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The Inspiration Behind the Protective Eye Amulets

Last year, I checked out a book from my university library about Ancient Greek and Roman amulets. I am relatively new when it comes to understanding the spiritual practices of the Ancient world but I was really intrigued by them after reading this book.

The name of the book is titled The Transformation of Greek Amulets in Roma Imperial Times and it's written by Christopher A. Faraone. It's pure academia, very thick with lots of information, so I had to read it little-by-little to get as much information out of it as possible.

What was great about the book was that it explained what an amulet or talisman was, and how the Ancients used them for healing, protection, or guiding purposes. An amulet is defined as "an ornament or small piece of jewelry thought to give protection against evil, danger, or disease." A talisman is described as "an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck." (Oxford). One is designed to block negativity, and the other is designed to bring positivity.

The protective eye in the days of Ancient Greece was used on things like armor to protect a soldier in battle, as a piece of jewelry on women and children to protect them illness, above temple doorways, on ships. As time went on and the Romans absorbed the protective eye into their culture, it would appear with more imagery as opposed to standing alone just as an eye. The eye then changed to the 'all-suffering' eye and they would show in their mosaics all the 'evil' that the protective eye was supposed to guard you from. In some cases you'd see a sword, a snake, insects, an assortment of grotesque characters, etc. Here's an example of a Roman protective eye mosaic:

I started making these protective eye jewels because I really loved the history. It originated in Mesopotamia and then with trade, the imagery spread over time and to different cultures who incorporated it into their amulet vocabulary and created some variation of it. Some cultures viewed it as the eyes of their gods and goddesses, some of them saw it as protective, and others were viewing it as the eye that dealt with all of their evils and sufferings.

Here are a few examples of the pieces that I created of the protective eye imagery:

Thank you so much for reading and if you want to view all of my protective amulets, click here.

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