[German Version] I. Antiquity – II. Early Church – III. Middle Ages to the Present
I. Antiquity Devotional objects can be understood as objects of private piety and religiosity common in all ancient cultures (cf. Epict.,
Dissertationes II 8.12), where they were in demand, especially in daily life for magical/apotropaic or energetic/sacramental purposes, and were traded commercially (Philostr.
Vita ap. 5.20). The term is modern, so there are no ancient equivalents; comparable Greco-Roman terms include, for example εὐλογία/
eulogía (blessing; Lat.
phylaktḗrion (means of protection, amulet), ϕάρμακον/
phármakon (charm or medication; Lat.
medicamentum), and in the Hebrew Bible or Judaism, for example תְּרָפִים/
terāpîm (household idol; e.g. Gen 31:19, 34f.), mezuzah, and tefillin (cf. e.g. 4Q128–157). In this sense, ampullas, amulets, gems, figures, lamps, medallions, insignia, and …