Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Hair, Skin, Flesh, Bone, Marrow

Stephanie Jamison, "Brāhmaṇa syllable counting, Vedic tvác 'skin', and the Sanskrit expression for the canonical creature," Indo-Iranian Journal 29 (1986) 161-181, 330 (at 172):
Vedic texts give us almost tediously ample evidence that the five terms found in the MS passage: lóman- 'hair', tvác- 'bone', māṁsá- 'flesh', ásthi- 'bone', and majján- 'marrow', arranged in that particular order, are the fixed traditional expression of the make-up of the canonical beast.
See further Calvert Watkins (1933-2013), How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 525-536.

I wondered if this particular combination of body parts might occur in curse tablets, but nothing jumped out at me from a quick reading of Henk S. Versnel, "καὶ εἴ τι λ[οιπὸν] τῶν μερ[ῶ]ν [ἔσ]ται τοῦ σώματος ὅλ[ο]υ[.. (... and any other part of the entire body there may be ...) An Essay on Anatomical Curses," in Fritz Graf, ed., Ansichten griechischer Rituale. Geburtstags-Symposium für Walter Burkert (Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner, 1998), pp. 216-267. Versnel did have this amusing sentence on p. 248:
Whoever fancies a beautiful girl or boy and wishes to influence her or his feelings, would be well advised to peruse a few corpora of defixiones or magical papyri.

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