Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/182

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154 The Cimaruta:

gation of this device, the cimaruta, is not so much the inclusion of this or the other emblem, as the general conformity to the type, and the almost entire absence from the combination, of amulets which we might have expected to find there. For instance, the horn, so uni- versal in South Italy, is not common. Perhaps so pointed a weapon was too dangerous to be put into the hands of infants. The frog or toad emblem (PI. XIV., o) we might also have expected to see included, for the frog-and-crescent charm, made of silver, is not unfrequently to be met with; and that it has been handed down from antiquity, bronze amulet-frogs found at Pompeii attest. Its absence may be explained by the fact that, as the frog had no connection with Diana Lucina, there was no reason for combining it with the cimaruta, and lack of original motive may unconsciously have been operative through the ages.

A similar explanation might be offered for the most remarkable fact of all, namely, for the almost entire absence of the Christian element from the cimaruta. The antagonism between amulets which have remained pagan and those which have been adopted as Christian has not yet been allayed. The only exceptions known to me are three in number, viz. a small cimaruta (Fig. 15), in which the cross appears, and two varieties of the crescent amulet, one of which has been inscribed Jesus Maria,^ and the other, upon which some possessor has scratched a little figure of St, Januarius (PI. XIV.).

We have shown how the potency of the rue and of the emblems of the moon-goddess as amulets against the powers of evil was increased by emblems having no direct connection with her ; prominent among these are those which are now universally considered insulting, but which doubtless had originally another meaning.

It is just this change in the exact significance of iden-

^ Elworthy, Evil Eye, Fig. 152.