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Wide drinking cup with handles on each side
Chalcidian black-figured eye cup, c. 530 BCE
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The apotropaic Apotropaic magic is a form of magic with the power to avert evil influences; belief in such a form of magic has existed since at least the beginning of written history. eye is one of a number of signs used to ward off occult forms of evil such as spirits or demons; others include a hand gesture known as the fica.[1] Dangerous spirits were believed to be able to enter the body via the mouth, and so representations of an eye or eyes are often seen on a form of Greek black-figured drinking vessels known as kylikes – literally eye cup – made between about 550 and 450 BCE, intended to provide some protection against such an event.[2]



Gordon, R. L. (2018). apotropaic signs. In O. Nicholson (Ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity (online). Oxford University Press.
Hildburgh, W. L. (1946). Apotropaism in Greek vase-paintings. Folklore, 57(4), 154–178.