Curses

I came across an interesting website about curse tablets, a Greek and Roman tradition, with some examples found in Britain, the most well know from Roman Bath.

‘Curse tablets’ are small sheets of lead, inscribed with messages from individuals seeking to make gods and spirits act on their behalf and influence the behaviour of others against their will. The motives are usually malign and their expression violent, for example to wreck an opponent’s chariot in the circus, to compel a person to submit to sex or to take revenge on a thief. These tablets have survived to be found by archaeologists.

The website includes cursing for beginners, an explanation of curse tablets. Also, a corpus with images, which currently contains 27 tablets, along with a section about the archaeological sites, which introduces the British contexts in which curse tablets have been found.

Further reading:

  • Tomlin, R.S.O., 1988, ‘The curse tablets’ in Cunliffe (ed.) 1988 The Temple of Sulis Minerva at Bath Volume II : the Finds from the Sacred Spring, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph No 16
  • Tomlin, R.S.O., 1992, ‘Voices from the Sacred Spring’ in Bath History Volume IV, Millstream Books
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