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Antaura, the Demoness of Migraines

Summary and additional sources on the Greco-Roman daemon of migraines.
Antaura, the Demoness of Migraines
Photo by Anh Nguyen / Unsplash

"The text is written on a lamella found in a stone sarcophagus (third century A.D.) discovered in Althenburg, Austria, the Roman Carnuntum.

The Greek term for ‘‘migraine,’’hemikranion, literally ‘‘half of the head,’’ is the root of our modern word.

Antaura, the daemon that causes migraine, is represented as a wind that comes from the ocean and is on the way to someone’s head.

Artemis, the great goddess of Ephesus, stops the daemon and sends it somewhere else, possibly into the head of an animal (a deer or an ox).

A little story, a mini-myth, sometimes called historiola, is attached to certify the potency of the charm. Amulet against Migraine (R. Kotansky, 1994, no.13)

Antaura came out of the sea. She shouted like a deer. She roared like an ox.

Artemis of Ephesus meets her: ‘‘Antaura, where are you headed?’’

‘‘Into the half of the head.’’

‘‘You surely will not go into . . .’’"

Quoted from:

Georg Luck, Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds. A Collection of Ancient Texts (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985, 2nd ed. 2006), p. 281

Additional sources:

Antaura, the Migraine Demoness
The four tablets (13–16) were found together in 1922 at ancient Carnuntum, situated between the communities of Bad Deutsch-Altenburg and Petronell along the Donau. Originally a well-established military camp, Carnuntum developed westward into a substantial...
Two Protecting-Healing Amulets from Pannonia
Two Protecting-Healing Amulets from Pannonia
A Greek Magical Gemstone from the Black Sea
Nearly thirty years ago Oleg Neverov republished an agate gemstone from the Historical Museum of Anapa, a Russian city that lies on the north coast of the Black Sea, about fifty miles east of the e...
Antaura. The Mermaid and the Devil’s Grandmother: A Lecture on JSTOR
A. A. Barb, Antaura. The Mermaid and the Devil’s Grandmother: A Lecture, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Vol. 29 (1966), pp. 1-23