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Babylonian devil trap
A terra-cotta bowl that was inscribed
and magical texts, used by the ancient Hebrews in parts of Babylonia. The
bowl was to drive away evil. The inverted bowls were buried under the four
corners of the foundations of houses and buildings. The magic from the bowls
was believed to provide protection against an assortment of evils including
male and female demons, illnesses, curses, and the evil
The Babylonian devil traps were in usage between the third and first centuries
BC to the sixth century AD. They were considered a pagan custom and were
technically prohibited by the Hebrew religion which proscribes magic in general. Perhaps
to circumvent this religious law the bowls were inscribed with inscriptions
invoking the help of God or quotes from Hebrew scriptures.
One bowl from the third century BC. proclaims a "bill of divorce"
from the Devil, and all of his night monsters, commanding them to leave
the community. A.G.H.