A Corpus of Syriac Incantation Bowls

Syriac Magical Texts from Late-Antique Mesopotamia


The Aramaic incantation bowls from Sasanian Mesopotamia are the most important source we have for studying the everyday beliefs of the Jewish, Christian, Mandaean, Manichaean, Zoroastrian and Pagan communities on the eve of the Islamic conquests. In A Corpus of Syriac Incantation Bowls, Marco Moriggi presents new editions of forty-nine Syriac incantation bowls that were originally published between 1853 and 2012, with accompanying introductions, translations, philological notes, photographs and glossaries. Furthermore, there is a detailed analysis of the Estrangela and Manichaean scripts as used on the bowls, together with newly drawn script charts. In gathering, organising and updating most of the published Syriac bowls, this book provides a valuable resource for further research into both their language and content.

"This volume is a significant contribution to the study of the Syriac incantation bowls, and it should be of great interest to scholars of ‘magic’ in Late Antiquity as well as to those working in Syriac language, literature, and history, since the Syriac incantation bowls are a fascinating—yet often neglected—component of the broader Syriac heritage." -Aaron M. Butts, The Catholic University of America - Washington D.C., JNES (October 2015).

"Moriggi’s new book will no doubt become an essential reference work for all interested in Syriac magical texts from late-antiquity. It is also an important contribution not only to our knowledge of the language of the Syriac incantation bowls, but to the whole field of Babylonian Aramaic (JBA and Mandaic)." - Ohad Abudraham, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Beer Sheva, Israel, Orientalia (2015).


EUR €142.00USD $174.00

Biographical Note

Marco Moriggi, Ph.D. (2003) in Semitic Linguistics, Università di Firenze, is Lecturer in Semitic Philology at the Università di Catania. His research interests include Semitic languages, Aramaic dialectology and epigraphy, and Syriac language and literature.

Review Quotes

"In the end, this volume is a most welcome reference work on the Syriac incantation bowls. By gathering almost all of the previously published bowls in one convenient place and by providing new readings with translation and philological commentary, the volume marks a key step toward developing a reliable corpus on which further studies of the bowls can be based." -Aaron Michael Butts, The Catholic University of America, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 74.

"This beautifully presented book will stimulate further interest in the incantation bowls, but also in the history of Aramaic and its scripts during the middle of the first millennium CE. It is complemented by excellent indices: glossary and lists of angels, deities and demons and clients (who commissioned) and adversaries (who were expected to suffer the effects of the incantation). The author is to be congratulated." -John F. Healey, University of Manchester, ARAM 28:1&2 (2016), 567-568.

"The volume certainly makes an enormous contribution to furthering studies on Syriac incantation texts, and more generally on incantation bowls. For any scholar who has an interest in incantation bowls, this work is a 'must,'..." - Erica C. D. Hunter, School of African and Oriental Studies, London, Hugoye - Journal of Syriac Studies 21.1 (2018)

Table of contents

Syriac Incantation Bowls
Photographs and Facsimiles
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Palaeography
Chapter 3 Texts
List of Angels, Deities, Demons and Other Entities
Lists of Clients and Adversaries
Script Charts


Those interested in Aramaic and Semitics, Syriac and its scripts, as well as in the history and religion of the Near East in Late Antiquity, and magic in general.


Collection Information