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The Croatian Glagolic Amulet of the Sisin and St. Michael types (Transliteration of the Croatian Glagolic Amulet of the Sisin and St. Michael type)

Marija Pantelić

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 60.315 Kb

str. 161-203

preuzimanja: 471



The Croatian Glagolic Amulet of the Sisin and St. Michael types
The Croatian amulet, written in Glagolitic, consists of eleven anumerated texts, all having the same prophylactic character. Namely they ask protection from the devil for the family of a certain Matěv, Mihela and their children. The explanation of the drawn amulet stressed its protective power against any devil's or man's evil doings or against bad weather.
Studying the text of the Croatian Glagolitic Amulet, the author tried to trace the origin back to its protograph (namely in Greek and Latin), to find a place for the C. G. A. within the Slavonic Amulet heritrage and to confitm if possible, the opinion of thr Croatian glagolitic bibliographers concerning the time and place of its origin.
Although the author did not find a full form for any of the texts, for some of them she could point out the similarity existing in the older texts. Thus the beginig of the C. G. A. (I), namely the invocation which praises the great personalities of the Old testament, might be an allusion to the ancient amulets from the Egyptian papyruses. They often begin with a hymn to the Nile and an invocation to Isis, Artemis and Sabaoth. The texts (II, II, VII, VIII, IX) with the prayers and conjurations are similar to the texts of the Latin liturgical and ritual books. Only the prayers said at the difficult child-birth (XI) can be found in the Western Latin Rituals of the 12th century and in the Eastern Services of the 15th century. Otherwise the text X namely The twelve true Words, is fully preserved and hass enriched later European poetry (German, Italian, Roumanian, Polish, Chech, Russian, Slovene and Croatian), widely known since the 16th century.
The core of the Croatian Glagolitic Amulet contains two legends of the Sisin and Michael types in which a woman-demon strangles small children. When St. Sisin and Michael the Archangel catch her and put her to torture, she repents of her evil doings and brings back the children safe and sound (Sisin type); in Michael-type legend she reveals her secret names and promises not ot do any harm where the names of the two saints are written.
The motifs of the legend came to Europe from the East; the greatest number of variants are found among the Slavs: Bulgarians, Russians, Serbs, Croats, Roumanian Slavs (responsible for the Roumanian translation and modifications in the texts). The Roumanian investigator Professor Hăsdêu ascribes the authorship of these legends to the Bogomils, but Gaster, a German expert on Jewish amulet heritage points to the same motifs in the Hebrew Books from the eight century, A. D. The Russian investigator of old Russian literature Veselovski is in favour of Gaster's opinion since no Bogomil (neomanichean) teaching has been found in these texts.
The Croatian Glagolitic Legends of the Sisin and Michael types differ in some details from the known Greek and Slavonic counterparts. In the Sisin-type legend, the witch has a special name, navada. She performs her evil deeds by night. She has already snatched six children from Sisin's sister Melestina (all the other legends have her correct name Melitena) who carefully shelters her seventh child in the house. When, because of a storm, her brothers seek refuge in their sister's home, she hesitates to open the door because she is afraid of Navada but not of Aner. Aner, in the rabbinical Hebrew and mediaeval manuscripts, is an angel of light. According to the Glagolitic legend of the Sisin type, Navada and Aner stand for two opposing forces: Nevada for the power of darkness and the angel Aner for the power of light. This metaphor represents traces of Manichean dualism. In the legend of the Michael type the witch is metaphorically represented by the name of Sterile Phthisis. In her struggle with the angles, a new name, the angel Barhael, is introduced. His name is inscribed on the Jewish amulets and quoted in their mediaeval texts of the 13th century. In the explanatory note of a drawn amulet (V) in which God's name of a cabbalistic tradition are mentioned, we are cautioned that an angel brought King David the amulet from heaven. Therefore the legends of the Sisin and Michael types are christianized compositions which through Latin translations and modifications came into the Glagolitic amulet. In the text of the Croatian Glagolitic Amulet there are untranslated Latin words (tronum), slavonicized Latin words (ursica, idolija), Latin clauses written with Glagolitic characters (San'tusь, Imor'talisь reskь pater omnipoten'sь) and finally clauses Latin by their structure.
The Glagolitic amulet prophylactic in character, together with Greek and Latin amulets, differ from their Slavonic counterparts. The former seek protection for father, mother and their children, while the Eastern Slavonic texts leave out the women's names and by it they show their proper specific customs and practices. Moreover the Croatian Glagolitic Amulet in its Texts I, II, IV, VI, VIII mentions in the first place the names of the female saints who excelled in the struggle with the devils and then the names of the male saints who overcame the devils. We do not find it so in the Eastern Slavonic texts which avod the mentioning of the name of a female saint.
In a series of female of saints, St. Ursula's name comes first followed by the names of the Three Kings, their name being: Gaspar, Baltasar and Melchior (contrary to the usual order: Gaspar, Melchior and Baltasar) in agreement with the name irder of German codices. The cult of St. Ursula and the three Kings, especially in the 13th century, passed from Koln to all the neighbouring countries and to Slovenia and Istria as well. The cult of St. Jerome is also connected with Istria. It was believed thta St. Jerome was born at Zrenj near Buzet in istria. His name does not figure as a popular means against the devils, but it was entered in the Croatian Glagolitic Amulet on account of the local Istrian cult. This is evidenced by the complete masses to him and Holy Office found only in the Istrian Glagoitic Codices of Beram.
The usage of vocabulary points more to the old Slavonic language tradition though less innovations as far as dialect, morphology and syntax are concerned. The consistent writing of ě even where it has no etymologic place and not many instances of its reflex e and i indicate that the writin of our amulet was carried out in the North-West chakavian dialect. The paleographic aspect of the manuscipt, the decorative motifs of initials, as well as the style painting Christ's head all place the writing of the Chakavian Glagolitic Amulet in the Glagolitic centre Northern Istria at the end of the 14th century or at the beginigng of the 15th cebtury. It is place where the Breviary C. 163 a/2 of Beram was written.
The Croatian Glagolitic Amulet of the Sisin and Michael types shares details with the other two Glagolitic amulets from the place Sali on Dugi Otok (Northern Dalmatia).
These two belong to the beginnings of the 19th century - (Arch. JAZU, sign. IVa 80/26 and IVa 80/17) and appear only in the form of legends (with the names Navada, Suhi dijaval etc.). It secures for the Croatian Glagolitic Amulets a special place among the rest of Slavonic amulets and gives them an outstanding importance throughout Europe. The oldest Croatian Glagolitic Amulet confirms that the use, writing and composition of amulets is from the Eastern Hebrew-Christian tradition, while the Western Latin variants evolved during the period from the 13th to the 19th century although no original Вatin text has been found so far.

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