Belief in the evil eye began with the early civilizations of the Mediterranean Sea. The evil eye is a curse believed to be casted by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when she/he is unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune or injury. Talismans created to protect against the evil eye are also frequently called evil eyes.
Today, the evil eye is popular as a protective charm in both Middle Eastern and western cultures.
An evil eye can be found on some forms of the Hamsa hand (also known as the hand of Fatima or hand of Tanit). The word hamsa means “five” in Arabic, referring to the fingers of the hand. Early use of the Hamsa hand has been traced to the Phoenicia civilization that spread across the Mediterranean between 1550-330 BC. The Phoenicians used an image of the goddess Tanit, the chief deity of their capital Carthage (modern day Tunisia), to ward off the evil eye.
The belief in the evil eye and the Hamsa hand varied across different regions and periods but the idea expressed by them caused many different cultures to pursue protective measures. No longer just talismans, the evil eye and the Hamsa hand have instead become symbols of hope and peace in the modern world.