?); hoop of triangular section with reserved inscriptions.
- Diameter: 0.92 inches
- Weight: 55 grains
Inscription ContentDUM DICITUR ANANISZA(P)TA EST MALA MORS CAPTA / ANANISZA(P)T AM HERIT ILE QUAM LEDERE QVERIT.
Text from Dalton 1912, Catalogue of Finger Rings:
The ground between the letters was perhaps filled with niello.
Ananizapta (Anamizapta) or Ananizaptus was usually a charm against epilepsy or falling sickness, though it appears also to have served against intoxication. The couplet on the present ring is more correctly given on a ring in the Waterton Collection (in the Victoria and Albert Museum):
Est mala mors capta dum dicitur Ananizapta
Ananizapta ferit illum qui laedere quaerit
Another variant is given in a magical MS. in the British Museum (Sloane 389), where it is connected with the Signum Tau (Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. xl, p. 311; and see no. 721 for the connection of the Tau with St Anthony). The Stockholm MS. says (f, 35): For ye fallyg ewell. Sey yis word anamzaptus in hys ere qhwa he is fallyn dou in yt ewyll, and also in womanys ere anamzapta ....
Cf. no. 876, and for other rings with Ananizapta see Arch. Journ. xvi, p. 303; xviii, p. 91; Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. xxxiii, p. 117.
The word may be susceptible of an explanation on principle similar to that which resolved the mystery of AGLA (cf. no. 866). As early as 1491 Guarinus in his Vocabularium gives an explanation based on this principle, though the language to which he applies it is not Hebrew but Latin: Ananisapta mala mors interpretatur et quaelibet littera repraesentat unam dictionem, scilicet: Antidotum Nazareni Auferat Necem Intoxicationis Sanctifice(n)t Alimenta, Pocula Trinitatis Alma. Here drunkenness is the evil against which the charm is employed (see E. Le Blant, in Rev. Arch., 1892, Pt. 1, p. 57). Ananizapta is found in conjunction with Agla, and is also associated with the names of God, Emmanuel and Tetragrammaton (Reichelt, Exercitatio de Amuletis, 1676, p. lvi, fig. 2).
Prehistory and Europe
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Object reference number: MCM5608
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