Did You Know? (Abracadabra)

That the first known mention of the word was in the third century AD in a book called Liber Medicinalis (sometimes known as De Medicina Praecepta Saluberrima) by Quintus Serenus Sammonicus,[1] physician to the Roman emperor Caracalla, who prescribed that malaria sufferers wear an amulet containing the word written in the form of a triangle:

A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B – R – A
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B – R
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A
A – B – R – A – C – A – D
A – B – R – A – C – A
A – B – R – A – C
A – B – R – A
A – B – R
A – B
A

This, he explained, diminishes the hold over the patient of the spirit of the disease. Other Roman emperors, including Geta and Alexander Severus, were followers of the medical teachings of Serenus Sammonicus and may have used the incantation as well. 

It was used as a magical formula by the Gnostics of the sect of Basilides in invoking the aid of beneficent spirits against disease and misfortune.  It is found on Abraxas stones which were worn as amulets. Subsequently, its use spread beyond the Gnostics.  Wikipedia

E.J. Lefavour

 

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