A mysterious crystal ball
In the grave from Årslev lay a small ball of rock crystal with a carved inscription, ABLANAQANALBA. The inscription is a so-called palindrome – a text that can be read both forwards and backwards (around the letter Q). The magical use of letters like this palindrome and repetitions of strings of letters was one of the remedies prescribed by the Roman Emperor Caracalla’s personal physician Serenus. The spell ablana/analba is known from several amulets from the Mediterranean area and is related to the cult of the god Abrasax. The meaning of the text is ‘You are our father’.