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]

Citations



Bibliography


Gordon, Richard L. “Apotropaic Signs.” The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, edited by Oliver Nicholson, Online, Oxford University Press, 2018.
Hildburgh, W. L. “Apotropaism in Greek Vase-Paintings.” Folklore, vol. 57, no. 4, 1946, pp. 154–178, https://www.jstor.org/stable/1257502.