Apotrope

Apotrope

ApotropeFact|date=September 2008 (adj.: apotropaic) refers to objects such as amulets and talismans or other symbols intended to "ward off evil" or "avert or combat evil."

The word is of Greek origin (Polytonic|αποτρέπω) and literally means "turning away" which was seen in the apotropaic eye, an exaggerated eye painted on drinking vessels in the 6th century BC to ward away spirits while drinking. Curiously, eyes were often painted to ward off the evil eye. The word is also used in vampire fiction and folklore in reference to symbols such as crucifixes, the Holy Sacraments, silver bullets, wild roses and garlic that can ward away or destroy vampires. The Yiddish expression, "Kain ein horeh" (Hebrew|קיין עין הרע) is apotropaic in nature, and literally translates to "no evil eye," somewhat equivalent to the expression, "Knock on wood."

Because of the shared meaning, an "apotropaic amulet" would be redundant; rather, an apotropaic symbol can be an amulet.

See also

*Amulet
*Painted pebbles
*Apotropaic magic

References

*JN Adams " [http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GDP9VHGbF1AC The Latin Sexual Vocabulary] " 1990 (see "Apotropaic and ritual obscenity" pp.4-7)


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