Friday, May 23, 2014


Apopompē and Epipompē

Richard Wünsch (1869-1915) first used the terms apopompē (ἀποπομπή) and epipompē (ἐπιπομπή) to describe two different ways of banishing evil. See his "Zur Geisterbannung im Altertum," Festschrift zur Jahrhundertfeier der Universität zu Breslau = Mitteilungen der Schlesischen Gesellschaft für Volkskunde 13/14 (1911) 9-32. Wünsch used apopompē to mean simply driving away evil, epipompē to mean driving away evil onto someone or something else or to some other specific location. A classic example of epipompē can be found in the Gospels (Matthew 8.30-32, Mark 5.11-13, Luke 8.32-33), when Jesus, in performing an exorcism, drove demons into a herd of pigs. All other exorcisms in the Gospels are examples of apopompē.

Frank R. Trombley, Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370-529 (Leiden: Brill, 1993; rpt. 2001), p. 132, translates an interesting 6th century exorcism of hail found on a marble plaque from the district of Philadelphia in Lycia. I would classify it as an example of apopompē, because the hail is told just to get out of town, not told to go to some specific place:
Exorcism for the turning back of hail. I adjure you, O daimon, who presides over the suddenly turbulent air, when you thunder and cause lightning flashes and send hail out from the sky! I adjure you, O daimon, in the name of the egg of a male-begotten bird! I adjure you, the furnace-mouthed daimon, go outside the horoi of the village of Ennaton! I adjure you by the power of the God of Hosts and of the throne of the Lord, go outside the horoi! I adjure you ... by the elder and the younger, go outside the horoi of the village of Ennaton! I adjure you by Ouphridiel and ...! I adjure you by the letters of the planets, alpha, epsilon, eta, iota, omicron, upsilon, and omega, go outside the horoi of the village of Ennaton! You archangels Raphael, Ragouel, Istrael, Agathoel, make a seal around ... the village of Ennaton.
I think the most recent edition of the Greek is in Georg Petzl, Tituli Asiae minoris, Vol. 5: Tituli Lydiae linguis Graeca et Latina conscripti, Fasc. 3: Philadelpheia et ager philadelphenus (Wien: Verl. d. Österr. Akad. d. Wiss., 2007), pp. 166 ff., but the book is unavailable to me. Here is an image of the Greek from Henri Grégoire, Recueil des inscriptions grecques-chrétiennes d'Asie mineure (Paris: E. Leroux, 1922), p. 124:

A similar exorcism, with the characteristic features of epipompē however, appears in Francisco Javier Fernández Nieto, "A Visigothic Charm from Asturias and the Classical Tradition of Phylacteries against Hail," in Richard L. Gordon and ‎Francisco Marco Simón, edd., Magical Practice in the Latin West: Papers from the International Conference held at the University of Zaragoza, 30 Sept.-1 Oct. 2005 (Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. 551-600 (at 568-569, translating a Byzantine exorcism of hail of unknown provenance, with footnote):
Exorcism of hail: a black cloud rose up from Bethlehem full of hail with thunder and lightning, and it was met by an archangel of the host of God, who said: where are you going, black cloud full of hail with thunder and lightning? It answered: I am going to the fields in (such-and-such a place) which are planted with vines to dry up the orchards, ruin the trees and their buds, and spoil the fruits and cause all types of damage. The archangel of the host of God said: I entreat you through God invisible, the creator of the heaven, earth and sea and everything that therein is. I entreat you before the four pillars that hold the unmovable throne of God and before the river of fire, do not try to go to the pieces of land in (such-and-such a place), and instead go to the wild mountains where no cock crows, no semantron45 sounds or is heard for the glory of the great God in heaven. Amen.

45 In Byzantine texts, the term σημαντήριον (σήμαντρον) denotes the semantron, the bar-gong used in Orthodox churches, cf. Longo 1989, 69.
An image of the Greek (id., p. 568):

Finally, another example of epipompē, by Maffeo Barberini (1568-1644), aka Pope Urban VIII, hymn in honor of Saint Martina, Virgin and Martyr (January 30), stanza 7, tr. Joseph Connelly in Hymns of the Roman Liturgy (London: Longmans, 1957), p. 172:
Protect your native land and give all Christian nations the respite of true peace. Banish the tumult of arms and the savagery of wars into far-distant lands.
The Latin (id.):
Tu natale solum protege, tu bonae
Da pacis requiem Christiadum plagis;
Armorum strepitus et fera proelia
    In fines age Thracios.
The Latin is more geographically specific than Connelly's translation would lead one to believe. Instead of "far-distant lands," a more literal translation is "the boundaries of Thrace."

More examples of epipompē here.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?