Ancient Egyptian 'Magic Spell' Deciphered
This ancient Egyptian papyrus, now at Macquarie University, is decorated with an image of two bird-like creatures. A magical spell written in Coptic, an Egyptian language that uses the Greek alphabet, is visible around the image.
Credit: Effy Alexakis, copyright Macquarie University

An ancient Egyptian papyrus with an image showing two bird-like creatures, possibly with a penis connecting them, has been deciphered, revealing a magic spell of love. 

"The most striking feature of [the papyrus] is its image," wrote Korshi Dosoo, a lecturer at the University of Strasbourg in France, who published the papyrus recently in the Journal of Coptic Studies.

Dosoo estimates that it dates back around 1,300 years, to a time when Christianity was widely practiced in Egypt. [Cracking Codices: 10 of the Most Mysterious Ancient Manuscripts]