Archaeologists have discovered the 2,800-year-old remains of an Aramaic incantation in Turkey which was used to rein in and capture an evil entity known as the “devourer,” who was able to unleash its fury upon humans by creating fire.
According to Live Science, the incantation was originally found in August 2017 in an area which may have once been used as a shrine in an ancient site in Turkey that was once known as Sam’al. The Aramaic incantation used to defeat the devourer was written by Rahim son of Shadadan, a man who was allegedly quite adept at creating and performing magical spells.
When Madadh Richey and Dennis Pardee recently presented an abstract of their research on the devourer at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, they explained that the special spell that was written “describes the seizure of a threatening creature [called] the ‘devourer.'”
Capturing the devourer was especially important as this was apparently the only way that those who were afflicted by it could be treated, as some of the blood of the devourer would need to be used to heal the damage caused by its fire. However, it is not certain at this point if this blood was merely put onto the afflicted person’s body or whether it was mixed into some kind of medicinal potion which they would have had to drink to be completely cured.
— Live Science (@LiveScience) December 20, 2018
Also noted in the abstract on this research is how the magical incantation conjured up by Rahim, son of Shadadan, also includes numerous illustrations of different creatures.
“Accompanying the text are illustrations of various creatures, including what appears to be a centipede, a scorpion and a fish.”
If you’re wondering just who this ancient devourer may have been, looking at the illustrations has led to speculation that it could have been an insect like a centipede or perhaps even a scorpion. As Richey has stated, the “fire” that is felt by victims could simply be referring to the pain felt as the insects stung their unsuspecting victims.
Interestingly, one of the threats currently faced by archeologists working at this ancient site are scorpions themselves, as Virginian Herrmann, who was part of the team responsible for the discovery of the Aramaic incantation, has stated.
“We always have to check our shoes and bags for scorpions on the excavation, even though most of the local scorpions do not have a very dangerous venom. One of our local workers was stung by a scorpion that had crawled onto his backpack that was sitting on the ground.”
The Aramaic spell has been dated and was found to have been written sometime between 850 and 800 BC, which makes it the most ancient Aramaic incantation that archaeologists have discovered to date.
Along with the 2,800-year-old Aramaic incantation written to capture the devourer, archaeologists have also discovered a statuette of a lion figure within the building that may have once been used as a shrine.