Westerners’ belief in the evil eye dates back to ancient Greece. However, Western Asians and North Africans trace the evil eye’s roots to Sumeria (modern day Iraq) and ancient Egypt. Pliny the Elder wrote about certain African enchanters (we would call them shamen or, less respectfully, witch doctors) who had the power of the evil eye: “…[they] can even kill those upon whom they fix their gaze.”
While beliefs in the evil eye vary across cultures and eras, throughout Europe and the Middle East, charms and talismans to ward it off have been found dating back to the first century BC. As a class, these objects are termed apotropaic (Greek:
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