Intaglio with herm and magical inscription

Greek or Roman
Roman Imperial
100–300 AD


Length: 15 mm (9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Jewelry, The Ancient World



A magical gem that probably served as an amulet. Side A: male herm facing, with side projections. Side B: Greek inscription on 3 lines: EULAMO/ LARXIM / ATHA. The Greek inscription transliterates a Hebrew or Syriac incantation. “Eulamo” stands for Olam, the Hebrew term for “Everlasting God,” and “atha” is found in Hebrew and Syriac religious sayings, usually with the meaning “come” The second line is more obscure, although it also seems to be derived from a Semitic language. The incantation probably invokes the protection of a divinity. The shape of the stone and letters suggest an early date.

Cracked and chipped above herm. Yellowish sard intaglio with flat front and back; beveled edge with wall tapering inward.




By date unknown: Edward Jackson Holmes Collection; by date unknown: Mrs. Edward Jackson Holmes Collection; 1965: bequest of Mrs. Edwin Jackson Holmes to MFA, recorded as Edward Jackson Holmes Collection, June 9, 1965.

Credit Line

Edward Jackson Holmes Collection