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The word iynx in Greek antiquity denoted both a certain species of bird (wryneck, Iynx torquilla L.) and a small wheel-shaped ritual object which could be made to spin, thereby producing a humming noise. Both the bird and the magic wheel, and even more the relatively loose correspondence established between the two, played a role in magic, namely, in love magic. The reason for the connection between wrynecks and magic wheels is just as elusive as that behind their association with eroticism all attempts up to now having failed to provide a satisfactory explanation. One relatively plausible theory is that put forward by F. Capponi, among others, which suggests that iynx is a magical term originating from a foreign people. However, this still does not shed any light on the connection to the bird. A potentially useful explanation is the assumption that two homonyms exist whereby the pronunciation of the two forms became identical over time.

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