“THE vellum MS. Registrum Vetus Episcopatus Glasguensis [Registrar old Bishopric of Glasgow] now kept at Blair’s College near Aberdeen was the most important source for the printed Chartulary.1 On folio 24a, an entry2 made about the year 1200 runs thus:
“Ad dolorem ylii. Scribe in anulo aureo et porta in digito continue. | Thebal. Guth. Guthani. Hoc est. Deus princeps. conditor. conditorum. theos | enim deus. Bal. princeps, Guth. conditor. Guthani. conditorum.
“Scribe aut sivis in eodem anulo vel in alio aureo. Ad vitandam omnem ven | tositatem. que sit sub umbilico. Theos. Ydros. Adros. Hoc est. Deus | creator creaturarum. Theos. enim. deus. ydros creator. Adros creaturarum.”
[“To [ylii] pain. Write out a gold ring finger and a gateway to continue. | Thebal. Guth. Guthani. It is. The leader. founder. founders. god | for god. Bal. leader, Guth. founder. Guthan. founders.
“Write a ring or in another in the same or in the ranks to the golden. To avoid any selling | [tositatem]. connection which is the breadth below the navel. God. [Ydros]. Dexterous. It is. God | creator of creatures. God. for. [ydros] creator. Dexterous creatures.”]
Through the kindness of His Grace Archbishop Eyre of Glasgow, last winter the MS. was sent to Glasgow, and the passage in question photographed by Mr. Macgregor Chalmers. Thus, SCOTS LORE is able to reproduce it to its readers.
In the passage two amulets are mentioned, both of which are gold rings, each with an inscription, and serve as magic means against certain pains in the bowels. Both enjoyed a great reputation during the middle ages, more especially the first, which was known all over the continent of Europe as well as Great Britain. Along the coasts of the Baltic and the German Ocean [North Sea], in North Germany, the Danish islands, Jutland, England, Scotland, and France, samples of Thebal amulets have been found, and a rather comprehensive literature on the subject has arisen since the middle of the present century when several rings with such inscriptions were excavated. The first Thebal amulet which became known in modern times was a French one. As early as 1764 a delineation of it was published, and a description given by M. Caylus in his Recueil d’Antiquités. Then there was a long pause. In 1846 and 1848, in Great Britain, the Archaeological Journal took up the subject and pictured three amulets, and in 1860 K. Klug treated of some Danish and North German Thebal rings.3 He was the first who tried to explain their legends, but, owing to his limited knowledge of the subject, arrived at no results. In 1864 the Rev. C. W. King devoted some pages of his book The Gnostics and their Remains to these rings, but starting from an entirely wrong basis, and being anything but accurate, he scarcely touched the proper point. In 1877 Mr. William Jones repeated the descriptions and delineations of the three amulets from the Archaeological Journal in his book on Finger-Ring Lore; while in 1892 in Germany Deecke made the Thebal rings the subject of an article.4 Starting with an erroneous proposition, he bent facts so as to suit his conclusions. Besides, like all his predecessors, he knew too limited a number of such amulets to arrive at sure results.
Although by the treatment of the subject in three countries almost nothing has been done for the exploration and explanation of the matter in question, yet a considerable amount of material has accumulated and a historical review of it has become possible. I know at present fifteen Thebal amulets. Probably many more exist in local museums or in private possession, or have even been published in Transactions of Societies or books still less accessible. I propose first to give a list of those I know. I shall be glad is this paper should be the means of drawing others to the light.
Thebal. Guth. Guthani.
found written, as I have said, in the Glasgow Registrum very near the year 1200 by an ecclesiastic who filled up with it an almost empty page. The handwriting points very clearly to its date. I first called attention to it in the Athenaeum.5
Inscription of a ring of base metal, plated with gold, and dug up near to the churchyard at Bredicot, Worcestershire, in 1846 or a short time before that year. Mr. Jabez Allies, the possessor, sent it to the Archaeological Journal, and it was described and represented there6 in two delineations. It appears to be of the fourteenth century.
Inscription of a gold ring, much bent and defaced; it was found about 1840 on the Glamorganshire coast, near to the Worms Head, the western extremity of the county, where numerous objects, such as firearms, an astrolabe, and silver dollars, have been found on the shifting of the sand at various times. It has been supposed that these remains indicate the spot where a Spanish or Portuguese vessel was wrecked about 250 years ago. The Rev. R. Gordon communicated the relic to the Archaeological Journal, and the Rev. H. H. Knight, of Neath, Glamorganshire (in whose possession presumably the ring was), gave permission to represent it in the Journal.7 The Thebal inscription was in the inside, while the outside was filled with another. This mode points to the way in which the two formulae which occur in the Glasgow Chartulary may have been engraved on the same ring.
Inscription of an octagon gold ring weighing 56 grains [3.6g*]. The ring was found in digging up the roots of an old oak tree, which had been blown down in 1846, on a farm called the Rookery, in the parish of Calne, Wiltshire, belonging to Mr. Thomas Poynder. The farm is distant about a mile from Calne, and about the same distance from Bowood. Dr. Jennings gave these particulars to the Archaeological Journal,8 where they appeared, together with two delineations of the ring. Corresponding with the eight compartments on the outside there are seven in the inside.
Inscription of a golden nonagon ring, No. 1930 in the Kopenhague Museum for Antiquities. It was found in 1828 near Snoghöi, Jutland, close to the sea coast, and published for the first time by Klug.9
Inscription of a massive silver nonagon ring,10 No. 11563 in the Kopenhague Museum of Antiquities. It was found in 1851 near Grundömagle, in the parish of Torkildstrup, on the island of Falster, Denmark, together with a silver relic-cross of the eleventh century, and other silver ornaments.
Gold ring in the Lübeck Museum, Department of Lübeck Antiquities, weight “zwei Ducaten” [2 Ducats], form nonagon. It was found beside the left hand of the body of a man in 1852, through the excavation of the site of Alt-Lübeck, in a church which had been destroyed by pirates in 1138.11
“Against the falling sickness, write these characters upon a ring;
Outside, + ou thebal gut guthani; inside, + eri gerari.”
From the last leaf of the Theophilus MS. of the fourteenth century.12 I have not seen the Theophilus MS., and am not even sure whether this MS. is identical with the fourteenth century Theophilus MS., Nr. 2333A at Paris, which Ach, Jubinal (Ruteboeuf ii., 262) had attributed to the eleventh century, but which, according to W. Meyer,13 was written three centuries later. Thus I am unable to express any opinion on the correctness of the reading.
VDROS : U : + : THEBAL (Inside)
+ GUTTV : GUTTA : MADROS : ADROS (Outside)
Inscription of a gold ring found in Rockingham forest in 1841. It bears the first line on the inside, the second on the outside.14
Guttu Guttu Thebal Ebal Adros Madros.
This formula was published in King’s Gnostics and their Remains.15 He says of it that it was “in frequent use” in the middle ages, but unfortunately does not give his source, so that in the meantime further information is not to be had concerning it. He believes that the formula represents, in Latin, the sound of the Hebrew words meaning, “Time, time, the world, vanity, I will seek after, the sought,” a statement which seems to me void of foundation.
7 thebal guttatim aurum & thus de. + Abra iesus + alabra iesus +
Galabra iesus + widh thone dworh on iii oflaetan writ.
From a flyleaf in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. MS. Auct. F. 3, 6 fol I. Before thebal a line has been erased, of which the only letters still legible are GUTT; some lines lower on the same page the words in capitals, THEBAL GUTTANI, are standing, the last two letters so faint that Prof. Napier, who published that charm first in 1890,16 could not then decipher them. It was only after he became acquainted with the formula A that he was able to read the whole.17 According to Prof. Napier the charm is written in an eleventh century hand.
Boro berto briore + Vulnera quinque dei sint medicina mei + Tahebal +
+ Guthman + + + Onthman + + + + + Purld crampri + Cristus
+ factus + est + pro + nobis + obediens + vsque + ad +
mortem + mortem + autem + crucis. + …
From an English medical manuscript of the latter part of the fourteenth century, preserved in the Royal Library at Stockholm, communicated by George Stephens, Esq., through Sir Henry Ellis.18 The above passage is part of “A charme for peynys in theth,” which begins “Sancta apolonia virgo fuit…”19 The editor could not decide whether the word Guthman was right. He hesitated between Guthman and ghether, and gave both reading. The former is, now that we know Guthani as part of the old Thebal formula, the more likely.
+ OEGVTAA + SAGRA + HOGOGRA + IOTHE + HENAVEAET
+ OCCINOMOS + ON + IKC + HOGOTE + BANGVES + ALPHA 7 IB
+ ANA + EENETON + AIRIE + OIPA + AGLA + MEIDA + ADONAI
+ HEIEPNATHOI + GEBAI + GVTGVTTA + IEOTHIN
Inscription of a gold ring, a plain four-sided hoop, weight 63 grains [4.1g*], found in France in the spring of 1763. Caylus, who published a description and two delineations of it in his famous Racueil d’Antiquités,20 says, [“In the spring of this year, 1763, was situated in a quagmire a league north of the city of Amiens, seven gold Imperial medals,.. Well this little discovery provided that other gold ring to which that object belongs and which I will describe.
“The body of this ring is simple and square; each face is absolutely filled with hollow serious characters with great art, as seen developed on the board at number vii, and rendered with an exactitude which I can answer; because they have been reviewed by Mr. Abbe Mignot, my good brother.
“These characters seem to me twelfth century; but the words they form are barbaric and similar to those found on the Magical or Astronomical rings, compounds to be used as amulets: it appears to me of the same kind; the name of Jesus Christ in abbreviated; Alpha of the second line; the Adonai at the end of the third, the Agla in the same line, and the Cross repeated in each, is very frequently found on the monuments of this kind of superstition… It weighs half of a large twenty-four grains [0.8g*]: outside diameter, ten lines**: inside diameter, eight lines and a third; therefore this ring has always been made to be worn on the finger.”]*** Mr. King, who copied the inscription from Caylus’ Recueil, a beautiful copy of which is in the Hunterian Museum, made more than half-a-dozen mistakes in his copy.21
It covers the shank of a silver ring of the fourteenth century; the circular face bearing, in disjoined letters the Ave Maria. It was published by King, The Gnostics, p. 132, obs. I.
EZERA. EZERA. ERAVERAGAN. GVGVGVRALTERANI
ALPHA. ET. 𝜔
It is the inscription on the upper side of a silver ring brooch in the Waterton Collection.22 The flat surface underneath bears the words, + AOTVO NO OIO MO OOIO AV. It was published by King, The Gnostics, p. 132, obs. I.
* * * * *
The first task is to find out what is the Vulgata of the text in the middle ages, and what is its oldest form. There arises one great difficulty. The dating of such things as rings is very uncertain. It frequently happens that an old inscription is copied well at a comparatively late date, and the exact copying is the more probable in the case of a thing of magic import. Besides, it is often impossible to assign a certain ring to a certain century, or even to a period of two or more centuries, and authorities not rarely widely differ in their opinions. Literary or other external evidence is much more likely to furnish sure results.
Before going further, therefore, I shall put aside those formulae which apparently bear the stamp of attrition or mutilation.
Such are I and K, which, although not perfectly identical, both represent a mixing up of the Thebal formula with the Ydros formula (found together in the Glasgow Chartulary).
L, according to Prof. Napier, belongs to a comparatively early date. It is written in the eleventh century, but is clearly very corrupt, for the following reasons: – Firstly, beside Thebal Guttani there occurs, on the same page, the formula Thebal Guttatim; secondly, the magic formula aurum, thus et myrrha [gold, frankincense and myrrh], the gifts of the Sages of the Orient to Jesus, which were used as a talisman in the same way as the three hypothetical kings – Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar – appear mutilated as myrrha has been left out; thirdly, the de after thus shows that something else is wrong.
Moreover, in M, even if we accept the reading Guthman and thus make the formula run Tahebal, + + Guthman + + + Onthman, the mutilations are quite apparent, and as the MS. In which they occur is of the latter part of the fourteenth century, the wording of the formula in it certainly lacks weight. I am, besides, inclined to believe that Guthman is misread for Guthani.
It is the same with N. Caylus assigns it to the twelfth century, but it is certainly very corrupt. For Alpha et 𝜔 the engraving has Alpha et I B (Alpha et Omega are words frequently occurring in the magic formulae of the middle ages. Comp. our formula P). Sacra is spelled Sagra and αγιογραφα appears as hogogra.
In O the Thebal formula is not to be recognised but for the Gugugu. Otherwise probably nobody would think of taking out the letters Beralt, leaving out the R, and forming Tebal out of them. P is somewhat nearer to our formula, ending in ani, and the word Gutani being easily formed from it.
Thus, only eight Thebal formulae remain (A B C D E F G H), and of these I ascribe no weight to H, it being of the fourteenth century, and besides its text not being examined by any authority. The word Thebal all these have in common except B, which has Thebai, apparently rhyming to Guthani. As regards the last two words we have three groups, one with Guth Guthani, one with Gut Guthani, and one with Gut Guttani, or variations of it.
(a) A. Thebal Guth Guthani.
D. Θηbal Γuθ Γuθani.
B. Thebai Guth Guthani.
(b) E. Thebal Gut Guthani.
H. Thebal Gut Guthani.
(c) C. Dhebal Gut Guttanni.
F. Thebal Gut Gutgttan.
G. Thebal Cuttani.
The third of these, the Gut Guttani group, characterises itself as of less importance since it shews rather serious mutilations such as Gutgttan in F. G is besides the only inscription in which a miniscule the h in ThEBAL) occurs, and is therefore to be regarded as somewhat late; the C in it instead of the common G is a mutilation too. As it is further the sole inscription with only one Gut (Cut) while all the rest have two, and F even shews a tendency of getting three (Gut Gut g[u]ttan), it is, of all the eight inscriptions still in question, the worst.
It is a strange misfortune that a German fellow-countryman of mine who last inquired into the subject, Deecke,23 should just have taken his start from G. He was of the opinion that the rings were devoted to Saint Theobald of Thann, Alsace, and he explained Thebal Cutthani, as Thebal (dus) C(onfessor) V(enerabilis) T(utor) Thani. This explanation is by itself open to some little objections. Firstly, Thebal is not Theobaldus nor Dietbald; even the French form Thiebal approaches it only: secondly, the Cutthani, which Deecke explains, is found nowhere, only tt or th, but never tth occurring: thirdly, the Latin name of the little town of Thann is Thanae Thanarum and not Thanum, Thani. But it may also be proved positively that the explanation is wrong. St. Ubaldo, Bishop of Eugubium, Umbria, died the sixteenth of May, 1160, and was proclaimed a saint in 1192 by Pope Coelestinus. Now, one of the rings (G itself) was found beside the left hand of the body of a man who had been buried in a church, destroyed in 1138 by the pirate-prince Ratze of Rügen, and never built up again. Thus, the man must have been buried before the year 1138. At that date Bishop Ubaldo was still alive, and the town of Thann did in all probability not even exist. The legend states as the date of the foundation of it the year 1244. And even later the cult of St. Ubaldo developed rather slowly at Thann; the first pilgrimages from distant places to Thann we know belonging to the year 1405! Something else supports this point still more strongly. The formula L in the Bodleian Library in which the word Thebal occurs is of the eleventh century, and thus belongs to a time when Bishop Ubaldo was not even born.
Starting from a wrong explanation of a wrong reading of the most mutilated of all the inscriptions within his reach, Deecke asserts that all the inscriptions which have G instead of his C in Guthani are more or less degenerate. The C could by means of a flourish, he says, easily develop to G. The only means of finding out what the constant elements of mediaeval amulets are and what the variable is to compare a great number of them. It is only thus that all the little individual variations can be balanced.
It has already been pointed out that we have to reject the C in Cuttani (ring G) on the authority of the fourteen other amulets which have G. But how about the Guth Guthani, or the simple Guthani? Which is older? Although it is extremely difficult to say what is the exact age of each ring, we have again the authority of seven of the best reserved rings (A D B E H C F) against one (G), and thus the Guth Guthani seems to be safe. But perhaps it may be objected that repetitions of words or syllables frequently occur in magic formulae, and that thus the Guthani is likely to be older than the Guth Guthani. That objection deserves attention. It is true such repetitions of words little varied are rather frequent in charms of all kids, but this variation is of a different kind: its tendency is to produce rhymes. Formula K affords an excellent example of it. Out of Thebal and Ydros Adros it makes Thebal Ebal Adros Madros. Further M makes Guthman + + + Onthman out of Guth Guthani. It would be entirely contrary to the way in which these formulae usually develop to assume that the first syllable of Guthani had been put twice so as to produce Guth Guthani, whereas, on the other hand, if the formula was Guth Guthani, one of the Guths might easily be left out by an inattentive engraver. Another engraver (that of F), becoming confused by the doubling of Gut, began to put the word three times, and, although he did not repeat the whole for the third time, had to leave out the final I from want of space. As a repetition of the first syllable of Guthani cannot be explained by the usual way of development of these formulae, I am much inclined to assume that the Guth preceding Guthani in seven of the eight best preserved cases belongs to the formula originally.
Another question is, whether Guthani or Guttani is older. As the group (c) in two of its formulae shows clear corruptions, only the ring C can be adduced in favour of Guttani. But it stands all alone as against five rings with Guthani (A D B E H, one of which (D) has the θ instead of th), and thus the reading of the latter is sure to have been the commoner in the middle ages. All the later rings have tt. Thus the five Guthani rings are likely to be nearer the original in their readings, and of these again, judging from the numbers, the three with Guth Guthani (A D B) deserve preference over the two with Gut Guthani (H E). Moreover, it is more likely that the th should develop into t or tt than that a t should develop in th, for the letter h is more easily left out or assimilated to t than an h created anew. Thus we arrive at the conclusion that the Guth Guthani (which is represented by A, D, and B) is nearest the original. If that be right, the pedigree of the types of our fifteen charms is as follows:-
Only now can we approach the question whether Thebal Guth Guthani, the reading of A D and (with the exception of one letter) B, means anything, and what it means. I do not think there can be any doubt about the two last words, for they are certainly Gothic, and mean deus deorum or god of gods.
It happens, of course, occasionally by chance, i.e., by misspelling, by abbreviating, by combining two words into one, or by dividing one word into parts, that out of elements of words of one language there arises a word of another. All decipherers of inscriptions experience that difficulty. But that two words beside each other, two absolutely correct forms of another language, which even syntactically agree, and have a clear and suitable meaning besides, should originate in that way is almost inconceivable.
There has been discussion as to what is the final consonant of the root of the Gothic word guth, god; since, in the MSS. of Wulfila’s translation of parts of the Bible, the word is generally abbreviated, nom. Gth, gen. Gths, dat. Gtha, and there is, besides, a compound guthaskaunei, godlike figure. At the same time there is a neuter plural gruda, meaning the heathen gods, in accordance with which the gen. of the simplex, i.e., of guth, should be expected to be gudis, and the dative guda, while guthaskaunei, in which, after a short root vowel, the so-called themavocal a has been preserved, so that th is here medial and not final) points towards an original th in the root. Thus, it is doubtful whether th or d is the final consonant of the root of guth. The probable solution of the difficulty, however, is that there was in the pre-Gothic or common Germanic period a variation of that consonant according to Verner’s Law, owing to a variation of accentuation, and that consequently some forms had th, some d.
The Guth of our formula is thus Gothic guth, god; and Guthani is the genitive plural of a weak by-form of that word *gutha,24 which, it is true, is not found in the MSS. of Wulfila, but the existence of which must be assumed, as there is an Anglo-Saxon word goda, a weak by-form of god. The older form of the genitive plural is Guthanê. But for this long closed ê, ei, and i occur in some of the later Gothic MSS.
If Guth Guthani means God of Gods, it is very likely that Thebal may be an invocation (perhaps something like “help”), of the name of some deity. There is nothing of the first kind in Gothic, and thus the second possibility grows more probable. But I have failed to trace Thebal back to any Aryan word that might have been used as a name of a god. A Gothic god called Thebal may have existed, but up till now we know nothing of him. But the word might be a mutilation of diabolus, in old Gothic, diabaúlus. Ia, a diphthong that is not found in genuine Gothic words, was probably replaced by iu, the Gothic diphthong which was most similar to it; and au preceding l (which, however, perhaps occurs in a few cases in Gothic) by a. In later Gothic iu was turned into eo and eu, names such as Thiudareiks being changed into Theodoricus or Theudericus. Thus the form Deobalus, or even Deobals might be arrived at, in which eo was a diphthong. A further contradiction might produce Debals, and the loss of the ending s (which frequently occurred in late Gothic proper names, as some documents prove),25 *Debal. Now, magic formulae certainly have a tendency to make the initial, medial, or final consonants, in corresponding places of successive words, alike. Our formula N, which made gebai Gutgutta out of Thebal Gutguttani, is a good example of that. Thus, beside the two th‘s, the d of Debal might easily be turned into th. So considered, the formula would testify to an early devil worship among the Christian Germanic nations and mean, Diabolus Deus Deorum or Devid, God of Gods.
This explanation of the formula gives us at once a clear idea about the age of the amulet. If Thebal be a mutilation of Devid, it cannot possibly be older than the fourth century of our era. As the Guthani has an I instead of older ê, the formula may probably have been used by a Gothic-speaking people till about the sixth century, and only then have passed to other nations. At least, some limits of age are thus given to the older rings, though still leaving a considerable latitude in the period to which they are ascribed.
Before turning to the application of the formula, we have to cast a glance over the development of our charm. It is very simple at the beginning and consists of three words only. Although preserved as inscriptions of valuable gold rings, these are slightly altered when copied and engraved on other rings, and by-and-bye new elements are added. Besides, they are no longer used exclusively as ring-inscriptions, but magic power is ascribed to them when written on a paper. Thereby a new opportunity of mixing up with other formulae arises, and as early as the eleventh century we find the Gothic charm mixed up with a Latin and an Arabic charm in L. M offers another sample of the same process. Something like crede experto priori [believe prior experience] makes the beginning; a Latin rhymed pentameter follows; the nour formula, and next some intelligible words, followed by other Latin texts from the Bible, etc. Another ring-inscription, N, shows a still greater variety of different elements. The Thebal formula is only one among about eight or ten distinct things.
In the Glasgow Chartulary there is another formula given to which a very similar power is ascribed when it is worn on the finger as a legend of a gold ring. It runs Theos, Ydros. Adros. I believe it to be a mutilation of the Greek words θεός ιατρός ιατρών, deus medicus medicorum, or God doctor of doctors. Beside the two words ending in ός the third would, as soon as the formula was no longer understood, easily assume the same ending, and further use would vary the double ιατρός into itros and atros. The introduction of d for t preceding the sounding consonant r is a further mutilation. The spelling ydros for idros is of no consequence in a MS. which also spells ylii for ilii. Similar changes are quite frequent. Out of hoc est corpus [meum], the formula of the Lord’s Supper, came hocus corpus, and later hocus pocus. Mr. C. W. King26 derives the Adros Vdros from the address to Cnuphis, αρτος πεινη, υδωρ διφη πυρ ριγει, which is certainly wrong. Of course, he was not aware that the words appeared together with Theos about A.D. 1200. The ydros adros changed even further into Adros Madros (in K) and varied into vdros udros and madros adros (in I). The two formulae appearing separately in the Glasgow Chartulary were formed into one in the group called x in our pedigree, probably because they were engraved on different sides of the same ring.
In the latter part of the middle ages the Thebal amulets probably gave rise to an ecclesiastical legend which subsequently gave them new life. When St. Ubaldo, in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, had become the patron of the little town of Thann, Alsace, a story arose that a certain Maternus27 had carried the ring of St. Ubaldo to Thann, and that it was preserved there. It was probably due to that story that, from the beginning of the fifteenth century, pilgrims came to that town from many parts of Europe. The story itself could scarcely have had such an effect if the belief in the Thebal rings had not been widely spread and the rings been connected with St. Theobaldus by the popular fancy. Perhaps some ecclesiastic of the fourteenth century explained, like Herr Deecke, Cuttani as referring to Thann, and Thebal as being the name of Theobaldus!
The ring-inscriptions tell us nothing as regards the application of the Thebal amulet, but the literary allusions do. According to the Glasgow Chartulary (A) it was, about 1200, used against pains in the bowels (ad dolorem ylii). But it may be questioned whether this was the original use. The somewhat mutilated formula which L offers was applied widh thone dworh. Dworh I should, with Prof. Napier, take for dweorh, translated by Cockayne as “convulsions.”28 According to that rendering, L was in the eleventh century employed against epileptic fits. So was H in the fourteenth century, it being used against the falling sickness. ê was, in the latter part of the fourteenth century, a magic prescription against toothache, “a charme for peynys in theth.”
Although some theories with highly scientific names are current on mediaeval and even on prehistoric folk-belief, we actually know extremely little of the popular philosophy or opinions on the world, and the powers that move itm are yet very little explored. I have tried to throw some light on one amulet and its history, and, if I have proved nothing else, I trust I have proved that it is lost labour to guess at the sense of a single unrelated talisman. Whoever tries to explain charm I or K or any of those which follow them, merely from the evidence which it affords itself, must utterly fail. It is only by the collecting of many similar talismans, and by classification and criticism that sound results can be obtained. Besides, the idea of mediaeval folklore as strictly national must be abandoned entirely. We must accustom ourselves to a broader, international conception, and realise the fact that such was the early intercourse between all the nations of Western Europe that a world-wide spread of beliefs, customs, and symbols was the result. The middle ages had a certain community of intellectual life no less than of the conditions of social existence.
ALEXANDER TILLE, Ph.D.”