The Prince and the Plunder

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

The Solomon’s net 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:
Nineteenth century (?). Vellum, partly damaged and mounted with blue paper. 2,030 mm. X 130 mm. Scroll composed of three strips. Careful script. Black and red ink. Two columns. No. 88613.

  1. Prayer for undoing charms, maftdhe hray.
  2. ‘Solomon’s net’, prayer for catching devils.
  3. Prayer for undoing charms.
  4. Prayer for binding devils by the virtue of the secret names pronounced by the king Alexander before Gog and Magog.
  5. Prayer against devils
  6. Prayer against blacksmiths, barya, legewon, chest pain, rheumatism, migraine, colic, zar, tdgrida, mdtliat, afdfta, and pleurisy
  7. Prayer against barya and legeivon containing the legend of Susenyos.
  8. ‘Solomon’s net’, prayer for catching devils.
  9. Prayer for anathematizing devils.
  10. Prayer against the evil spirit, for people possessed by buda and barya, against dga sabd\ sorcerers, and magical action, against barya, legewon, chest pain, rheumatism, migraine, colic, magganna, and qwdranna.

Four coloured magical pictures.
The first owner was Walda Maryam Marra, the second Walatta Giyorgis.
Taken at Magdala in 1868. Bought in 1924.

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