New

Roman Curse Tablets

Roman Curse Tablets


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.


Significance of Roman Curse Tablets recognised in Memory of the World Register

A collection of 130 ancient Roman curse tablets featuring gruesome messages of revenge has been added to the UNESCO Memory of the World register of outstanding documentary heritage. Found in the town of Bath, England, the tablets were dedicated to the Celtic and Roman goddess Sulis Minerva to address wrong doings. The tablets give an insight into the lives of ordinary people, seeking redress for wrongs that have befallen them and asking their deity to intervene on their behalf to bring this about.

The tablets are believed to range in date from the 2nd to the late 4th century AD. Most are written in Latin and a local version of the Roman language on copper and lead, however, one rare tablet is made up of Celtic words written in the Latin alphabet, the only known text of its kind to survive. Its meaning is not understood. Another curse tablet contains what is currently the earliest known reference to Christianity in Britain.

Many of the curses have been translated from their original Latin and reveal violent and gruesome wishes for revenge. They include wishes that thieves should go blind and mad, while cheaters become as 'liquid as the water’. One particularly gory curse about a stolen ring said: “…so long as someone, whether slave or free, keeps silent or knows anything about it, he may be accursed in (his) blood, and eyes and every limb and even have all (his) intestines quite eaten away if he has stolen the ring”

A Roman curse tablet. Credit: Roman Baths

The wishing of ill-health and death on a person is typical of many Roman curses. Typically, the curse would be inscribed on the tablet before being cast into the hot springs at Bath, where they were left for the goddess, who was worshiped by Celts and Romans, to dispense the justice. One reads:

“To Minerva the goddess Sulis I have given the thief who has stolen my hooded cloak, whether slave or free, whether man or woman. He is not to buy back this gift unless with his own blood.”

The Goddess Sulis Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom, healing, the arts, strategy and magic. Celts worshiped Sulis, who was a sun god of fertility at the thermal spring of Bath -named Aquae Sulis in Latin. The two goddesses were gradually rolled into one so that British Romans came to worship Sulis Minerva. The lead tablets suggest that Sulis Minerva was life-giving but also adept at punishing wrong-doers as a goddess of justice.

The head of the statue of Sulis Minerva. Credit: Roman Baths

Some messages included magical words and symbols, or were written back to front to increase the curse's potency. Others were pierced with nails to achieve a similar result. Curses were sometimes rolled up and hidden under floors or in wall cavities.

The thermal spring baths, known as Aquae Sulis in Latin, was a religious site before the Romans arrived and the springs at bath are believed to have been used for more than 10,000 years. The Celts are thought to have built the first shrine there in 700BC, but it was the Romans who adorned the site with grand temples, altars and bath buildings complete with lead pipes to ensure a constant flow of water to the giant lead-lined pool.

Thermal springs, Bath, England. Credit: Roman Baths

The curse tablets are the only artefacts from Roman Britain to have been added to the register, which aims to raise awareness of some of the UK's exceptional documentary riches.


When Ancient Romans Had Their Clothes Stolen, They Responded With Curse Tablets

Famed for its healing waters and once home to Jane Austen, the southwestern British city of Bath also boasts a history rich in Roman magic. In antiquity, individuals came in droves to soak in Bath’s hot springs—and to use “curse tablets” to get revenge on people who stole their clothes.

In 1979, when archaeologists first excavated the Roman-era King’s Bath, the murky waters of what was once a sacred spring yielded hundreds of tiny objects. These votives included about 130 rolled up pieces of metal dating from the first few centuries A.D. These were curse tablets, common across the Greco-Roman world from the fifth century B.C. to late antiquity.

The standard definition of the curse tablet, as put forth by David R. Jordan , is: “inscribed pieces of lead, usually in the form of small, thin sheets, intended to influence, by supernatural means, the actions or welfare of persons or animals against their will.”

Although Julius Caesar first invaded Britain in the 50s B.C., he didn’t press his conquest. A century later, doddering Claudius, he of I, Claudius fame, brought Britain into the imperial fold. Over the next several centuries, an influx of new people brought new goods, ideas, and gods. 

In ancient Bath, curse tablets were often addressed to Sulis Minerva: a conflation of the goddess Sulis, who was said to guard the spring, and her Roman counterpart, Minerva. The Romans employed such religious hybridization, called interpretatio Romana , translating deities of the people they conquered into their own pantheon.

Christopher Faraone of the University of Chicago, who has written extensively on ancient magic, delineates two categories of curse tablets. The first is binding curses, or defixiones , “primarily used to restrain competitors” in love, sport, and law. The second category, “ prayers for justice ,” included the Bath tablets, which mostly discussed theft. Here, tablet writers essentially appointed deities as divine bounty hunters, tasking them with tracking down the thieves and administering justice.

Curses from many urban centers addressed “mundane daily problems,” says Andrew Mark Henry, a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University studying late antique religion . “Theft would have been a relatively common occurrence, as it is today, and curse tablets would have served as a readily available strategy for someone to cope with theft in lieu of a robust police force.”

If the victim of theft knew the name of the person who had wronged them or of potential suspects, they would include it on the tablet. “I have given to the goddess Sulis the six silver coins which I have lost,” reads one Bath tablet. “It is for the goddess to exact them from the names written below: Senicianus and Saturninus and Anniola.”

One of the curse tablets found at Bath. (Photo: Mike Peel/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Next, says Faraone, devotees would demand “on the grounds that justice be performed, that the god or goddess make this person sick until they come to the sanctuary and return the material.” One tablet reads , “Solinus to the goddess Sulis Minerva. I give to your divinity and majesty my bathing tunic and cloak. Do not allow sleep or health to him …who has done me wrong, whether man or woman, whether slave or free, unless he reveals himself and brings those goods to your temple.”

The Bath tablets may have been displayed publicly and read aloud to the public before being dropped in the sacred pool. Faraone compared the Bath texts to those of the Sanctuary of Demeter at Cnidus, Asia Minor those texts were set up publicly so that worshippers, who would hear them being read aloud, “might provide missing information about unsolved crimes and … might also bring social pressure to bear upon the alleged criminals … and thereby resolve the conflict.”

Modern Bath, built atop the ancient springs. (Photo: Diliff, CC-BY 2.5)

A cheap way of seeking justice, curse tablets were accessible to many. “Most people estimate ancient literacy around the 10-15 percent range, and curse tablets were definitely written by everyone in that group,” says Katherine McDonald, a research fellow in classics at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University. This would have included slaves, craftsmen, and soldiers. But the tablets are “far from showing us the whole range of people in Roman society.”

Perhaps the visitors at the baths were poor—their tablets often complained about the theft of small items—so they couldn’t afford to hire guards or buy slaves to protect their belongings while they bathed. Or maybe the survival of so many tablets discussing theft was due to the durability of the materials on which they written.


Classics and Ancient History

Curse tablets are becoming increasingly common finds in the north-western provinces of the Roman Empire, but very little work has been done to fully appreciate them within the local and regional contexts in which they were used. Scholars have, instead, favoured either overtly linguistic analyses, or have attempted to compare northern curses with the magical traditions originating in the eastern Empire, especially Greece and Egypt. This has led to inadequate explanations for both the wide variety and striking similarities that are evident within and between collections found at a growing number of sites across the region.
The aim of this paper is to show how current theories from modern religious studies can illuminate our understanding of Roman curse tablets, by refocussing our attention onto the ritual actions of the individual petitioners, rather than on the scratched words on “innocuous pieces of corroded lead (Gager, 1992, p. 20).” In particular, this paper will promote the theory of vernacular religion, which emphasises the creativity that individuals can bring to both magical and religious practice, influenced by their social, cultural and physical contexts. Using the tablets from Bath and Mainz this paper will show how the sights and sounds of the ritual surroundings, as well as phrases and formulas circulating in common knowledge, combined in the minds of petitioners to create unique curses dependent not on professional knowledge and expertise, but on the beliefs and intentions of ordinary people.

Gager, J. (1992). Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World. Oxford.


Curse Tablets

The final session of the British Epigraphy Society *Epigraphic Conversations* series for this academic year.

Conversation the Fourth: *Regional epigraphic cultures across the ancient wider Mediterranean* (Part 2)
Date: 15 June 2021, 14.00-16.00 (UK summer time)
Online platform: Zoom
Hosts: Ilaria Bultrighini (UCL) and Irene Salvo (Exeter)

Conversation flow:
14.00 Irene Salvo (Exeter): Introduction
14.10 Charlotte Spence (Exeter): A comparison of regional cultures of curse-tablet creation in the second century CE
14.40 Víctor Sabaté Vidal (Barcelona): Approaching Iberian inscriptions on lead tablets: a case for ‘epigraphic bilingualism
15.10 Katherine McDonald (Exeter): Epigraphic cultures in non-urban and 'federal' sanctuaries in central and southern Italy

Final session of the British Epigraphy Society *Epigraphic Conversations* series for this academic year.

Conversation the Fourth: *Regional epigraphic cultures across the ancient wider Mediterranean* (Part 2)
15 June 2021, 14.00-16.00 (UK summer time), on Zoom.

Antike Fluchrituale zielten darauf ab, die jeweilige Gerechtigkeitsvorstellung der Verfluchenden durchzusetzen – insbesondere wenn weder das öffentliche Justizsystem noch gesellschaftlich anerkannte Verhaltenskodize dem Anspruch gerecht werden konnten. In den Ritualen kamen sogenannte defixionis tabellae (Fluchtafeln) zur Anwendung, die hier devotiones maleficae genannt werden. Sie bestehen meistens aus eingeschriebenen Bleilamellen und wurden für die Beschädigung eines oder mehrerer Opfer angefertigt.

Sara Chiarini untersucht die dabei verwendete Fluchsprache, die durch ihre formelhaften Strukturen und Bestandteile auf eine Tradition des Fluchrituals hindeuten. Individuelle Ergänzungen bieten hingegen Hinweise auf die Bedingungen um die Entstehung des Rituals, die Gefühlslage der Verfluchenden und die Arten von Bestrafungen, die der rechtlichen Dimension des Rituals entsprechen. Chiarini ergänzt den bisherigen Forschungstand anhand der neu entdeckten und veröffentlichten Fluchtafeln und setzt sich umfassend mit diesem epigraphischen Material auseinander.

When looking at the theme of isolation in the ancient world curse tablets provide an extremely interesting source of evidence. On the one had we can consider the thought process of the individual behind the creation of a curse tablet in many cases the individual suggests that they have no one else to turn to other than the dead individual or the god invoked. This sense of isolation is clear not only in legal curse tablets but also those concerned with matters of the heart.

The actions required to carry out the correct creation and deposition of a curse tablet are also themselves isolating. The act of calling upon the restless dead was not a widely acceptable practice in the ancient world. Furthermore, many of our surviving tablets have been found in graves and were often deposited long after the original burial. The very act of visiting a grave to secretly deposit a curse tablet must in itself have emphasized the feelings of isolation already present in the mind of the individual.

Whilst the isolating nature of the creation and depositing of curse tablets can be illustrated both through the ritual practices and the inscriptions themselves it is interesting to consider that this individual, far from being alone was actually part of a much wider, international, fellowship. Curse tablets have been found across the Mediterranean and across over a thousand years of history. As much as the individuals themselves must have felt their actions were driven by a sense of isolation from their community through the creation of a curse tablet they were actually engaging with another, much broader group. It is worth considering how much comfort this possibility gave the individuals who had turned to the powers of the underworld in times of desperate need.

This paper will focus on the way in which we can engage with crime and criminality in curse tablets from both ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Alongside the curse tablets themselves we will examine literary accounts as well as the few snippets of legislation which directly address curse tablet creation.

At first it is easy to take the prayers for justice subcategory of tablets and assume that through this medium individuals were able react to crimes which had been committed against them. Often these tablets deal with losses of fairly small value, which suggest that this recourse was one of only a few open to these individuals. However, this is not always the case as we also have tablets written by land and slave owning individuals who are also seeking divine justice.

In the second half of the paper, we will turn to the erotic spells which lead us to question whether the creation of curse tablets themselves may have been driven not in reaction to a crime but with criminal intent. The desires of these tablets are expressed through violent language and imagery to our modern sensitivities however, the outcomes must have had serious repercussions in the ancient world as well.


Curse like a Roman: The COVID Curse Tablet Rolling Pin

Quest’articolo e anche pubblicato in Italiano qui.

Good day, good reader! How are you doing? I hope that you and your friends and family are faring well in this 11th month of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions here on planet Earth.

About the Pin

So, the strangest thing happened this week at our property in Malibu, California. My husband discovered that we had an irrigation leak in our backyard and I was tasked with having to dig the line up and find the leak. Given that I am an archaeologist on forced pause who missed a field season this summer, I was more than happy to dust off my trowel and dig up the back garden! So off I went… A few hours into my irrigation excavation project, I came across something very unusual! As soon as I spotted it, I immediately stopped digging. I stood up, blew my whistle, and called the rest of my team over. Well, I called my husband and my neighbour, Larry, over… and the three of us surveyed the find together.

Lying in the dirt, in our backyard, was a slab-like object with a Latin inscription on it… in California! At first glimpse, it resembled a Roman curse tablet, similar to others that have been excavated throughout the former Roman Empire. This unusual find really excited the heck out of me! It reminded me of that one time, back in the early 90s, when that guy found a real, live caveman in Encino when he was digging his pool! Do you remember that? What an incredible find that was!

Upon further inspection of the slab in situ, I felt that this was an epigraphic find of a very important nature. One that could possibly change our understanding of American history in a very dramatic way! I mean, ancient Roman contact in California? We have never heard of anything like this before with exception to a 2nd century Roman terracotta head found outside Mexico City under a pre-colonial building dated to between 1476 and 1510 AD. But before I could call the LA Times to tell them about my incredible find, my husband alerted me to something even more exciting: the slab was made of…. gingerbread.

Much like the Eyguieres Curse Tablet below, which isn’t made of gingerbread but sure looks like it is, the tablet found in our back garden featured several rows of text impressed into the surface of it. So what is a curse tablet, and why was one buried in our back garden?

Curse tablets, or tabella defixionis, are small metal sheets that were used in the Greco-Roman world for several reasons. Sometimes they were used to appeal to a god in the expression of anger, or with wishes of revenge, following being wronged or slighted by someone else. They were sometimes used in the pursuit of love and sex as well. For the most part, they were used for making a special request of the gods or cursing someone who has wronged you, betrayed you, or stolen from you. So who was being cursed on the tablet in our garden?

What the text said on the tablet in our garden was a mystery to all of us, so I called my friend Nathalie, a Latin teacher, to take a look. This is what was inscribed on the mysterious tablet when translated into English:

To the god Aesculapius: We have lost our health and given half to Aesculapius. Among those who are silly do not guarantee health until their face is covered.

Hmm… That’s rather interesting, isn’t it? It sounds almost as if it refers to illness or a plague, which the Romans were very familiar with, and it definitely followed the format of a standard Greco-Roman curse tablet: Addressing the god, stating the problem, offering a gift or a cut, and then making a request. And the tablet is cursing people with uncovered faces? How oddly familiar that sounds….. And who is this Aesculapius, then, and what did he have to do with health?

Asklepios was the Greek god of medicine and healing whom was eventually adopted into the Roman pantheon as Aesculapius or Aescolapio, Aesculapio, Aescolapio Merre, Asclepius, Aesculapius Merre. Pictorial and sculptural representations of Aesculapius are often accompanied by a rod and a snake which is a symbol that still remains in imagery associated with modern medicine. Aesculapius became such an integral part of ancient Roman religion that a temple was erected in his honour in the heart of early Rome on the Tiber Island. Livy tells us:

Cum pestilentia civitas laboraret, missi legati ut Aesculapi signum Romam ab Epidauro transferrent, anguem, qui se in navem eorum contulerat, in quo ipsum numen esse constabat, deportaverunt eoque in insulam Tiberis egresso eodem loco aedis Aesculapio constituta est.

Trans.:”When the state was troubled with a pestilence, the envoys dispatched to bring over the image of Aesculapius from Epidaurus to Rome fetched away a serpent, which had crawled into their ship and in which it was generally believed that the god himself was present. On the serpent’s going ashore on the island of the Tiber, a temple was erected there to Aesculapius.

Livy, History of Rome, XI

A hospital is now situated on the Tiber Island where the sanctuary to Aesculapius once stood, which continues the theme of health and wellness into the modern era. Further to the literary evidence cited above is epigraphic evidence of appeals being made to Aescolapio on dedications such as the one below, which was written in both Archaic Latin and Greek, found on the bronze base of a column in Sardinia, dating to 150 BC:

Cleon salari. soc. s. Aescolapio Merre donum dedit lubens | merito merente.

Trans.: “Cleon, servant of the Associated Company of Salt-farmers, bestowed this gift willingly and deservedly on Aesculapius Merre the well-deserving.”

From: Archaic Latin Inscriptions, Loeb Classical Library

…and this dedication inscribed on a pedestal of stone found in the Tiber river in Rome, Italy, dating to the 3rd century BC:

Aescolapio | donom dat | lubens merito | M. Poppulicio M. f.

Trans.: “To Aesculapius a gift bestowed willingly and deservedly by Marcus Populicius son of Marcus.”

From: Archaic Latin Inscriptions, Loeb Classical Library

So, this Aesculapius cat was serious business and if Rome erected a temple to him on the Isola Tiberina during a pandemic, he must’ve been very good at his job. So why the heck is a curse to Aesculapius buried in our back garden? Perhaps to remind us that during times of pestilence, the past will often tell us what problems to expect when we experience similar troubles in our own era.

We are now in the 11th month of weathering the COVID-19 pandemic and despite all of the measures we have taken, from social distancing to hand sanitizing, this pestilence still has us all firmly in its grip. In July, we rose to the occasion here on Tavola by committing to make some small sacrifices in our lives and by offering edible Pharmakoi to the gods, for additional coverage. But case numbers are climbing and it looks like we may be in for a really tough winter ahead so the time has come to up our game and bring out the big gun: the curse tablet. The words on the curse tablet excavated from our back garden made such an impression on us that we felt they may make an impression on you as well… moreover, they have the potential to make a pretty decent impression on our holiday baking as well! So I did what any homebound classical archaeologist would do after a year of being restricted from travel because of the COVID-19 virus: I decided to spread the good word that I found in my back garden by creating The COVID Curse Tablet Rolling Pin… A tablet that appeals not only to the gods but to your sweet tooth as well.

Now, we aren’t really going to curse anyone that’s not how we roll here at Tavola Mediterranea. We wish health and wellbeing for everyone. But we are going to ask for Aesculapius’ help in getting some of the maskless masses to wise up and mask up and we’re going to do it in a very clever way:

Typically, curse tablets in the Greco-Roman world are offered by burying them in the earth or by tossing them down a well. We are going to ‘offer’ our gingerbread COVID curse tablets by tossing them down our gullets instead! And down the gullets of the maskless among us as well… but they’ll never know they’re being ‘influenced’ by a biscuit as they’ll just think it’s more of your delicious Christmas baking! Who knows! Maybe it will work! If not, at least someone got a nice slab of gingerbread with an ancient writing system on it for the holidays!

The Gingerbread Recipe

When working with this pin, be sure to use my gingerbread dough recipe developed for the Cuneiform Gingerbread Tablets article published in 2017. The dough is firm, delicious, and when working with it chilled, it will take the impression from the pin beautifully without the dough sticking to the pin. Follow the instructions and it will not fail!

Remember to have some fun this winter, no matter how hard things get. We can do this and we will do this, just like our foremothers and forefathers did for millennia before us… with a curse or two and a few laughs along the way. Now go start your gingerbread dough! We have a pandemic to fight!

Buy your own COVID Curse Tablet Rolling Pin here and get rolling today:

Disclaimer: The discovery of the gingerbread curse tablet, and the text on The COVID Curse Tablet Rolling Pin, is fictitious and has been created purely for entertainment and culinary purposes. It’s a joke. What is not a joke, however, is the COVID-19 virus. Don’t be silly. Wear a mask. You’re not the first person on this planet who has been asked to do so.

If you enjoyed this post, join the conversation on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages! Visit the Tavola Shop to see other rolling pins featuring ancient writing systems. Thanks for reading and keep cooking it old school!


Features

Christian missionaries have taught people in Papua, New Guinea who had many gods before their conversion to recite the Hebrew Shema announcing only ONE GOD. Watch the video below.

GERMANICUS’ BAKERY

IN TRAJAN’S MARKET

BEST BREAD IN ROME!!

1. There were only 8 people in Noah’s Ark. T/F

2. Jonah was in the belly of the “whale” 4 days. T/F

3. The meaning in Hebrew of the word “day” always means a 24 hour period of time. T/F

4. All the names for our week days come from Roman and Norse/Anglo-Saxon gods. T/F

5. Jesus sent out 70 Disciples to preach His Good News.
T/F


Deciphered Ancient Tablet Reveals Curse of Greengrocer

A fiery ancient curse inscribed on two sides of a thin lead tablet was meant to afflict, not a king or pharaoh, but a simple greengrocer selling fruits and vegetables some 1,700 years ago in the city of Antioch, researchers find.

Written in Greek, the tablet holding the curse was dropped into a well in Antioch, then one of the Roman Empire's biggest cities in the East, today part of southeast Turkey, near the border with Syria.

The curse calls upon Iao, the Greek name for Yahweh, the god of the Old Testament, to afflict a man named Babylas who is identified as being a greengrocer. The tablet lists his mother's name as Dionysia, "also known as Hesykhia" it reads. The text was translated by Alexander Hollmann of the University of Washington.

The artifact, which is now in the Princeton University Art Museum, was discovered in the 1930s by an archaeological team but had not previously been fully translated. The translation is detailed in the most recent edition of the journal Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik.

Reading a curse

"O thunder-and-lightning-hurling Iao, strike, bind, bind together Babylas the greengrocer," reads the beginning of one side of the curse tablet. "As you struck the chariot of Pharaoh, so strike his [Babylas'] offensiveness."

Hollmann told LiveScience that he has seen curses directed against gladiators and charioteers, among other occupations, but never a greengrocer. "There are other people who are named by occupation in some of the curse tablets, but I haven't come across a greengrocer before," he said.

The person giving the curse isn't named, so scientists can only speculate as to what his motives were. "There are curses that relate to love affairs," Hollmann said. However, "this one doesn't have that kind of language." [6 Most Tragic Love Stories in History]

It's possible the curse was the result of a business rivalry or dealing of some sort. "It's not a bad suggestion that it could be business related or trade related," said Hollmann, adding that the person doing the cursing could have been a greengrocer himself. If that's the case it would suggest that vegetable selling in the ancient world could be deeply competitive. "With any kind of tradesman they have their turf, they have their territory, they're susceptible to business rivalry.&rdquo

The name Babylas, used by a third-century Bishop of Antioch who was killed for his Christian beliefs, suggests the greengrocer may have been a Christian. "There is a very important Bishop of Antioch called Babylas who was one of the early martyrs," Hollmann said.

Biblical metaphors

The use of Old Testament biblical metaphors initially suggested to Hollmann the curse-writer was Jewish. After studying other ancient magical spells that use the metaphors, he realized that this may not be the case.

"I don't think there's necessarily any connection with the Jewish community," he said. "Greek and Roman magic did incorporate Jewish texts sometimes without understanding them very well."

In addition to the use of Iao (Yahweh), and reference to the story of the Exodus, the curse tablet also mentions the story of Egypt's firstborn.

"O thunder&mdashand-lightning-hurling Iao, as you cut down the firstborn of Egypt, cut down his [livestock?] as much as. " (The next part is lost.)

"It could simply be that this [the Old Testament] is a powerful text, and magic likes to deal with powerful texts and powerful names," Hollmann said. "That's what makes magic work or make[s] people think it works."

Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.


Ancient Magician's Curse Tablet Discovered in Jerusalem

A lead curse tablet, dating back around 1,700 years and likely written by a magician, has been discovered in a collapsed Roman mansion in Jerusalem, archaeologists report.

The mansion, which is being excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Givati Parking Lot, is located in what is known as the "City of David," an area that holds at least 6,000 years of human occupation. The mansion itself covers at least 2,000 square meters (about half an acre) and contains two large open courtyards adjacent to each other. It was in use between the late third century and A.D. 363, when it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes on May 18 or 19.

The text is written in Greek and, in it a woman named Kyrilla invokes the names of six gods to cast a curse on a man named Iennys, apparently over a legal case. [See Photos of the Ancient Curse Tablet]

"I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys," part of the curse reads in translation. Kyrilla asks the gods to ensure that "he in no way oppose, so that he say or perform nothing adverse to Kyrilla … but rather that Iennys, whom the womb bore, be subject to her…"

To obtain her goal Kyrilla combined elements from four religions, Robert Walter Daniel, of the Institut für Altertumskunde at the University of Cologne, told LiveScience in an email. Of six gods invoked, four of them are Greek (Hermes, Persephone, Pluto and Hecate), one is Babylonian (Ereschigal) and one, Abrasax, is Gnostic, a religion connected to early Christianity. Additionally, the text contains magic words such as "Iaoth" that have a Hebrew/Judaism origin.

A professional magician likely created the curse for Kyrilla, who may have literally used a hammer and nails to perform a magical rite that enhanced the effectiveness of the curse, Daniel said.

"The hammering and nailing is a form of gaining control over the person(s) targeted in magical texts," he wrote in the email.

Kyrilla and her curse-recipient, both probably members of the Roman middle or upper class, were likely in some legal dispute, as the curse tablet bears similarities to others found in Cyprus that are known to have been used in legal cases. Additionally the word "opposition" in this text hints at a legal matter.

Exploring the mansion

The newfound artifacts hint at the wealth the occupants of the mansion would have enjoyed and include a miniature head of a boxer athlete used as a scale-weight and several gems, including one engraved with an image of Cupid holding a torch.

The curse tablet itself was excavated in the northwest part of the mansion. While the second-floor room where the tablet was originally placed has collapsed, the artifacts excavated near the tablet provide hints about what the room may have looked like when in use. [In Photos: Two Black Magic Curse Tablets]

Archaeologists Doron Ben Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, both with the Israel Antiquities Authority, told LiveScience in an email they discovered the remains of mosaics and frescos that contain geometric and floral motifs near the tablet. They also found carved bone fragments from a box that depict the "Triumph of Dionysus," a Greek god, along with maritime imagery such as seahorses.

The team also uncovered roof tiles in the mansion that contain the stamp of the Roman 10th legion, a unit that, for a time, was stationed in Jerusalem. "This practice is common for all the provinces of the Roman Empire. In peaceful times soldiers were responsible for 'civil engineering': They built roads and aqueducts, produced tiles and bricks, etc. The 10th legion produced so many tiles, that it was enough for many more years of construction activity in the city, long after the legion itself left Jerusalem," Ben Ami and Tchekhanovets said.

The researchers also found female figurines, probably depicting a goddess. They were likely used in a "private cult" whose members included residents of the mansion. These figurines were found at or below floor level and may not have been part of the second-floor room that the curse was placed in.

The researchers do not know the purpose of this second-floor room. However, Iennys appears to have been connected to it to such a degree that the curse tablet was placed there intentionally. "Since the curse is directed against Iennys it might have been hidden in or close to a place that he frequented," Daniel wrote in the email. Perhaps lennys lived or worked in the mansion or a courtroom was located near the second floor room, Daniel said.

The discovery was detailed recently in the journal Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik.


Roman tablet with curse

Roman curse tablet, found in London. The preserved inscription (in Latin) reads: “I curse Tretia Maria, and her life and her mind and her memory, liver and lungs, all mingled together – so that she will not be able to speak about those secrets…”.

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

Your financial help is needed, in order to maintain and develop the website. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server. I believe that I can count on a wide support that will allow me to devote myself more to my work and passion, to maximize the improvement of the website and to present history of ancient Romans in an interesting form.

News from world of ancient Rome

If you want to be up to date with news and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter.

I encourage you to buy interesting books about the history of ancient Rome and antiquity.


Watch the video: 4 Mysterious Curse Tablets Found Through Excavation (June 2022).


Comments:

  1. Aetheston

    Also that we would do without your brilliant idea

  2. Si

    This opinion is very valuable

  3. Shizhe'e

    I recommend to you to visit a site, with a large quantity of articles on a theme interesting you.

  4. Akirisar

    Helpful thought

  5. Kestejoo

    In my opinion there is someone to cycle



Write a message

Video, Sitemap-Video, Sitemap-Videos