Ephesia grammata, Greek “Ephesian letters,” were the most celebrated words of power in the classical world, and used in a variety of magical applications eventually providing the slang term for magic itself. Two different versions of the Ephesia grammata survived from ancient times; they differ only in the ending of the last word: one version gives the words as askion, kataskion, lix, tetrax, damnameneus, aision, while the othe version ends the sequence with aisia. Ne example of its use is Greek boxers were said to carry rolls of parchment wearing Ephesia grammata to give them magically heightened strength in combat.
Due to its immense popularity and usage a shortened version, aski kataski, of the first two words evolved. This became a slang-term for magic in the Greek-speaking world. It is comparable to the modern “hocus-pocus” term, although no convincing meaningful interpretation has been provided.
In some scholarly works about magic the term ephesia grammata refers to any incomprehensible magical word or words. A.G.H.
Greer, John Michael. The New Encyclopedia of the Occult. St. Paul, MN, Llewellyn Worldwide. pp. 159-160