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P.Oslo I 4 (inv. 434)

Background and Physical Properties

20.7 x 12.7 cm.
Publication side:
Palaeographic description:
One hand. Semi bookhand. Some cursively drawn letters.
State of preservation:
Light brown colour, darker edges. Preserved but frayed left and lower edge. Upper margin is 1.7-2 cm., lower margin 1.6 cm., right margin 0.5 cm., left margin 1.7 cm. Kollesis (left over right) at 1.2-0.6 cm. from the right edge (uneven edge of the upper kollema). Another kollesis at 2.5 cm from the left edge?. Kollema width: 17.5-16.9 cm. 5 vertical folds, all damaged to a greater or lesser degree at 2.5, 5.5, 10, 15 and 18 cm. from the left edge. 2 horizontal folds, undamaged, at 3.5 and 6.5-6 cm. from the upper edge. Broken along the first vertical fold on the left. Brown ink, faded at places. One red ink spot on the front figure’s mouth.


IVth century CE
Unknown place, Egypt
Title / Type of text:
Spell of attraction / Magical
Spell of attraction consisting of text and drawn figures. The voces magicae are written in the form of Schwindeschema and arranged in either side of the figures. The activated spell aiming at attracting Herakles, son of Taepis, to Allous. The front figure is the god Bes sticking out his tongue. The figure in the background holds a knife and a severed head.
Paraliterature Love charm Magic
Named people:
Herakles, son of Taepis? Taepis?, mother of Herakles Allous, daughter of Alexandria Alexandria,mother of Allous
Named places:
English translation:
"I adjure you by the twelve elements of heaven and the twenty-four elements of the world, that you attract Herakles whom [Ta]epis bore, to me, to Allous, whom Alexandria bore, immediately, immediately; quickly, quickly." (E. N. O'Neil translation in Betz 1996, p. 279)
Cairo, Egypt
Purchased through the British Museum (box IV. 28, see Bell’s report) from Maurice Nahman.
Acquisition year:


  • Eitrem, S., P.Oslo I, 1925, p. 20 (no. 4)

Further Literature


TM 64481 / LDAB 5707 / KYP M772 / C. Illum. Pap. I, no. 205, p. 247.


  • Preisendanz, K. (Ed.). (1974). Papyri Graecae Magicae: Die Griechischen Zauberpapyri, vol. II (p. 177, no. PGM XXXIX). Leipzig-Berlin. (German)
  • Betz, H. D. (Ed.). (1996). The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation Including the Demotic Spells, vol. I (p. 279, no. PGM XXXIX). Chicago. (English)
  • Moke, D. F. (1975). Eroticism in the Greek Magical Papyri: Selected Studies (p.72). Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Minesota. (English)


  • Zellmann-Rohrer, M., Hickey, T. et al. (2015). Historical and Textual Notes on Magical Texts in the Papyrus Collection of the University of Oslo Library. Symbolae Osloenses, 89, pp. 169-170.

On the drawing:

  • Bonner, C. (1950). Studies in Magical Amulets, Chiefly Graeco-Egyptian. Humanistic Series, vol. XLIX. (p. 112, n. 38). Michigan. (cf. also The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database).
  • Ägyptische Magie im Wandel der Zeiten: Eine Ausstellung des Instituts für Papyrologie in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Institut für Ägyptologie der Universität Heidelberg (p. 59). (2016). Heidelberg. (colour image as an example of Schwindeschema).

Record last modified 2023-03-16 15:26:47