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Talisman

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TALISMAN, a small object presumed to possess an astrological or mystical charm that may protect or guard the owner in some way. It was usually of stone or metal and bore an engraved figure, and gained its suggested value because of certain ceremonies, at some particu lar moment, as at the culmination of a certain star or at the conjunction of certain planets. The talisman was supposed to exercise super natural influences over the bearer or owner, par ticularly in averting disease. The nature of the talisman has been very different among dif ferent nations. The Egyptians made use of images of their gods and of sacred animals, such as the ibis and the scarabmus; the Jews used the phylacteries inscribed with passages from the Old Testament (a section of the cabala is devoted to teaching the construction of talis mans) ; the Greeks used little tablets having written upon them various magical words, such as the Ephesian words, or those written on the feet, the girdle and the crown of the statue of Artemis at Ephesus; the Romans employed various idols, which they suspended upon the body by chains; the Arabians and Turks made use of sentences from the Koran; and we also find in the East medals of particular metals struck under a 'particular constellation and marked with magical signs. In the Middle

Ages astrology and the knowledge of the vir tues of talismans and amulets formed an im portant part of medical science; and the quacks of modern times sometimes have recourse to similar means. The talisman differs from the •amulet, in that it does not require to be worn or carried, but like Aladdin's lamp will work wonders. See Amur.