Biblical Archaeology Review 27:5, September/October 2001

Solomon’s Blessings

Would museums purchase these good-luck tokens today?

By Hershel Shanks

I read an interesting article in a recent issue of the Israel Exploration Journal that intrigued but also saddened me.1 It is about 16 eulogiai (singular, eulogia) inscribed in Greek simply with the name “Solomon.” A eulogia, literally, “blessing,” is a small token that operated as a kind of good-luck charm, mostly associated with a particular Christian pilgrim shrine. Christian travelers frequently came home with eulogiai from pilgrimage journeys in the Byzantine period (fourth to seventh century A.D.).a

The article is by L.Y. Rahmani, a longtime scholar at the Israel Antiquities Authority, now retired. He examines these Solomon eulogiai to identify the indistinct images on the center of each. It is difficult to see the images in photographs; the drawings by Rahmani are much clearer.

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