The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

The drowner of devils scroll

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: One of five healing scrolls from Magdala. Part of a wider collection that includes 11 other scrolls that might also be from the same source

Where: The Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BE

Details in: Catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts of the Wellcome Institute of the History of Medicine in London / [compiled] by Stefan Strelcyn, published in 1972

“As far as one can tell from the notes preserved in the registers of the Library, the provenance of these scrolls is heterogeneous. As one might expect, some of them certainly come from Magdala, brought back by members of Lord Napier’s expedition in 1867-8 (Nos. I, VII, VIII, XII, XIV). This is probably also true for No. XIII and perhaps for a few others as well. All these MSS were acquired by the Library between 1913 and 1930.”

Catalogue entry:
Eighteenth century. Vellum. 1,255 mm. X 120 mm. Scroll composed of three strips. The top of the first strip seems to be missing. Clear handwriting.
Black and red ink. No. 36969.

  1. Prayer against vaginal haemorrhage
  2. ‘ The drowner of devils ‘ mastdmd agandnt. Prayer against vaginal haemorrhage
  3. Prayer against barya
  4. Prayer against malicious demons, evil spirits, and magical action
  5. Magical square against vaginal haemorrhage.
  6. Prayer against vaginal haemorrhage, barya, and legewon
  7. Prayer against vaginal haemorrhage given by God to Eve.
  8. Prayer against vaginal haemorrhage
  9. Another prayer against vaginal haemorrhage
  10. Salam to Phanuel, the expeller of devils.

Two coloured magical pictures, the second representing legeivon bound with a red cord
Three consecutive owners are named : Woson Dassata, 3hta Maryam, and
Walatta Mika’el.
Taken at Magdala in 1868. Bought in 1915.

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