Science

Researchers Have Translated An Ancient Egyptian Spellbook

Two Australian researchers have managed to translate an ancient Egyptian handbook that belonged to a ritual practitioner an incredible 1,300 years ago. The "Handbook of Ritual Power" contains a number of spells and invocations, ranging from love spells, spells to exorcise evil spirits and cure ailments, as well as the ability to summon deities.

The book is written in Coptic, a now dead Egyptian language, and is 20 pages long. According to the researchers, the beginning of the codex consists of a series of invocations, "words of power." It then leads you to a variety of spells for curing disease and being successful in life.


One spell is supposed to allow you to control another person. In order to do so, the practitioner must chant magic words over two nails, and then drive the nails into the doorpost of the person you want to control - one nail on the left, and one on the right.

The book was likely written between 600 and 700 CE. Many Egyptians had converted to Christianity at this period of time, which is likely why the spellbook invokes Christ periodically.

“It is my sense that there were ritual practitioners outside the ranks of the clergy and monks," says Malcolm Choat, one of the researchers. “but exactly who they were is shielded from us by the fact that people didn't really want to be labeled as a 'magician.'"

Some of the text would lead you to believe that only men could be practitioners, but the researchers haven't ruled out the possibility of females using the spells as well.

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