I’m sure everyone has heard the word “abracadabra” at least once in their life. Magicians always use it as a magic word that makes things happen… magic.

The first appearances of this word date back to the third century after Christ in the book “Liber medicinalis” by Quintus Serenus Sammonicus, the personal physician of the Roman emperor Caracalla (yes, the baths one).

In the book it is written that, to recover from illness, the patient should wear an upside-down triangle pendant engraved with the word, called magic for the first time. The word was first complete, but in the following line it lost the last letter and so on as it descended towards the vertex only the letter “a” remained. In this way, according to Semmonicus, the taking of evil spirits on the patient would be reduced.

The emperors that followed were also very inclined to use this amulet that spread steadily over time. However, some scholars believe that the thesis of the so-called diminution of the evil power on the patient was a rather common idea at the time and that “abracadabra” was simply the name of one of the demons of diseases.

Needless to say, it took a lot of hold in the dark ages of the Middle Ages, where it was used especially in rituals of more or less black magic.

Yet no one knows how to say with certainty what this word means. Some hypotheses say that it could derive:

    • from the Hebrew words “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”

    • from the Greek “do not harm me”

    • from Arabic “let things be destroyed”

    • from the Aramaic “disappear like this word”

Other hypotheses even more imaginative theorized by alchemists or low-level spiritualists say that the word could be a conjunction between humanity and the sun god or an archetype of all minor spells.

I always repeat my idea, very personal and extremely questionable, that several centuries ago doctors were more like sorcerers than medical experts.

When they did not know what to do, they probably even managed with methods that they knew would not lead to anything, but that were very “scenic” for the people of the time. In practice, they went to trial and when they didn’t know what to try, they invented.

If the patient had survived they could claim the merit of the recovery, but if he died, it was enough to say that the demon had been stronger and would be removed from their troubles.

Is it easy, isn’t it?

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