WAAAUB Holds First Ever International Convention: Commitment to AUB and Enhancing Ties among Alumni  
AUBMC Receives US Accreditation
Seven New Members to Join the AUB Board of Trustees
Establishment of the Michael Atiyah Chair in Mathematical Sciences at AUB
AUB Nutrition and Food Science Department Named as WHO Collaborating Center
Academic Excellence Rewarded: AUB's Merit Scholarships
AUB Announces New Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service
Shahe Kazarian's - Reflections of My I (Published by Cadmus Project: 2007)
Faculty Profile: Patrick Lewtas
Professor Mrad Lectures Abroad
Staff Profile: Ramzieh Saad
Essay Competition Honors Arab World's 'Prince of Poets'
Donald Mitchell Examines Control Over City Streets
The Political Consequences of American Romanticism
Juan Cole Points at Failures in United States
Scholar Studies Impact of Terrorism on American Imports
Ambassador Evaluates Role of United Kingdom in the Arab World
A View of Islam in the Eighth Century
The Need for Dialogue Between Religions
Istanbul's Pleasures Revealed
National Identity Without Citizenship?
On-line Workshops Help Train Journalists
Student Artwork Exhibited at Jafet Library
Amulets and Talismans at the AUB Museum
Living with Animals: To Prevent Torture and the Impact of War
Women's Auxiliary Holiday Luncheon
Home of Hope Orphans Tour AUB Medical Center
Italian Opera Recital at Assembly Hall
Strengthening Ukraine and Lebanese Relations with Music
AUB Music Club Concert
From Sufi Chant to Oriental Jazz
AUB Choir and Choral Society Celebrate Christmas
Benefit Christmas Concerts Help Ayadina Center
Red Cross Club Forms Human Ribbon
January 2008 Vol. 9 No. 4


Amulets and Talismans at the AUB Museum

Amulets and Talismans on sale at the Archaeological Museum gift shop

In December, the AUB Archaeological Museum put on an intriguing display of old amulets and talismans that attracted the attention of many passersby on campus. A special lecture, held at the museum by Nevine Mattar, provided some interesting facts on the history and particular meanings of charms and their symbolic magic against the forces of evil.

Mattar, who is a professional Lebanese artist and illustrator, is a lecturer at Haigazian University and the Lebanese American University and is well known for her workshops for children. For her presentation, she prepared an illustrated slideshow of amulets and talismans from different eras of history.

As we all know, an amulet is an object that is carried or worn and is meant to protect against evil. Similarly, a talisman is also carried or worn, but for different reasons and is believed to bring luck, health, and fecundity. Belief in such objects dates back to ancient Egypt and has remained a prominent practice since the advent of monotheism. However, the nature of amulets and talismans evolved in time, as did their powers.

Mattar outlined some of those changes. For example, a typical talisman of fifth-century BC included pieces of hair from an animal, which was believed to bring power in hunting. But as history progressed, the power of the objects changed to accommodate the changing times. As Mattar explained, during the early periods of monotheism, the amulets and talismans became symbolic objects of respective religions, which then were believed to bring forth wisdom, knowledge, immortality, and prosperity.

Mattar also mentioned some of today's modern amulets and talismans. The shamrock is a symbol of Christianity, specifically of the Holy Trinity, for instance, and the Islamic crescent represents the continuity of life.