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Walters Ms. W.845, Ethiopian scroll with the Lion of Judah

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Shelf mark



Ethiopian scroll with the Lion of Judah

Text title
Prayer scroll


This prayer scroll was written in the nineteenth century to protect its owner, Wäldä Giyorgis. The front of the scroll contains prayers against evil which invoke the help of the Archangel Phanuel, while the back contains prayers requesting things as diverse as luck in love, help with headaches, and the protection of domestic animals. Scrolls such as these would have been worn as protective devices, and were made the length of the owner in order to protect them from head to foot. With a length of 151 cm, it can be inferred that Wäldä Giyorgis stood just under 5 feet tall.


19th century CE








The primary language in this manuscript is Geez. The secondary language of this manuscript is Amharic.

Support material


Heavy yellow parchment


Foliation: It is a scroll so there is no foliation


Formula: None



8.8 cm wide by 151.0 cm high

fols. cm.0-145.5front - cm.0-145.5back:
  1. Title: Prayer scroll
  2. Incipit: በስመ፡ አብ፡...ጸሎት፡ በእንተ፡ ማእሠሮሙ፡ ለአጋንንት፡ ወለባርያ፡ ሰላም፡ ለተፈጥሮትከ፡ ምስለ፡ መላእክት፡ ኅቡረ፡...
  3. Contents: Front of scroll contains three groups of texts separated by images: 1: (unknown image) Hymns in praise of the Archangel Phanuel as prayer for binding demons, incipit: በስመ፡ አብ፡...ጸሎት፡ በእንተ፡ ማእሠሮሙ፡ ለአጋንንት፡ ወለባርያ፡ ሰላም፡ ለተፈጥሮትከ፡ ምስለ፡ መላእክት፡ ኅቡረ፡... (picture of the Archangel); 2: Prayer to the God of the Archangel Phanuel to save [Wäldä Giyorgis] from an evil spirit which cause all sorts of illnesses, incipit: ኦአምላከ፡ ቅዱስ፡ ፋኑኤል [፡] አድኅኖ፡ እምአጋንንት፡ ወትግሪዳ፡ ዛር፡ ወቸነፈር፡ ፍጌን፡ ወፈላሻ፡ ወአልጉም [፡] ቊርፀት፡ ውግዓት፡ ቊርጥማት፡... (picture of a lion); 3: Prayer against an evil spirit, invoking the Greek names of the nails of the Cross and God, incipit: [. . . ]ሹን፡ ሕራዕክር፡ በጠጀን፡ ዘሐጀን፡ ዋሀፍልመኤል፡ በስመ፡ [ሳ]ዶር፡ አላዶር፡ ዳናት፡ አዴራ፡ ሮዳስ፡ በቅንዋተ፡ መስቀሉ፡ ለእግዚእነ፡ ኢየሱስ፡ ክርስቶስ፡ ታኦስ፡ አዝያስ፡... (front side ends with a picture of a head); back of scroll contains series of prayers for protection and health: 1: Prayer to destroy the enemy, incipit is insufficiently legible: [. . . ] በከመ፡ አብራህከ፡ ልቦ፡ ለሙሴ፡ (blank space); 2: Prayer against charm, መፍትሔ፡ ሥራይ፡, incipit is insufficiently legible (24 lines): በስመ፡ አብ፡ . . . ጸሎት ፡ መፍትሔ፡ [. . . ]; 3: Prayer to win the love of a woman, incipit is insufficiently legible (20 lines); 4: Prayer to harm the enemy using demons, incipit is insufficiently legible (18 lines); 5: Prayer to have a bright mind (23 lines), incipit: በስመ፡ አብ፡ . . . በስመ፡ አብ፡ ፈታሔ፡ ሰማይ፡ መሳክዊሁ፡ ለፀሐይ፡ ይረድ፡ መንፈስ፡ ቅዱስ፡ በዲበ፡ ዝንቱ፡ ማይ፡ በጽምጽማኤል፡ ስምከ፡ . . .; 6: Prayer for help in reading/speaking and writing, in two parts (15 and 7 lines): part 1, incipit: በስመ፡ አብ፡ . . . ጸሎት፡ በእንተ፡ ክሥተተ፡ ንባብ፡ ወድርሰት፡ ቦርፎሪኮን፡ አአትሪኮን፡ አትርጋዎን፡ አብሲማኮስ፡ ወእምአፉሁ፡ ይትወሀብ፡ ንባብ፡ ወድርሰት፡ . . .; part 2, incipit: [.]ጉ፡ ጰኩ፡ [. . . ]ኩ፡ ኩጶለጵኩ፡ኲልናጦር፡ . . . በኃይለ፡ ዝንቱ፡ አስማቲከ፡ ክሥት፡ ሊተ፡ ለገብርከ፡ እገሌ፡ ድግም፡ በሮማን፡ በመንፈቀ፡ ፍዝንዝር፡ ፈሐቅ፡ አስናኒከ፡ እኂዘከ፡ በሐዲስ፡ ልብስ፡; 7: Prayer against headache, in two parts (30 and 13 lines); part 1, incipit: በስመአ፡ በል፡ ጸሎተ፡ ሕማመ፡ ርእስ፡ ክርስቶስ፡ ጻድቅ፡ ወበርሃን፡ በምራቅከ፡ ወበመስቀልከ። ከሠትከ፡ አእይንተ፡ እውራን፡ ወበቃልከ፡ ይትፈወሱ፡ ድውያን፡ . . .; part 2, incipit: አህያ፡ ሸራህያ፡ አልሻዳይ፡ ፀባዖት፡ ኢየሱስ፡ ክርስቶስ፡ ዘከሠትከ፡ አዕይንቲሁ፡ ለዕውር፡ ከማሁ፡ ክሥት፡ ዓይነ፡ ልቡናሁ፡ . . .; 8: Prayer to have a bright mind, incipit is insufficiently legible (14 lines) (blank space); 9: Prayer to protect domestic animals against wild animals (15 lines), incipit: ያሁን፡ ፫ እማሂ[፡] ያኮዊሩ፡ ወሸለልኩም፡ ምስለኩም፡ አጀን፡ ወጀን፡ . . .
  4. Decoration note: Front of scroll contains indistinguishable image at top, with three other images between prayers; no imagery on back; rubrics in red; text in black ink


cm 61.5-86.5 front:

  1. W.845, cm 61.5-86.5 front
  2. Title: Archangel Phanuel
  3. Form: Scroll illumination

cm 97.5-122.5 front:

  1. W.845, cm 97.5-122.5 front
  2. Title: Lion (of Judah)
  3. Form: Scroll illumination

cm 120.5-145.5 front:

  1. W.845, cm 120.5-145.5 front
  2. Title: Head
  3. Form: Scroll illumination


Created in Ethiopia, nineteenth century, for Wäldä Giyorgis

Joseph Dietrich, Alexandria, VA, date unknown

Gene Guerny, Arlington, VA, acquired from Joseph Dietrich before 1997


Gift of Gene Guerny, 1997


Holbert, Kelly, ed. Ethiopian Art: The Walters Art Museum. Baltimore: Trustees of the Walters Art Gallery, 2001, p. 41, fig. 13.

Strelcyn, Stefan. Catalogue of the Ethiopian Manuscripts in the British Library Acquired since the Year 1877, London (1978), no. 81, 4, p. 128. See for first text, front of scroll.


Principal cataloger: Getatchew Haile

Catalogers: Herbert, Lynley; Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Isaac, Ephraim; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.